Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, 2019

Hamilton ‘doesn’t see the sense’ of 25-race F1 calendar

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In the round-up: Lewis Hamilton says extending the Formula 1 calendar to 25 races is being done for money but questions whether it’s what the sport needs.

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What they say

New regulations announced for the 2021 F1 season yesterday allow the calendar to be extended to as many as 25 races in future years without requiring further approval from the teams. But Hamilton believes the current schedule is already too long:

25 would be pretty hardcore. It’s already hardcore at 21.

I remember growing up racing, the more races the merrier. But then if you look for the guys that are away from their families, there’s got to be some sort of balance.

The season’s already too long. It’s a little bit long. And 25, I just don’t really see the sense in that. But it’s more money, I guess, for Formula 1.

Quotes: Dieter Rencken

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Comment of the day

Does F1 need more robust cars?

One thing that 100% should be considered in the 2021 regulations is just how damaging even the most minor of collisions can be.

Now, in most cases, whenever there is any contact, where hefty or slight, at least one of the parties has damage as a result. They should make the designs regulations in such a manner that most collisions don’t end with one driver having to drop all the way back and losing 40 seconds.

The answer to this is most likely simplicity in design. Most of the cars from the early 2000s didn’t have fancy bargeboards or boomerangs or whatever, so even side-to-side contact would usually not result in any significant damage.

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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51 comments on “Hamilton ‘doesn’t see the sense’ of 25-race F1 calendar”

  1. An aspect of the 2021 regs I don’t think is good is that cars will be in parc ferme from the start of fp3 which means if you go the wrong way after friday you are stuffed and not able to change the car.

    creating a situation where a team/drivers knows they don’t have a good setup yet forcing them to run qualifying & then the race that was is totally unfair.

    i also dislike how teams will be locked into whatever spec they have before fp1. if you have a great new front wing you can try it in fp1/2 but can’t race it on saturday/sunday. that again seems completely unfair. if you are struggling but bring a new front wing or something that gives you a lot of performance but you cant run it outside of friday, who does that benefit really?

    the more i read the more like gp1 the 2021 rules are starting to sound. f1 is well and truly dead i guess :(

    1. Did you listen to Ross speaking? It was clearly to reduce logistical costs/challenges for the teams, i.e. not bringing basically a whole different spec car to a weekend in case it’s faster – i.e. 3 different wings and spares for each in case it’s faster, which means less transportation costs.

      In 2021, you bring only 1 of each, and if it’s faster, you only transport that to the next race.

      1. “Logistical cost” are you serious? Those cost are like a drop in the ocean compared to what teams spend on manufacturing. This rule only benefits the teams with the largest manufacturing capacities. Teams like Williams which struggle to bring enough wings for both drivers will be at a disadvantage, because they would have to wait ages before they have enough spares.Teams like Mercedes have the capacity to make more parts quicker.

        A simple alternative that is actually cost saving, would be to limit the number of upgrades you can bring each year. A bit like they do with engines. This would save huge amounts on manufacturing cost whilst also reducing the pressure on smaller teams to bring updates every race just to keep up.

  2. 100% disagree with COTD. If I wanted to watch cars crash into each other I’d be a NASCAR fan. Part of why I watch F1 is because the cars and rules produce racing, not deliberate spins.

    I’m already unhappy about slack enforcement of the drive rules this season. Someone is going to get hurt. Making the cars more robust would be a mess .

    1. @slotopen I share your sentiment, but I think the action in a lot of the IndyCar street and road courses shows that there’s room for open wheel cars to be more durable and resistant to damage from minor contact while still not being so sturdy that they allow for deliberate wrecking.

    2. I agree – the rules need to be applied so that a driver doesn’t want to make contact. However, the cars should be made so that you don’t get penalised with degraded performance if someone runs into you.

    3. @slotopen @markzastrow I’m not advocating anything like NASCAR, and certainly not dangerous driving. But like I mentioned below, it is ridiculous how easy it is to lose bodywork nowadays. Forget collisions with other cars, you lose bodywork just going off-track at times. With sturdier and tougher cars, we could see a greater number of drivers who can continue racing even after contact, instead of losing 40 seconds being forced to pit. This will not mean that drivers will start divebombing each other like it’s an F1 2019 online lobby.

    4. This is naive.

      Robust bodywork just means more deadweight these cars will end up carrying into every collision, the deadliness of which can only increase with the enforced momentum you are suggesting, never mind bodywork damage.

      How do you even begin to guarantee that a car NEVER loses up to 40 seconds, no matter the nature of impact?? You might as well suggest that – as long as their cars are on racetrack between Fridays and Sundays – drivers are not allowed to die.

