Sky Sports F1 commentator David Croft commented on the new version of the calendar for the upcoming season …
David Croft: “Forget about autumn – I appeal to everyone who works in Formula 1 or follows it. You just won’t notice it. After the summer break, we are waiting for 12 Grand Prix in 16 weeks, and the season finale in Abu Dhabi has been postponed for a week and will be held on December 12.
The season turned out to be unbalanced – most of the races in the second half of the year. No wonder the pandemic still affects every country. It would be shortsighted for Liberty Media to plan a large program for the first half of the season.
But I’m not sure if we received the final version of the calendar today. Some races are still in question – in Monaco, Azerbaijan, Canada and Singapore, where you need to build the infrastructure for the racing weekend in advance. It is not at all necessary that they will receive money for this without a guarantee that the race will take place.
The second half of the season will be very busy for those who work in Formula 1. But it is important for the fans that we try to hold as many races as possible. The 2020 season is unique in that we were able to host 17 races, each of which turned out to be quite interesting.
I don’t know why Formula 1 did not consider the Bahrain Grand Prix from the very beginning as the first race of the season. It may sound offensive to the organizers of the Australian Grand Prix, but they did not have a chance to race in Albert Park at the beginning of the season.
Starting the season in Bahrain is much wiser. There is always an interesting struggle. Bahrain has a well-organized vaccination program and case tracking. They are much better for ensuring a comfortable stay in Formula 1. In addition, tests can be carried out there. According to information from my sources, the tests will take place on March 12-14 – two weeks before the start of the season.
It is much better to go to Bahrain, and then go to the European races. The Chinese Grand Prix is currently not included in the calendar, and I have no idea that it will return.
As for Imola, it is rather cold there in spring. Last year, November was warm in northern Italy, so we saw a great race against the backdrop of stunning scenery. But in April it’s pretty cool there – like the Nurburgring in October. This is an additional challenge that teams have to deal with.
I like the track in Imola, and it’s great that we raced there last year. I’m glad the stage is back on the calendar. After Imola and before the Spanish Grand Prix, another race is due, but it has not yet been confirmed. As far as I understand, this will be a stage in Portugal, so we will return to one more track, where we raced last year. This stage will be doubled with the Spanish Grand Prix, so we will have two races in late April and early May.
At the end of the year, there will be three races in a row – in the USA, Mexico and Brazil, and if all of them take place, then the teams will have to cope with this challenge. When it comes to three races in a row, it is easier to organize logistics at the exit stages. In this regard, races in Belgium, the Netherlands and Italy will be a nightmare for logistics specialists, when teams have to move around Europe in trailers. For the rest of the weekends of the three races in a row – Russia / Singapore / Japan and the USA / Mexico / Brazil – teams will be able to use air travel, so it shouldn’t be too difficult.
The problem is this: the teams must understand how to organize the rotation of personnel in order to avoid a situation where all mechanics and engineers have to come to every race. In season 23, the Grand Prix is almost the limit in terms of physical and psychological stress on the riders, engineers, mechanics and all other team members.
Rotation will be key in the future if Liberty Media continues to push for 23 races per season. But I think they should do it, because they need to earn money and compensate for last year’s financial losses due to the pandemic, when the organizers did not pay as much money as before. “
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