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Drivers believe Melbourne shouldn't be a stand-alone event

NEWS STORY
08/04/2022

Drivers call for rescheduling of the Australian Grand Prix, feeling that running it as a stand-alone event makes it "painful" for team personnel.

With the money offered by the likes of Bahrain and Abu Dhabi to claim the prestigious races that 'book-end' the Formula One World Championship, Australia has become a stand-alone event.

Though there is a week's break before and after the Melbourne event, with the teams travelling out early to Australia in order to acclimatise themselves, the demands on personnel are every bit as tough as a double-header.

Consequently, drivers feel that moving forward the Australian race should be run as a back-to-back event.

"I think having Melbourne in-between races, especially as a standalone, is too tough for the teams and everybody," said George Russell during today's press conference.

"People came out on Saturday and Sunday to get acclimatised to the conditions and the time zone change and it's just too much I think. I think it needs to be thought about more."

Following the back-to-back in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia the teams travelled back to the European - mainly UK - bases, before making the arduous journey back to Australia. Russell believes that it would make more sense to run the Melbourne race as a back-to-back with one of the events in the Middle East.

"There's no reason we can't do it back-to-back with one of the Middle-Eastern races," said the Mercedes star, who stopped short of calling for a triple-header start to the season.

"It feels like another double-header for all the teams with the amount of time they spend in this part of the world," he added. "As the season is getting longer and longer we need to find a better balance."

"It works well at the moment because we're doing the winter testing in Bahrain so it makes sense to stay there for the season-opener," said Sergio Perez, "but (Australia) really has to be back-to-back with one of those races. Just coming to Australia for a single race is quite painful for everyone."

Meanwhile, as F1 boss, Stefano Domenicali suggests a calendar of up to 30 races, Max Verstappen believes the schedule should actually be around half that amount.

In a promotional video for Kayo Sports the world champion called for "15 to 18" races, though he believes Melbourne should be retained.

"Melbourne is included, don't you worry," he laughed. "But I think if you go over that, not only just for us, but the mechanics are travelling even more than us and they're even more away from their families.

"It's just not do-able, it's not sustainable," he added.

"I think we need should keep on a limit," agreed Fernando Alonso, "because I think for the teams it's quite demanding how the schedule is now, especially as we don't have so many races in Europe anymore."

Check out our Friday gallery from Melbourne, here.

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READERS COMMENTS

 

1. Posted by F1nerd, 11/04/2022 17:48

"In between Singapore & Japan would be best suited for all concerned. And keeping the races at 22 the season could then be spread out in a sensible order, the talk of up to 30 races is outrageous almost all would have to be back to back with some triple headers. Personally I would like to see a race every weekend but then I just watch them on TV some of which are inconvenient times America's are late, Australia & Japan being early."

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2. Posted by ian_w, 09/04/2022 1:08

"The most obvious fit would be pair it with Singapore."

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3. Posted by ChickenFarmerF1, 09/04/2022 0:03

"If it's too much for those drivers, have them sit out a race here and there and give the reserve drivers and F2 starts a shot at an F1 race experience. Heck, make that mandatory for 2 races, and have the WDC be only your 22 best races or something so even the title protagonists will be willing to take a miss for a race or two, especially towards the end of the season. Then also, drivers like Seb who miss a couple at the start of the season due to being sick aren't so severely penalized. And just so drivers don't try to game the system too much, their engine pool is kept separate from the stand-ins. That way Max, or Hamilton, or Leclerc can't have Piastri or Chadwick or whoever get a ride with their engine penalty.

Perhaps the teams can also rotate race crews to some extent to give breaks to at least some of the crews. That would also give some folks a chance to gain experience at races, rather than just hanging out at HQ all year."

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4. Posted by Superbird70, 08/04/2022 22:01

"From my Las Vegas post, "They'll probably drop Canada from the schedule to fit Las Vegas in. From a logistics standpoint it doesn't fit in too well anymore if they have 3 races in the USA. They'll need to have a Middle East/Asian/Oceania cycle of races. A European cycle and an Americas (N/S) cycle of races to make all the travel and scheduling fit for an expanded schedule. ""

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5. Posted by elsiebc, 08/04/2022 21:08

"I think they should lay out the events on a flat map and just move one to the next nearest. Keeping them close, like how Mexico and Austin is, makes folks who might attend two races a year decide between one or the other. This ensures that tickets will always be available which I'm sure makes the promoters breathe a sigh of relief."

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6. Posted by Endre, 08/04/2022 19:23

"It would be best matched with Singapore, only ~6,000km apart"

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7. Posted by hussainahm, 08/04/2022 17:48

"It would make more sense to club it with a Far East country, not Middle East!"

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