Published on November 1st, 2011 | by Seán Ward0
Whitmarsh Has Doubts About 2012 Season Calendar
Martin Whitmasrh, McLaren Mercedes F1 team boss, has expressed his doubts about plans to expand the 2012 Formula One season, as well as the 2013 and 2014 seasons, saying it is already at a ‘tipping point’.
“I think 20 races and a lot of flyaways is pretty hard on the teams and I think we’re at the tipping point… You’re getting close to the point that you need to take the NASCAR approach and alternate crews [during the season]. I think the world championship is important but every grand prix, as a stand-alone event, is a very special event. Personally I think we shouldn’t go more than 20, I know there’s always the chase of money and the want to have more, but I think 20 is a lot and I think we’re right on the limit of what we should be.
Although there was one fewer race this season because of troubles in Bahrain, 20 races are planed for next season, and additional races in New Jersey and Russia after that.
Whitmarsh also believes that by making the season longer, the mid season brake for drivers and mechanics will not be of as much benefit: “We must have a break during the winter and we must have one mid-season because it is very hard,” he said. “By the time the guys get back and strip down [the cars] after Brazil [at the end of the season] it will be December and by January the same guys will be building the new car, by February they are going to be testing the car and then they’re into a flog around the world. It’s an incredibly difficult and challenging job for the mechanics, the technicians and the engineers. Fortunately we’ve got a great team here and they enjoy the challenge.”
Jenson Button added his thoughts on the issue: “It’s so, so tough on them, it’s much tougher on them than us. We arrive on a Wednesday or even a Thursday and these guys are there two or three days before and then they are still packing up on Monday. It’s a massive difference in the hours those guys have to do and it’s definitely them that’s the limit not us.”