      1. @riggerus I never said this should result in zero damage. I simply stated that what we currently have are cars that are too fragile. A slight improvement is all I ask. You have taken my words out of context. Even the FIA seem to agree, as they themselves have added a new membrane structure for 2021 that will stop parts breaking and disintegrating so easily.

        1. @mashiat if they have already included this amendment in 2021 regulations, doesn’t that render your point moot?

          I’ll allow however that I jumped the gun with what was inferred by your comment. Perhaps it could have been made clearer, but I do agree bodywork fragility is a problem.

          1. @riggerus My comment was made before the 2021 rules were revealed. At the time I (all of us actually) wasn’t aware that the FIA were actually going to address the problem.

        2. @mashiat nowhere do I imply you were targeting zero damage. You’re suggesting stipulations that limit time lost from damage to beneath 40 seconds, and IMHO that’s impossible.

          Responding to your last comment, it’s more likely that the 2021 membrane structure requirement by the FIA has more to do with reducing debris strewn across the track mid-race than minimizing how much time a driver loses from a collision.

          1. @riggerus The 40-second point was that now a driver can lose that amount from a relatively minor collision. I’m not suggesting to reduce that time, I’m suggesting reducing the number of times that a driver’s whole race is ruined based on a minor incident. That way, drivers don’t have to pit after every tiny little contact.

  3. Its way too much, all that does is make each race less important since you will have plenty of races to bounce back.

  4. It appears to me that the ONLY ones wanting to have more races are the big wigs at Liberty Media. For me, 22 races is already too many, and 25 would be WAY too many. 20 races seems about right.

    1. +1 18-20 is a right number. Imagine the ammount of stress team personal will go through with this ever bloating calender.
      Maybe Max was right this bloated calender will be reason for divorce among families of team crew.

      1. There is nothing preventing the teams from hiring more people.

        1. That would increase the cost of running the team even more.

        2. @Ericglo But how easy achieving that would be for the smaller teams, especially under a budget-cap. Easier said than done, and more costly as @Chaitanya points out.

    2. I prefer more races. More races = more content.

    3. I’m not the one doing the work so as far as I’m concerned, more races the better.

      If I was a worker or a racer of F1 then I would have a different opinion. But I’m not.

      1. @yaru Same here. Wouldn’t make a huge difference for me, but for the sake of the travelling teams, I hope not.

  5. Ecclestone set to pay record £1 billion tax bill after 20-year fight with HMRC (The Sun)

    This is good to hear, not because it is Bernie, but because I think people in that wage bracket should be hounded down to pay their dues…(however can I believe the Sun ?) Good to read that HMRC chased down Google too.
    Some/most of these giant online companies have destroyed many a bricks & mortar business,taking jobs,livelihoods & leave very little behind, then disappearing/going into receivership themselves.

    1. So you can read it also like this: he didn’t pay taxes for 20 years…. That i find more strange.

    2. Time marches on, civilization changes. The brick and mortar stores that died were all inefficient and rightfully went away.

  6. I think the COTD has the wrong approach to F1. When you look at the junior formulas you do see a lot of argy bargy. By the time a driver makes it to F2 most sorting the wheat from the chaff should be complete with the final filter done to enter F1. In my opinion F1 drivers should be capable of racing wheel to wheel with little or no contact at eye watering speeds. I do not want to see a high speed demolition derby with the prize going to the last driver standing.

    1. @slotopen and @johnrkh – To me, it doesn’t seem like @mashiat is advocating tougher cars with the express intention of encouraging rougher/rasher driving. To me, it feels like the CotD is bemoaning the fact that a car that loses some fiddly carbon fiber bit often ends up losing performance, hurting its tyres, and generally dropping out of contention with other cars in its performance class.

      Both of you make a good counterpoint that tougher cars might encourage a more “elbows out” approach to racing, instead of encouraging racecraft.

      Ideally, I’d like to see CotD’s wish fulfilled, and stewarding at a (consistent) level that penalizes rash and unsafe racing, to nip any desire by drivers to use their tougher cars as battering rams in the bud.

      1. @phylyp Thank you, I think the point of the comment was missed by some. I don’t want NASCAR-esque battles and collisions everywhere, but it’s just ridiculous now how easy it is to lose bodywork.

  7. 25 races wow thats abit much! i rather have fewer quality races than a calendar jammed with soo many races. thats extreme even for a fan that watches every race. liberty concentrate on quality not quantity. im sure you will still make your hundreds of millions.

    1. Real fans won’t worry about 25 races; real fans in football watch up to 50 matches of their teams.

      I do feel for the work life balance of staff though. But many double/triple header fly away races and shorter weekends might offset that.

      1. Real fans won’t worry about 25 races; real fans in football watch up to 50 matches of their teams.

        How many football matches are spread across 5 session, 3 days and 7+ hours?

