Valtteri Bottas has become the latest driver to touch on the need for staff rotation if F1 is to persist with the concept of a 24-race calendar. George Russell has been extremely vocal in calling for new regulations regarding the matter following a hectic end to the season.
The 2023 calendar ended up consisting of 22 races after the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix was cancelled due to the adverse weather conditions that hit the region that weekend, meaning it equalled the record for the longest season in the sport’s history.
The 2024 calendar will be even more demanding on the staff with a record-breaking 24 Grands Prix lined up, made more hectic by the six sprint races that will take place throughout the year. Many in the paddock feel that this number is already pushing the absolute maximum limit of what is manageable as team staff continue to juggle fatigue and jet lag concerns.
Sauber driver Bottas gave his opinion on the state of the calendar in an exclusive interview with Express Sport, explaining: “I think 24 is manageable for sure you know, [but] the teams will have to cycle some people.
“It’s getting pretty tough for some people in the team… if you have family at home, etcetera. So yeah the sport has to change a little bit with that many races and the way the teams operate. But it is still possible. I mean it’s tough but possible.”
Bottas’ opinion backs up the claims of Russell who, in his role as head of the Grand Prix Drivers’ Association, has been extremely vocal in his concerns over the demands placed on both the drivers and team personnel this season.
Speaking about the impact of the calendar after the season finale in Abu Dhabi, the Mercedes driver said: “We’re in a very fortunate position. But everybody up and down the paddock, I’ve got so many mechanics who are ill.
“People [are] in the engineers’ office just really struggling with the constant timezone shifts, the body not knowing where you are, eating at different times, staying in different hotels, different environments, different climates. The body’s getting confused.
“I think there are talks for next year about personnel being regulated that they can’t do every single race. I think that would be a good thing. I don’t think it’s sustainable to 4,000 people, I think to do 24 races a season. Especially when you see how geographically [diverse the calendar is], it still doesn’t make a huge amount of sense.”