Formula 1 News: Concerns Raised Over Sustainability of Triple-Headers

    As the Formula 1 calendar continues to expand, with a record 24 races this season, the rise of triple-header weekends has become a point of contention among team principals. In 2020, former Racing Point team boss Otmar Szafnauer expressed his doubts, stating, “I think multiple triple-headers are not sustainable.” Similarly, ex-Haas team principal Guenther Steiner remarked, “I don’t think it’s a good idea.”

    The Concerns Voiced

    The concerns were further echoed in 2021 by McLaren’s former team boss Andreas Seidl, who is now the Sauber CEO. Seidl noted, “An important topic is also the number of triple-headers. From my point of view, we should avoid them completely, again to reduce the burden on our people. The calendar should try to get through with avoiding any triple-headers.”

    As Formula 1 teams prepare for the upcoming back-to-back-to-back races in Barcelona, the Red Bull Ring in Austria, and Silverstone, the initial reactions to the triple-headers serve as a reminder of the challenges faced by the sport’s personnel.

    The Burden on Team Members

    It’s worth noting that the comments come from team principals who typically travel in the front of the plane, rather than those in economy or making the long drives between destinations. The physical tasks of building and dismantling the giant motorhomes, as well as the demands on the kitchen and hospitality staff, add to the burden of these grueling schedules.

    The growth of the calendar to 24 races, the maximum permitted by the rules, has resulted in two triple-headers this season. The European leg alone could involve a 3,000-mile journey by road across the three destinations. The second triple-header, which ends the season, presents an even greater challenge, with the final three races taking place in Las Vegas, Qatar, and Abu Dhabi, resulting in a 10-hour time difference and a 17-hour journey between the US and the Middle East.

    Potential Risks and Challenges

    Despite the concerns raised by team principals, triple-headers have become an integral part of modern Formula 1. However, the potential risks associated with such a heavy work schedule cannot be ignored.

    According to experts, the biggest issue is physical fatigue, with increased risks of injuries, particularly to the lower back, knees, and wrists. The psycho-social impact is also significant, as team members are away from their families and forced to spend 24/7 with their colleagues, which can lead to increased irritability and decreased team cohesion.

    Strategies for Teams

    To address these concerns, teams can implement strategies to help their staff manage the challenges of triple-headers. This includes developing jet lag plans, providing more downtime and rest periods, and ensuring that team members have their own hotel rooms for better sleep and recovery.

    While the long-term impact of the 24-race calendar and triple-headers is yet to be fully understood, it is clear that the well-being of Formula 1 personnel must be a top priority. Teams have the responsibility to look after their staff and provide them with the necessary rest and support to ensure they remain fit, healthy, and fresh throughout the demanding season.

    ๐Ÿ”— Source