Tost defends F1’s 23-race calendar: ‘Anyone who doesn’t like it should go’

2021 Turkish Grand Prix

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Teams’ staff should be pleased the 2022 F1 calendar is set to feature a record 23 races, says AlphaTauri team principal Franz Tost.

He said the long calendar was a “good job” from FOM and he is “looking forward to it” next year.

“We are a race team, they all should be happy that we have as many races as possible,” said Tost.

Concerns have been expressed over the growth in the F1 calendar, as well as the series’ plans to compress next year’s schedule to ensure it finishes before December, and the effect that may have on staff.

“Of course, we take care for the people,” said Tost. “For example, the mechanics, after a race weekend they have three days, four days off where they can stay at home. And also press and marketing. That means all the people which are at the race track have some free days after the race weekend.

“For engineers it’s a little bit more difficult. But also if I remember back in former times they had to go after a race weekend to tests, which means that they also had to work there.

“I think we all should be happy that we are in a position to be in Formula 1 and to have 23 races. And if someone doesn’t like it then he should go.”

Start, Albert Park, Melbourne, 2019
Report: F1’s 2022 calendar plans revealed – 23 races, three ‘triple-headers’, shorter Monaco weekend
Ferrari racing direct Laurent Mekies said F1 has “a great calendar” planned for next year but conceded his team will need to put provisions in place to take car of race staff.

“We are building, season after season, a programme for the race team in order to stay in the best condition possible,” Mekies explained.

“You add items after items. So you start from the physical aspect and then you go to the nutrition aspect. And then eventually we are also looking at the mental aspects, to make sure that people have a good balance and are staying in good shape and in good spirits.”

Mekies said that F1 teams would “inevitably spend more and more energy on trying to keep their people in good shape for these long calendars” but that the extended schedule was “very well embraced by all involved.”

Otmar Szanauer, team principal of Aston Martin, also echoed Tost’s view. “It’s nice that we have 23 countries or 23 races that want us to come and compete and showcase Formula 1,” he said.

Nonetheless, Szafnauer said teams “have to be mindful of all the people that travel, the mechanics and the engineers.” He said Aston Martin had “put operations in place both back at the factory and at the race track to make the travel as comfortable as possible for them, including sometimes rotating people and some other organisational changes back to the factory, such that the factory will do more of the jobs that mechanics traditionally did at the track.”

“We look after them, including any mental health issues,” said Szafnauer. “We have a travelling doctor as well, with us, so we look after best we can.”

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Author information

Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
Hazel Southwell
Hazel is a freelance journalist who roams the paddocks of Formula E, covering the technical and emotional elements of electric racing. Usually found at...

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67 comments on “Tost defends F1’s 23-race calendar: ‘Anyone who doesn’t like it should go’”

  1. How motivational for the engineers to know the boss has their back!

    I think this all but confirms the teams will roll over and let Liberty expand the calendar up to 25 races as per the Concorde Agreement.

    1. For sure it’s demoralizing, especially those with families they miss. It’s even more frustrating with the budget cap because there isn’t even the ability to add more track-side staff and do a rotation system.

    2. @ciaran 24 is the upper limit. Rather the opposite if anything, i.e., demoralizing, as The Dolphins points out.

      1. @jerejj My bad, I confused that with the fact that it ends in 2025! The “motivational” bit was sarcasm though 😉

        1. @ciaran, I didn’t get the sarcasm, but no biggie. Usually, I can tell if someone’s sarcastic, but not always.

      2. @jerejj I believe that Ciaran is right and Liberty Media could hold 25 races per season, particularly as Carey has talked about that being a potential option in the past. It seems, though, that 24 is about as far as they can go before they have to start renegotiating terms with the teams, which is why that seems to be treated as the practical upper limit.

        1. @anon 24 is the upper limit per season, and this has also been mentioned by Dieter, for example.
          25 was never a target per se anyway, merely speculation.

  2. Wonder how much Liberty are paying them to tow the party line.

    Who cares about the staff this absurd schedule is about to destroy. Who cares about the views of fans who have repeatedly said over the years that an 18/19 race schedule is preferable.

