Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Yas Marina, 2023

Vegas-Middle East back-to-back doesn’t fit F1’s sustainability agenda – Verstappen

Formula 1

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Formula 1 should rethink holding its Las Vegas Grand Prix back-to-back with rounds in the Middle East, says Max Verstappen.

Several drivers have raised concerns over the effects of jet-lag on themselves and team members due to the significant time zone shift between last weekend’s race and the finale in Abu Dhabi. There is a 12-hour time difference between the two venues.

“It’s a bit tough to understand what time zone that you’re in,” Verstappen admitted. “I think what does help here is that it’s all a bit later, like you try to have a good night’s sleep and stuff.”

While the new Vegas race was the first of two rounds on back-to-back weekends this year, it will begin a trio of consecutive events on the 2024 F1 calendar. The Las Vegas race will be followed by events in Qatar and Abu Dhabi.

Verstappen said the arrangement needs to be reconsidered for future years not only because of the demands it will place on staff but the amount of travel it involves at a time when F1 is trying to reduce its carbon emissions.

“I definitely think for the future – of course for next year it’s not possible – but it’s a little bit odd that we are on the other side of the world basically before getting here. Especially when you’re talking about sustainability.

“It’s probably not very sustainable, not only for the emissions but also for the human body. Eventually we always deal with it, but I don’t think it’s great.”

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F1 has already made some changes to the arrangement of its round in order to reduce the amount of travel involved. Verstappen said drivers will discuss how they can make further improvements.

New podium, Yas Marina, 2023
Gallery: First pictures from the 2023 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix
“We’ll talk to F1 about that, if there is something that we can do for the future to make it a little bit more of a normal end to the year. Because it’s already a lot of races, a lot of travelling in the end, after the summer break, basically.

“I think we can do a little bit of a better job with placing the grands prix. But already for next year I think they are doing that at the start of the year, so that will help.”

Charles Leclerc, who had a long stay in Los Angeles prior to last week’s race to adjust to the time zone, said he has been able to cope with it well, but other people in the sport are finding it difficult.

“I didn’t struggle at all, which normally I do in some races, but this time I think it’s so different,” he said. “With the 16 hours of flight I arrived here, I was so tired that I slept like a baby the first night and since then I am feeling good. So jet-lag hasn’t been a problem.

“But obviously then speaking around in the paddock and especially with the mechanics and engineers, everyone seems to be really, really tired and really struggling with it, which next year I think will be even more difficult because we’ll have three races in a row. After that I believe that we might rethink a little bit the way we organise this last part of the season.”

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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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19 comments on “Vegas-Middle East back-to-back doesn’t fit F1’s sustainability agenda – Verstappen”

  1. Max is turning into the new Seb isn’t he.

    Good on him. There are far too many bum-kissers on the grid already. Let’s have some honesty.

  2. The same Max Verstappen who has a private jet which he flew in to Vegas when there are many commercial flights doing the same route… Spare me his faux environmental concern

    1. Did you read the article?

      1. I definitely think for the future – of course for next year it’s not possible – but it’s a little bit odd that we are on the other side of the world basically before getting here. Especially when you’re talking about sustainability.

        “It’s probably not very sustainable, not only for the emissions

        1. Your edit made me chuckle

    2. @user576 Using a private jet rather than commercial flights has certain benefits such as avoiding crowds, delays, etc.

      1. @jerejj
        What does avoiding crows or delays have to do with sustainability?
        It has benefits, sure, for the comfort of the 1 person using the aircraft for travel.
        Instead of there being dozens or hundreds of passengers using an aircraft.

    3. Oooh, a whataboutism!

    4. He’s not wrong though.

      1. And, just to clarify:
        I wrote “He’s not wrong though“.
        I was referring to Verstappen, i.e. “Verstappen is not wrong in what he is saying”.

  3. LOL. Leave Max alone. Lewis jets into NYC to attend those fancy galas. All the racers jet off to wherever whenever there is a break.

    1. How else are they meant to get around?

      Until there are realistic alternatives available, there’s nobody to point the finger at.

    2. Jim, I think the point is that Max and Alonso both still have luxury private jets with a big carbon footprint, whereas the other drivers are travelling on scheduled flights which might still not be great for sustainability, but they do at least have some environmental economy of scale.

      Also, I think Max saying it doesn’t fit well with a sustainable agenda is a red herring. It wouldn’t matter if the races were back to back or a month apart, if teams are still going to do the same amount of flying. I believe the FIA has already recognised that shortcoming and is rearranging the schedule in future years to have more regional grouping on the calendar.

      1. AlanD Are all the others travelling on commercial flights, though, or always that way, as one would think they’d resort to that quicker & more convenient option at least in Europe with relatively short air travel distances.

      2. I promise you people likes Lewis still travel just as much if not more on private jets than he did when owned one himself. He only sold it for the PR optics & now never posts him on jets despite travelling everywhere on one. Only time he never flies commercial is to Australia which he flew commercial even when he had a jet. Even Seb Vettell literally used a jet in every year of his 15+ year career bar the very last 1/2 where he was vocal. I respect Max for owning a ajet despite the bad PR cause truth is he uses it less than many others on the grid for a guy who just stays at home

  4. Indeed, although avoiding such a combination ‘was possible’ for next season already, if only they weren’t so hell-bent about holding the LV GP a week before Thanksgiving, they could hold it a week earlier or have Brazil fill the Singapore-COTA gap as a standalone, with LV following Mexico by two weeks & consequently Qatar-Abu Dhabi also two weeks earlier.
    They really should stop caring about such trivialities to have more flexibility.

  5. 2024 has 3 triple-headers, three times too many, with two 4-week breaks… I would’ve postponed the Sao Paulo GP to make a double with Las Vegas instead.

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