The Formula 1 season will, barring unforeseen circumstances, be the longest ever with a total of 24 races in a stable calendar (only Imola and Shanghai have been added, having been canceled last year). However, there are some conceptual changes in the formulation of the calendar.
Formula One is attempting to move towards regionalizing the list of events. The 2024 calendar will be a compromise. Due to this nature, both negative and positive elements coexist. Among them is the number of races, which, from a fan’s perspective, is generally seen as favorable.
The expansion of the calendar indicates a thriving Formula One. If the all-entertainment and adrenaline paradigm favored by Americans were in crisis, we wouldn’t have such a significant number of events. These events are necessary to satisfy the motorsport hunger of the fan base and the desire of many countries worldwide to witness open-wheel cars racing on their tracks.
The evidence serves as insurance for the future of the category, which has emerged smoothly and with renewed vigor after the pandemic crisis and the subsequent sharp increase in inflation. These factors almost brought the Circus to its knees, but it reacted thanks to increasingly solid financial rules.
Stefano Domenicali’s great victory is the rationalization of logistics that determines a regionalized calendar. This aligns with the American ownership’s Net Zero 2030 policy, achievable only by limiting global travel. It was necessary to respond to two demands: the eco-sustainability of the category and the teams’ reaction to financial constraints due to the budget cap, which, it is worth noting, will be set at only $130 million annually from 2026.
F1 has finally “localized” the calendar into macro-areas to avoid costly, polluting, and illogical travel. Stefano Domenicali had emphasized the need for a more intelligent calendar based on more coherent geographic regions: “We must adapt to situations that change rapidly on the logistics front.”
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F1: Liberty Media’s Efforts Seem Insufficient
Although the chosen path is the right one, additional efforts are needed. The issue of human resource exploitation to sustain the system is gaining strength—a use that is becoming overly intensive. Sergio Perez had highlighted this trend, urging swift action:
“I believe that the last part of the season has been very intense due to travel. The number of races is definitely at the limit not only for the drivers but also for all the mechanics. The program must be more efficient and must try to take care of all the protagonists in this world,” emphasized the Mexican.
“My main concern is related to some of my mechanics. We need to make sure not to do many races just for the sake of doing them. It’s an issue we will raise to try to understand what can be done to change it. It’s probably late for next year, but for the following season, we will try to maximize everything. I remember seeing people very exhausted in the last race, so I think it’s something we have to take very seriously.”
F1 is considering introducing a system of internal rotations for team members. In other words, none of the components of a franchise, except for drivers and other specified figures, would be authorized to participate in all 24 races. The proposal is under consideration but cannot be implemented in three months. This work will need to be done with a focus on 2025, not neglecting further emphasis on the geographic regionalization of the calendar.
This is the explicit request made by Max Verstappen in an interview with speedweek: “I think we need to improve this aspect in the future, but obviously, it cannot be done in the short term for next year, it’s impossible. It’s a bit strange that we arrive in a place from the other side of the world. It’s not very sustainable, not only in terms of emissions but also regarding our bodies. Of course, we will manage, but it’s not ideal.”
Speaking of the body, George Russell has raised a rather serious alarm. The Mercedes driver claims that continuous travels are having significant effects on his heart: “Due to the time zone changes, my heart rate during nighttime sleep is on average about 25% higher than when I am stably in one place,” explained the driver to RN365.
“This summer, I spent two weeks in one place, the longest period in the last three years, and my heart rate was the lowest ever. During winter, it stabilizes at a low point. Then, as soon as I start traveling, it increases. I definitely sleep and recover less, which is natural when jumping from one part of the world to another. It’s not just a feeling; there are data confirming it.”
Medical issues that F1 cannot ignore. Environmental policy and capital production cannot be the only subjects of focus in the near future. A deep reflection on the quality of life for the “cogs” that keep the machinery running, from the people working behind the scenes to the mechanics and drivers, is necessary.
Source: Diego Catalano for FUnoanalisitecnica