    Liberty clearly don’t. Send them back to whatever they were doing before #LibertyOut!

    1. Totally agree!!!!

    2. Sorry I accidentally click report comment. Didn’t mean to.

      That being said, I prefer to have more races. I can’t have enough of F1. I wish it’s every weekend!

    3. Wonder how much Liberty are paying them to tow the party line.

      $10’s of millions in additional prize money and commercial payments ;)
      Why wouldn’t the teams want to do more races?

    4. @roger-ayles It’s not just rewards to toe the party line. It’s threats of potentially being force-exited (with a large fine, believed to be at least 8 figures) for breach of Article 151c. Technically, any time teams criticise Liberty for any matter, they risk that result – and Stefano Domenicalli at the start of the season told the drivers they were no longer allowed to criticise Liberty due to the new interpretation of 151c.

  3. As a huge fan of Formula 1 that cares about its future, 20 races is the perfect number for all kinds of reasons – not only the for the mums and dads flying around the world all year who actually want to see their children, but also because the races start to become less special and unique. Statistically it also means the championship is less likely to come down to the final race (if only that were at Interlagos or Suzuka, we can but dream). Liberty would have 52 races if they could. With the spring ‘qualifying’ they might actually achieve this.

    1. Hiland (@flyingferrarim)
      8th October 2021, 17:11

      I agree…. a 20 race cap should be put in place. If they are smart, they would cap to no more than 20 races and have 5 races cycle to new or different circuits to make sure they stretch their presence to new locations for fans!

    2. Yeah, we have four extra races and two of them are saudi arabia and qatar. no thanks.

    3. @john-h The issue with trimming it down to 20 races is, which ones do you axe? Is it the races like Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Russia etc. that pay F1 a significant amount? I doubt it. What would happen is that races like Interlagos, Imola (if it happens next year) etc. will drop off instead. At least this way, these new races aren’t taking the spots off historic venues. How long until Spa or Monza fall off the calendar to fit in more races in China or the Middle East with a 20 race limit?

      1. @mashiat Given how extreme the situation is, it would probably have to be the next few to have their contract come up, regardless of other factors.

  4. If the teams didn’t have to travel around the world it would be one thing. Nascar, indy, etc. can have as many races as there are tracks in the US since you can fly coast-to-coast in about 4 hours (less if your home base is geographically central)

    1. The Dolphins, Indeed. A global series is different from a national series, even if that country is roughly Europe’s size.

  5. GtisBetter (@)
    8th October 2021, 16:57

    That is a very adult way to deal with criticism. Just remove it.

    1. That is such a poor stance indeed. @passingisoverrated

  6. If they don’t like it and go (manufacturers and team owners) there’s no more F1. They can always create their own competition, but Liberty media can’t race itself. Of course, if you overstep with all those gimmicks (like “sprint” whatever) us, the audience, will give up anyway; so you can all do whatever you want and watch it on replay.

  7. I recall during a team bosses press conference 2-3 years ago when they were asked about expanding the calender & the extra stress that would put on the staff & their families Franz Tost said something about how he didn’t care about the lives of the families as long as the money was right.

    I remember Toto Wolff, Guenther Steiner & whoever else was there just sort of looking at him & each other in shock when he said it.

    1. Yeah it’s clear from these comments he just cares about the money )-8

  8. Hiland (@flyingferrarim)
    8th October 2021, 17:03

    More races is not always better! These teams travel around the world and folks that work at these teams work long hours as is. Not to mention the amount of time these folks travel and are away from home for a good chunk of the year. This is not conducive to a good work life balance which is already nonexistent for these team members. with cost caps and seeing reduction in staff already, you are now going to push these folks more with schedule expansion. Expect employees to burnout and a lot of turnover year to year. They need to cap to no more than 20 races.

    1. @flyingferrarim 100%. More isn’t automatically better, quality over quantity.

  9. Like so much nowadays statements praising fans, we’re all in this together etc are just propaganda. Liberty, F1 and to an extent the FIA are just merchants and slaves to their own greed and shareholders.
    In a way Bernie capped the extremes we witness now because he was a racer himself and somewhere in his heart looked for balance (and took the lions share of the filthy lucre).
    Now it’s just money men running the show telling us what they think we want to hear and doing the opposite. Twenty three (+?) races is an example as is the recent ignoring of the fans views on extending the sprint format.

