SILVERSTONE (United Kingdom) — Two-time world champion Fernando Alonso expressed his concern yesterday that the massive growth of Formula One’s calendar could become too stressful for the teams.
The sport this week announced a record 24-race calendar for 2024 to run from March to December, with testing taking place in February, ahead of the opening race.
The Aston Martin driver said he believed it was too much and was sure to be a strain on team members as the season stretched almost across most of the year.
When he made his debut with Minardi in 2001, the now 41-year-old driver embarked on a season of 17 races, mostly in Europe, running from March to October.
“I understand all the benefits of having 24 races and the reasons behind doing so many,” he said. “It is difficult. There is a lot of interest in F1 and a big demand.
“So, it is good to go to new countries and have new races — this year it will be in Las Vegas and a few years ago it was Qatar. And it is great to open the sport to new countries.
“There is more revenue for everyone. I understand that, but I think that for team members, a good number of races is 18.
“More than 18, or 19, and you start stressing all the mechanics — and the media — and everyone is on the back foot from February to December.
“It is a lot to cope with and to have…. We, we drivers, have all the comforts and they take care of us as much as they can, so we cannot complain too much.
“But really I understand it is hard for everyone else.”
The Spaniard spoke at Silverstone following the official unveiling of the first phase of his Aston Martin team’s new technology campus across the road from the circuit’s main entrance.
After a dip in form following a run of podiums, Alonso said he was not concerned and forecast that Aston Martin could be challengers again in Sunday’s British Grand Prix.
“We should do well here,” he said. “Silverstone is an incredible track to drive with lots of fast corners and maybe the recent circuits just didn’t suit our car.”
Formula One has generated increasing interest and growth since the sport was taken over by the American Liberty Media group. — AFP