        1. Including free practice?

      2. @coldfly Not all real fans can guarantee getting to see all 25 races, not even on TV. The more of anything there is in a sequence, the less chance there is of having the option of clearing enough schedule to see them all. Sport is in no way immune to this. Also, note the “up to” – lots of real football fans only get to see a few games nowadays, due to pay TV and obligatory clashing duties/obligations.

    2. No guerentees fewer races would produce quality ones. I suspect that will be more down to how well the technical regs work (and financial regs to an extent.

      There will be a tipping point of course but I don’t think we are close to it.

      1. @yaru Yes, we indeed are close to it. It’s already at the saturation point at present.

      2. @yaru I think we already have passed the tipping point. There was a notable “end of season” fatigue that kicked in when it went to 18 races back in 2004, and now that that’s become a minimum benchmark, it’s become semi-permanent. Increased flyaways have only made the tipping point come earlier in the season. It’s already had a notable effect on how long mechanics and engineers stay on the travelling teams (average is now down to 2-3 seasons, according to Joe Saward) and I suspect it may not be long before it starts doing the same to drivers, for all they get an easier time of it when travelling. (Remember 18 of them have contracts ending at the end of 2020…)

  8. Something not only Luke Smith, and Jim Vertuno in their tweets, but also some posters here seem to have misinterpreted is that just because the figure for the number of races in the sporting regulations has been increased, doesn’t mean F1 would ‘have to’ go for that figure, i.e., not a must-to-do thing. Chase Carey was (and has been) quite clear about not having a specific ‘target’ for the number of races, so people, as he also pointed out yesterday in the presentation, shouldn’t take the 25 as a target because it isn’t. A possibility, but not a given, which is bit different.

    Nate Smith, on the other hand, already makes the mistake of jumping to definite conclusions about the next set of technical regulations concerning the pecking order when those come into effect.

    Re COTD: That’s indeed one of the intentions of the upcoming car-changes, and something Nikolas Tombazis (and Ross Brawn) brought up yesterday.

    1. @jerejj – thank you for clearing that up about the “25 races” phrase.

    2. @jerejj Liberty has already made it plain it interprets the target as “the most races they can get away with holding without reducing their income in some way”.

  9. coldfly im including watching all the practises etc with the races thats alot of hours. a football match is 90min. a race weekend is just that. a race weekend.

    1. Football players practise as well, there are daily sports newspapers focussing on football, and some teams even have their own TV channel.
      It seems that it’s never too much for a die hard fan.

      1. True teams have their own football channels that focuses on news, the community etc
        Doesn’t formula 1 as well?
        I can’t get my head around it but I feel the comparisons Formula 1 people make to football doesn’t quite match

      2. @coldfly Very few football teams broadcast practise, so that’s not relevant.

  10. Not sure who Jim Vertuno is (why does he even have a blue tick?) but still intrigued and checked out the Austin news outlets online.
    All but one have articles about F1 on their frontpage.
    Only the Spectrum News is missing as they focus on 5 Things to Know Before You Head to Wurstfest Instead.

  11. I would welcome 25 GPs if they happen on nice circuits. Sadly, German GP is not on the calendar. I liked Turkish GP, but Turkey is in a war now, so no chance it can happen soon. Malaysia has a great circuit. So, overall it is a very good decision that 25 GPs are possible.

    1. @bulgarian I wouldn’t regard that a ‘very good decision’ for the teams, though. Especially the smaller ones as increasing the number of staff to achieve a figure that high is easier said than done, and especially under a budget cap. What we have to keep in mind, though, is that there isn’t a ‘definite target’ figure for the number of races as Chase Carey has pointed out.

  12. @dieterrencken You get a brief mention in the BBC’s Chequered Flag podcast for Austin at 19 mins in!

  13. i stand corrected coldfly. thnx for info. but my point is that liberty must focua on quality of the races instead of the number.

  14. Unless they start having 2nd races at certain events (which would be silly), 25 races is far too much.

  15. I´ve always been more reserved to the idea of more than 20 races but when I think of it in more detail, I think the sport needs to evolve and find new ways to attract people. 25 races is certainly too much under the current format of calendar and I feel it´s precisely the format that needs changing. I´ve been thinking about the idea of continental blocks which would practically divide the season into three parts, each being busier with the dates and having bigger gaps (3-4 weeks) between them. For instance – Block Asia and Oceania from the end of February till the half of May, encompassing Australia, Singapore, Japan, Vietnam and God knows what´s going to be in the calendar, with twin races having two week gaps between them. The European part of the season from the beginning of June til the beginning of September, then the Americas – this will probably be a bit shorter, reaching through October and November. Season ends at the end of November, not later, in order to get a sufficient time to prepare for the next season. This is only a quick result of brainstorming, I would probably like to get a busier calendar from March til September because I think it´s kind of cynical to stretch the calendar all the way until December, but that´s maybe just me.

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