F1 is expected to announce its 2019 calendar next week, ahead of the FIA’s World Motor Sport Council meeting, with a 23-race schedule expected.
F1 CEO and president Stefano Domenicali has already confirmed plans for a 23-race season, which will feature the most events in F1 history but ending earlier in the year than 2021.
It has raised worries about the stress placed on F1 staff who travel to every race and the sacrifices made in the job, especially for those who are expected to stay at the track for longer than the regular four-day race weekend.
When asked about the pressure a 23-race calendar may put on people, four-time world champion and current Aston Martin driver Sebastien Vettel said it was already proving to be a “immense burden” for those working in the series.
“We mustn’t neglect that we are a group of people and human beings travelling around the world,” Vettel said.
“You can do the numbers. If we have 52 weekends in a year, we do 23 of those as races and [there are] a couple of months in a year that we can’t hold races in most places around the world, it obviously gives you a very intense season.
“The objective should be [that] we have a sustainable way to run our season, not only for our environment but also looking at the human resource.
“If you have so many people involved, the weekends are far longer than the Saturday-Sundays that we see on the TV. I think drivers, we are on the lucky end.”
F1’s season should be held “in such a way that those people may have a normal life apart from their jobs spent away from home,” Vettel believes.
He added: “Most of them, whether it’s engineers or mechanics, staff working in the team, they have a family or children that they want to look after.
“So, we must be very careful where we want to put our interests.”
Daniel Ricciardo of McLaren agreed with Vettel, believing that it was crucial for teams to stay together in order to maintain each other’s spirits up when things got tough.
“It’s really important for the team to have close relationships with other members of the team,” Ricciardo said.
“[We’re] away from families for long periods of time, especially the triple headers, so you need to kind of rely on your teammates to help you out if you’re a little a little down or missing home or whatever it is.
“I really hope next year the world keeps opening up and we can interact more with the team. It’s not just at the track, but [we want to] do some events, do some dinners and I think having that social life outside of the paddock on a race weekend helps break up the weekend as well.
“I think that’s kind of important time to switch off and just ease some of the stresses of the travel and the homesickness or whatever it is.”
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