  10. Kind of agree with him. If you want a normal, lower stress life, there are plenty of other professions out there. Why would you apply for a job in F1 and expect to have a normal life?

    1. Hiland (@flyingferrarim)
      8th October 2021, 17:22

      I think you completely miss the point here. It’s not about wanting a “normal or low stress life” but treating your employees as if they are just a commodity whom already work 12 to 16 hour days as is for their normal day is just a way for the series to make more money with disregard to team members health. How is burning out these team member beneficial to the sport? What happens if one of these folks are burnt out and has a lapse in judgement and gets hurt or gets others hurt? Tell me, why is 20 races not enough? When is it too many races? F1 used to only have 14 to 18 races a year and did just fine! The fans are not asking for more races!

      1. @flyingferrarim I couldn’t agree more with you.

      2. FIA and Liberty are not the offenders here though @flyingferrarim.
        F1 team crew members are employed by F1 teams. It is those F1 teams who are responsible for the hours their staff work.

        Of course, when F1 was running only 16 events per season, the teams’ expenses were are fraction of what they are spending now. A large F1 team then consisted of 100 people – now there’s, what, 800 in some of them?
        More races are required to produce more income – and no team is going to turn down more income and more media exposure.

        1. S, teams are required by Liberty and the FIA to do what they are doing. As you should have known prior to posting that message.

    2. pastaman, I think you’ll find this has become about having a survivable life, not just a pleasant one. There’s a reason most developed countries ban the work rates demanded of F1 even in the 1990s.

  11. I may be in the minority but Tost is right. It is time all teams learn to accept that the calendar is bigger and rotation of staff is better rather than limiting races and hence revenue.

    Imagine if F1 decides to remain fixed at 18-20 races, how will revenues grow? How will this revenue pass on to teams and pass it on to engineers, mechanics, etc.

    Look at every other sport, cricket, tennis, the number of tournaments has kept on increasing.

    Solutions such has work from base / work from home and rotation of staff needs to done by teams.

    As an idea to reduce the number of staff actually traveling, what if we do away with the 13-15 member pit crews and replace them with just 2 or 4 member teams. In fact, that would even create personalities out of these currently faceless mechanics.

    Imagine, during the season we will also be having a silly season for these pit crews with teams fighting over the most efficient ones. Or which crew is going to breakup at the end of the year? Or which crew wins the traditional boat race in Canada

    1. @Sumedh You indeed are in the minority. I, like others, dislike Tost’s attitude on this matter.
      20-21 is perfectly fine.
      You can’t really compare other sports as they travel less globally, have less stuff to transport, etc.
      Travelling staff rotation is possible, but only to an extent, especially under budget cap & for smaller teams.

    2. Hiland (@flyingferrarim)
      8th October 2021, 17:34

      Those are different sports and many of which stay within their country for the majority of the competition. If F1 stayed in Europe, then fine the 23 race schedule would probably be fine. But the reality is these teams travel the world which creates a larger strain on the team members. As far as Tennis goes, most of the players pick and choose what they are comfortable with competing in based on their health/condition. You are comparing apples to oranges here and F1 is not your traditional sport either. So no! Tost has complete disregard to members on these teams! There needs to be balance as this is not going to be sustainable.

      Silly season of crew members, lol.

    3. I believe that most of the teams don’t have the staff numbers to be able to rotate race crews.

      They started cutting staff numbers when testing was banned & staff numbers have continued to go down since as the various cost reduction measures & other restrictions resulting in many positions becoming redundant & top teams also had to get rid of a lot of staff over the past year or 2 as a result of the budget cap.

      More than 19/20 races is just far too many not just for the staff but also fans. Every time we have been surveyed on race numbers the overwhelming majority of fans have said 18/19 should be the max. 200,000+ fans took part in a survey backed by the GPDA in 2017 where again a vast majority gave the view there should be no more than 19 races in a season.

      But of course Liberty don’t care what the fans think & will completely ignore the result of any poll or survey they did which says anything that goes against what they want to do.

