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F1 teams: 22 races beyond limit

2013-10-04 08:13

NOT HAPPY: Formula 1 teams are not happy that the 2014 calender might have a record 22 races. Image: AP

ALAN BALDWIN

YEONGAM, South Korea - Formula 1's record 22-race calendar for 2014 is "beyond the limit" for teams but looks likely to be trimmed before it becomes definite, according to Red Bull team principal Christian Horner.

Three races on the calendar released in September have an asterisk against them - South Korea, New Jersey and Mexico - and the prospects of the first two at least have been called into question.

Most teams are reluctant to go beyond 20 races, mindful of the added expense and the burden being shouldered by key staff such as engineers and race mechanics who cannot easily be rotated. 2013's championship has 19 races, with the record standing at 20.

'BEYOND THE LIMIT'

Horner told reporters ahead of Sunday's Korean GP: "I think we all recognise that 22 races is beyond the limit, the strain that it puts on the team and the entourage that follow Formula 1.

"If you are doing 22 races in economy class, flying around the world, and you are going a week before the race and coming back a day or so after, it's a long, tough season. For me the ideal number is 20. I think that is saturation point but I can understand why Bernie Ecclestone is pushing to get more venues."

The calendar approved by the International Automobile Federation includes a rare "triple header" of Monaco followed by New Jersey and then Canada on successive weekends, which poses more logistical problems.

"Of course it's feasible. But it's expensive," Horner said of that challenge. "Let's see. The calendar's changed a lot over the last few weeks and I'm sure before the end of the 2013 season there will probably be a few more tweaks to it."

VERY OPTIMISTIC

Horner said New Jersey, which was meant to make its debut in 2012 but postponed for financial reasons, was on the calendar so "we have to assume it's happening".

McLaren's Martin Whitmarsh was less convinced, however, even if all the teams want a race on the US east coast: "As I understand it, there's not much going on there."

Mexico has been pencilled in for the penultimate race of the season on November 16 and that country's top racer, McLaren's Sergio Perez, was confident the Mexico City organisers would not let anybody down on the city's return after 22 years. Perez said: "I spoke with (FIA race director) Charlie (Whiting) the other day and he was very optimistic. He thinks they have to do a few changes to the pits, and the layout a bit in a few corners."
 
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