Wednesday, May 18, 2022

“It takes a toll on us”

F1 team principals Toto Wolff, Otmar Szafnauer, and Frederic Vasseur believe the race calendar will be streamlined as pandemic conditions improve. However, collectively they do feel it is a logistical challenge to have a long-haul such as Australia back-to-back with others, given the rising costs of transport and freight delays.

Commenting on the challenges of the 2022 calendar, Wolff said:

“I’m sure that Stefano is going to streamline that for next year, to make it easier with logistics. At the end, we love coming here, but it puts strain on the people that isn’t yet felt so much because we’re just at race three in the calendar. But certainly it takes a toll on us, on our people.”

The Australian race is followed by the Imola GP and the Miami GP, which charades the circus between three continents in less than a month. The Mercedes team principal believes it takes a toll on teams when it comes to fatigue, given the distance that has to be traveled.

Explaining the reasons behind a chaotic F1 calendar and some of its challenges, Szfanauer said:

“We do have to in the future, though, look at logistics and how to make it a bit easier on the teams as the races increase, the number of races increase. So next year I’m sure we’ll take that into consideration. And the last couple of years, you know, the calendar was very COVID influenced as well.”

“So, you know, we had to make some extraordinary decisions as to where we go, based on what the different countries allowed. So I think in the future, once we’re past the pandemic, we’ll have a smoother calendar.”

The Alpine team principal explained that a large part of the F1 calendar in the past two seasons was influenced by the pandemic. However, Szafnauer does believe that as the number of races increases, it will be important to plant the calendar strategically to make it less taxing for the teams.


Frederic Vasseuer believes F1 will have to sort out the logistical challenges amidst long calendars

According to the Alfa Romeo F1 team principal, the calendar poses logistical challenges such as freight delays. The Haas team experienced freight delays in Bahrain which hampered their testing time, as a result of which they ended up getting two days of testing instead of three, with an extra hour added to each.

Citing the MotoGP incident where their practice schedule in Argentina was canceled due to freight delays, Vasseur believes it will be important to streamline the calendar as more races are added to it.

Voicing his opinion on the chaotic 2022 calendar, Vasseur said.

“Yeah, it’s true that with more and more races on the calendar one of the key aspects of our business will become the freight quite soon, not just for us, but I think it’s already the case in MotoGP or some other events. And we’ll have to take care about the circuits that we are doing and the way that we are the organising the race.”

“At one stage it will become tricky to be on time on every single event but to be first or second or third races in the championship, I’m not sure that it making a big difference because before race one we have testing and it’s even more challenging for us to do race one in Australia, because very often we are not ready for race one.”

The sport averted a crisis in Australia where many teams risked not having their equipment in time amidst world-wide freight delays, triggered by increased transport costs due to the war in Ukraine.

F1’s logistical partner DHL’s president is reported to have personally flown to Singapore to overlook the rescue mission where freight was rerouted by air to Melbourne and teams had their equipment in time for the race weekend. Sea freight was reported to be delayed by almost a week due to the tight timelines between Saudi Arabia and Bahrain.


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