      Maybe when the percentage of fans who watch every race goes down (I certainly won’t be watched 23 race weekends next year, especially with the sprint gimmick races giving me reason to skip the gimmick weekends) as the season expands which in turn see’s a reduction in the fan engagement they seem obsessed with they will start listening as that seems to be all they care about.

      1. @roger-ayles Teams have the raw staff numbers, but despite the impression that might be obtained from grassroots series, the role is a specialist job. There aren’t enough specialists in order to make rotation feasible, even if the degree of rotation required was permitted.

    4. I don’t see other sports spending 8 plus hours dismantling racquets and bats after every weekend
      Formula1 is not like every other sport. As a spectator you are only looking at the race weekend and saying it is only 3 days. The team personnel are busy for anything from 4 to 5 days in a week, then travelling long distances. Forget about family, what about time for yourself before anything else.
      I sure would love to have F1 every weekend but I know that is not possible or practical, more so with these buget limits.
      Dissappointed in Tost.

    5. I agree and to tell you the truth I don’t think we are the minority. We just less vocal. If we are indeed the minority they won’t do it!

      I also agree that F1 team should reduce their crew. Yes it’s fun to see sub 2 seconds with coreographed/synchronized tire changer, however we don’t really need this. In fact it is more impressive to see 2 tire changers changing 4 tires as they run across etc.

    6. Absolutely agree.
      The teams are currently allowed to bring 40 people to each circuit.
      Quite simply, they could bring 30 to each and the other 10 can rotate. 3 races on, then 1 off.

      Problem solved.

      1. The 10-staff rotation currently permitted is to cover sickness and inevitable unscheduled absence.

        For this schedule to work, all 40 staff would have to be rotated in a planned way (with the arguable exemption of senior staff able to travel first class. From a health perspective, they should rotate too, but it’s less likely to be fatal to them if they don’t than it is for the other staff).

    7. Cutting them from the pit crew wouldn’t reduce the number of people travelling lol. Pit crew is made up of people who are already present. Not just mechanics but truckies, team electricians, stores personnel etc.

      1. Anyone who is there is there because they are essential to getting the car running in the time the teams have to setup. They aren’t just going around the world to do pitstops

    8. @flyingferrarim If race counts were restricted, then scarcity of supply increases the chargeable rate.

      Partly by increasing the ticket price fans will pay for good seats, leading to an increase in the fee tracks will pay to get on the calendar.

      Partly by increased subscriptions due to sustainable commitment – Sky routinely has a drop in fans in September/early October for the years I’m able to get statistics (indicating series fatigue), though unfortunately I’ve not been able to get those stats for 2021 since Britain.

      That’s before considering the cost in legal fees F1 risks having just to get to have so many races, or the concessions it will need to make to teams to make it work (whether the teams realise themselves how many they will need or not).

  12. Not the first time Tost has had this attitude towards the race calendar matter.
    He seemingly doesn’t care about how much people can get strained by a big schedule.

  13. 20 races per year or riot

    1. Hiland (@flyingferrarim)
      8th October 2021, 18:48

      @floodo1
      That maybe a bit of an over-reaction (I assume sarcasm here?)!

  14. He’s an idiot and he’s wrong. What a great employer he must be! Hopefully Andretti will replace him. Unlikely I admit but it would be no loss. That’s all.

    Reply moderated
    1. Andretti is taking over Alfa Romeo, not Alpha Tauri.

      1. Yes. Quite correct. My mistake. I think I was so incensed I confused the two.

  15. craig johnston
    8th October 2021, 19:42

    Hi Guys

    Let me give you the real information. There are no days off between races at home between events unless a singe event. how do you think we can travel from country to country say a back to back or triple header and fly home in between? The managers and bosses arrive at a track on a Thursday they then leave sunday night on the private jets. The team workers on the other hand arrive at a track to set up from mon/tues then on a sunday post race spend an extra 8 hours packing the equipment to be flown to the next event. The staff then fly on the Monday to the next country to do it all over again. when would staff get time off for example between brazil to mexico to Qatar? each flight is between 10-14 hours, not to mention time zones to then start again. A lot of the comments on this are made by people without knowledge of the inner workings. For those saying get another job, how about when you have worked 15 years in the industry and these new schedules are becoming the norm. The staff were told they would never do a triple header again but was required the first year of covid, now its the norm. The families and children at home don’t get to see there parents do to them needing to do as told by the bosses. Rotation of staff can only include a small number of personnel and that doesn’t work for all teams. we are pawns in a game of money making for an elite few.

