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Vettel: F1 must not neglect human cost of swelling calendar

F1 is set to reveal its calendar for next season in the coming week ahead of the FIA’s World Motor Sport Council meeting, with a 23-race schedule anticipated.

F1 CEO and president Stefano Domenicali has already confirmed plans for a 23-race season that, despite finishing earlier in the year than 2021, will feature the most races in F1 history.

It has raised concerns about the pressure placed on F1 personnel travelling to every single race and the sacrifices involved in the job, particularly for those required at the track beyond the typical four-day race weekend.

When asked by Autosport about the strain a 23-race calendar may put people under, four-time world champion and current Aston Martin driver Vettel said it was already proving to be an “immense task” for those working in the series.

“We mustn’t neglect that we are a group of people and human beings travelling around the world,” Vettel said.

“You can do the numbers. If we have 52 weekends in a year, we do 23 of those as races and [there are] a couple of months in a year that we can’t hold races in most places around the world, it obviously gives you a very intense season.

“The objective should be [that] we have a sustainable way to run our season, not only for our environment but also looking at the human resource.

“If you have so many people involved, the weekends are far longer than the Saturday-Sundays that we see on the TV. I think drivers, we are on the lucky end.

Vettel felt it was important that F1 held its season “in a way that those people also can have a normal life apart from their jobs spent away from home”.

He added: “Most of them, whether it’s engineers or mechanics, staff working in the team, they have a family or children that they want to look after.

“So, we must be very careful where we want to put our interests.”

Daniel Ricciardo, McLaren

Daniel Ricciardo, McLaren

Photo by: Steven Tee / Motorsport Images

McLaren’s Daniel Ricciardo echoed Vettel’s thoughts, believing it was crucial for teams to stay close together to keep each other’s spirits up when the going got tough.

“It’s really important for the team to have close relationships with other members of the team,” Ricciardo said.

“[We’re] away from families for long periods of time, especially the triple headers, so you need to kind of rely on your teammates to help you out if you’re a little a little down or missing home or whatever it is.

“I really hope next year the world keeps opening up and we can interact more with the team. It’s not just at the track, but [we want to] do some events, do some dinners and I think having that social life outside of the paddock on a race weekend helps break up the weekend as well.

“I think that’s kind of important time to switch off and just ease some of the stresses of the travel and the homesickness or whatever it is.”

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