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Alternating races the solution to growing calendar

NEWS STORY
01/11/2011

Mat Coch writes:

As the Formula One calendar continues to expand, there are calls from some corners to change the way races are scheduled. Rather than capping the number of races and culling some of the traditional events, it's been suggested countries could alternate.

Speaking to Reuters, Eric Boullier, team boss at Renault, suggested the solution could be a way to keep some of the European Grands Prix while the sport looks to grow in to new markets. "I think some European grands prix can afford one race every two years rather than a race every year. So this could be a good way of keeping different track locations in Europe," said the Frenchman.

Hosting a Grand Prix is typically a loss making exercise, with sanctioning fees rising 10% on average each year. With many races funded with public money, and the world economy still recovering from the global financial crisis of 2007, there is increased scrutiny on governments picking up the tab for its country's event. Sharing races could therefore ease the financial burden, and perhaps allow promoters to earn a profit from gate takings if events were bi-annual.

However as the calendar continues to grow there are concerns teams will have to change their own approach. With 20 races scheduled for 2012 there are already concerns that teams are overworked. "I think 20 races and a lot of flyaways is pretty hard on the team and I think we are at tipping point," warned McLaren team boss, and FOTA chairman, Martin Whitmarsh.

"You are getting close to the point where you do need to alternate staff. It's the NASCAR approach where you alternate crews.

"By the time the guys get back and strip down (the cars) after Brazil it will be December. By January those same guys will be building the car, during February they are going to be testing the car and then they are into a slog around the world."

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