    Reply moderated
  16. craig johnston
    8th October 2021, 19:51

    In regards to the trackside doctors: They are to keep staff working, the hours are 12 hours plus per day of physical work, it is to keep staff able to stay on there feet. The calendar increase is to make more revenue for the elite few. staff haven’t had pay rises even inflation rises for 3 years also. The high salary rumours are a myth unless once again you are in the top 5% of workers, ie team bosses.

    Reply moderated
    1. The jobs are high salary compared to what a lot of people can realistically get, but so are oil rig workers (for whom part of the wages are because of the bad working conditions), and even they would not accept the working schedule requested at the end of this year or for parts of 2022.

      If Franz does not want any staff at all for his team, he should continue speaking as he is.

  17. There are 52 weeks in a year. How about 50 race weekends, allow for reserve teams and drivers, but insist that the team principal attend every race or the team loses constructor points? Not happy, then the team principal can also go maybe?

    1. Craig Johnston
      8th October 2021, 21:52

      How about the entire team starts together and finish together. From set up to pack down and on coach class flights. See how many race weekends they put on then. It’s also slightly different when it’s a desk job over the physical parts of the sport. Easy to say if you don’t like it leave it when your only doing 50% of the time away. Oh yeah not to mention team members share rooms so you struggle to even have private conversations with your family. Not the elite few though. They can fly the families out or go home after the 4 days. Team members miss everything from family birthdays. Anniversary. Graduations. In fact the majority of life events. For 2.5 seasons the teams have had to isolate on return from races until the next event. Oh yeah and also track and hotel is only permitted for team members. But yeah let’s throw in another few races for good measure.

      1. You’re definitely onto something here – I don’t think he cares about family, perhaps not even his own, but making Tost fly coach will change his mind immediately :)

        1. Most of the team bosses are divorcees 2 or 3 time over, absentee parents. I’ve even seen wives who would prefer them being away. That they don’t care about the well being of the troops is not new, what is changing is the indifference to the risks taken for money’s sake. These guys (mechanics) are responsible for the life seating in that cockpit, all it takes is one nut not torqued properly, one safety wire not twisted, one brake pad under spec, one undetected electric wire chaffed through one piece of bodywork not fitted right and it could be a life changing experience. Weeks after weeks after weeks. Craig is right, you don’t get much comp. time and when you do, its week days, the kid are at school, the wife at her own job and you don’t get to do any thing meaningful with them before you’re gone again. You are well on your way to become the absentee parent, just like the boss!

  18. Don’t need to tell me twice, bye m8.

  19. Absolutely agree with this, the more races the better.

    1. @esploratore1 More isn’t automatically always better. Quality over quantity in general.

  20. Too many races on bad circuits in countries with totalitarian regimes for money purposes some with 10-year deals, Liberty haven’t changed this. FOM have no choice but to increase the calendar size. So much so that private promoters are priced out unless you are a promoter that doesn’t care about making a profit and see holding an F1 race as a marketing exercise e.g. Red Bull Ring.

    If they just went to tracks that fans wanted to see they wouldn’t need a 23 race calendar.

    19-race calendar would suck with Losail, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Abu Dhabi and Azerbaijan all on the calendar.

    At the expense of Portimao, Mugello, Istanbul Park, Sepang, Nürburgring and more.

  21. Thanks for the advice Franz, I’m off. 23 races too many, it’s killing my interest.

    Reply moderated
  22. For Franz Tost’s information, there’s a decent risk that the legal systems in the UK, Italy and Switzerland won’t like it, as the conditions during some parts of the season are now scheduled to be worse than on oil rigs (where bad working conditions are tolerated under the law rather than encouraged).

  23. Early March to early December would be bit better.

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