F1 teams on Friday were admitting concerns with next year’s unprecedentedly-long 22-race calendar.
Three races on the calendar are only provisional, and existing agreements between the teams and Bernie Ecclestone have set a cap of 20 races. Indeed, F1 chief executive Ecclestone has said he thinks the calendar will be trimmed, which will please Red Bull boss Christian Horner. “I think we all recognise that 22 races is beyond the limit,” he said in Korea.
In fact, with a winter test in Bahrain, and the return of in-season testing, the 2014 schedule – featuring an unique Monaco-New Jersey-Canada ‘triple header’ – was described as “impossible” by Ferrari team manager Massimo Rivola. “Let’s see the real calendar and then we’ll figure it out,” he said. Horner agrees that 20 races is “saturation point” for F1’s increasingly hard-working travelling circus.
McLaren’s Martin Whitmarsh identified New Jersey as one race that could fall by the wayside, because “there’s not much going on” at the proposed street circuit site. The Korean race promoter has put the chance of a 2014 race at “50-50”, while Mexico is racing against time to substantially upgrade its ageing track, last used for a grand prix in 1992. “We’ll wait until the calendar has been ratified before we put any resource into understanding exactly how we will deal with it,” said Andy Stevenson, Force India’s team manager.