Can't handle 23 races, then quit says Tost

12/10/2021
NEWS STORY

AlphaTauri boss, Franz Tost believes that team personnel who feel that a 23-race schedule is too much should quit the sport.

The provisional calendar released for 2022 currently features 23 races - the most in the sport's history - beginning in mid-March and ending in mid-November.

There are currently two triple-headers planned, but with no real end of the pandemic in sight, all that could still change.

Already there are complaints that the schedule is too hectic, talk of staff rotation.

All this however, cuts no ice with AlphaTauri boss, Franz Tost.

"We know now that we have 23 races," said the Austrian. "It's fantastic, good job from FOM, I am looking forward to it.

"Regarding the people at the track. First of all, we are a race team," he continued. "They all should be happy that we have as many races as possible and, of course, we take care of the people. For example, the mechanics after a race weekend they have three days, four days off where they can stay at home. And also, press, marketing, all the people which are at the race track have some free days after the race weekend.

"Engineers it's a little bit more difficult but," he admitted, "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."

"I think, going to be a great calendar," added Laurent Mekies. "We are building season after season a programme for the race team, you know, to stay in the best condition possible and yes, you add item after item, so you start from the physical aspect and then you go into the nutritional aspect and then eventually we are also looking at the mental aspects as you say to make sure that people have a good balance and stay in good shape and stay in good spirits.

"I think all the teams are going to inevitably spend more and more energy on trying to keep their people in good shape for these long calendars," he added, "but it is something that is very well embraced by all involved. I'm sure there will be further steps in the right direction.

"It's nice that we have 23 countries or 23 races that want us to come and compete and showcase Formula 1," said Otmar Szafnauer. "However, we do have to be mindful of all the people that travel - the mechanics and the engineers - and we have 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 sometime rotating people and some other organizational changes back at the factory such that the factory will do more of the jobs that mechanics traditionally did at the track to just make it a little bit more pleasant for them.

"We look after them, including any mental health issues. We have a travelling doctor as well with us. We look after them as best we can."

Asked specifically about triple-headers, he said: "The first time you do a triple-header it's all new and then from there on you learn and you do some things to make the triple-headers easier. However, they still are very taxing on all of us.

"We have two of them next year and hopefully after the pandemic is truly behind us we can look at the calendar and minimise or even get rid of all the triple-headers.

"The nice thing next year is that we start mid-March and finish mid-November, which gives us a decent winter break. You can put up with a triple-header or two if you know you are not racing up until Christmas."

"The first triple-header is the easy one, Zandvoort, Spa and Monza," said Tost. "I don't think there is any problem.

"The second one with Russia, Singapore and Japan is a little bit more a heavy one," he admitted, "but I think from the logistics side everything is under control, we are then nearly in the same time zone so I don't expect any problems."

"It is very challenging for Formula 1 to put a great calendar together in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic," said Mekies. "So in that context we obviously understand that there needs to be a level of flexibility from the teams which is why we just have to cope with these triple headers now and then.

"Once, hopefully, the pandemic is out of the way we will sit down again and see how to move forward as it's probably the aspect that is the most taxing for the race team. Hopefully it will be the first thing that will go away once the pandemic is out of the radar."

"The triple-headers are quite hard on the teams," said Jost Capito. "The guys are four weeks away from home so it's always stressful so everything that is less or shorter would help in that but I think it is what it is."

"We actually started to look yesterday at a meeting about the shortened weekend," added Guenther Steiner. "We started to discuss that some people could come out later.

"For sure, everything helps to make the triple-headers having less impact on the people, like a three-day weekend, it will help a little bit but I don't think that if we've got two triple-headers, I think we have to deal with that because there are other things that come with it that we finish the season earlier, which is also good, that we are not going on almost to Christmas like this year.

"so there is nothing for free but two triple-headers, I think we can get by and for sure, having a three day weekend, a shortened weekend will help a little bit and every little bit helps."

"I think we have to be realistic," said Frederic Vasseur. "We can't expect to do more races, to generate more revenue, in a smaller period without triple headers but at one stage it's not possible.

"For sure that we have to perhaps reduce the weekend, the duration of the weekend and to have a three-day event but at the end of the day, I think also that we have to be happy with the success of the F1 and that we are doing step forwards, we have more and more demand for the F1 and we have to see it as a positive that we don't have to complain about the fact that we are doing too many races.

"That we are going in the direction to do a better championship with more races and so that is a very positive message and signal," he added. "For sure we have to find a solution, to accommodate for everybody but I take it as a positive message."

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Published: 12/10/2021
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