Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Baku City Circuit, 2016

25 races a year possible for teams – Brawn

F1 Fanatic Round-up

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In the round-up: F1’s new motorsport manager believes a 25-race calendar is feasible for teams.

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@Paulguitar takes up Ross brawn’s point that Formula One may have to abandon its attempts to be ‘road relevant’:

I think we now have an opportunity to make F1 viscerally awesome once again. I said in a recent post I believe that F1 needs to accept it is still basically a sport, and in the entertainment business. It can’t really be ‘cutting edge’ as Ross Brawn says, we would end up with driverless electric cars.

So, this is a real chance for a reset. I dream of an F1 once again where as I approach the circuit my pulse quickens from way before I can see the cars, such is the magical sound they are making. An F1 than is so viscerally impressive I feel like an excited kid when I am at the circuit.
@Paulguitar

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  • 74 comments on “25 races a year possible for teams – Brawn”

    1. ESPN: Impressive interview with Brawn. Thanks for the link.

      1. Agreed. I am genuinely excited for the future of F1, now that Bernie is gone and Ross Brawn is in. He speaks a lot of sense.

      2. Exactly my thoughts. Was an incredibly well-conducted, respectful interview, with responses that were refreshing to hear

      3. That Maurice though.. He likes the camera and then there’s that mason ring..

      4. Yeah good interview.

        I get the point that if you switch on mod race it’s good to know exactly what’s what. However, if anyone has watched an Indy race (vis BT Sport), you do indeed get good info, BUT it takes up the entire screen!! If they cut to a head cam you literally cannot see the track. You get 4″ of banner and then you see the front wing.

        More info would be nice, but I dont want cut-aways to gurning drivers folding their arms etc. And I dont want to loose too much race picture.

        Perhaps with 4K you can make smaller legible info box’s, but not everyone has 4K. Look at NFL. It wasn’t all that long ago they formatted the score info for widescreen!

    2. Wasn’t there an interview a few years back that implied that for the staff 20-21 races is the maximum? Couldn’t find it, maybe some one else can….

      1. Okok with two sets of crews but could the teams afford it?

        1. Exactly. Brawn has been werbling on about cost caps, but then all of a sudden needing twice as many staff is not a problem at all.

          It’s pretty clear that Brawn’s arm is already being twisted to stick with the plan set out by Carey, even if it’s nonsensical. I don’t see this as a good sign.

          1. All relationships start with a honeymoon period. The question is how well they can work together and come to acceptable compromises that will determine their overall success.

          2. Did you watch the interview?

            Baby steps.

            And with other changes, two crews could be possible within a cost cap….that might not even happen.

        2. Having a second crew isn’t really that big an expense in the grand scheme of things, I’m sure there are plenty of engineers left back at the factory each weekend that would love the chance to be track side. More races = more income for the sport.

          1. @sama 20/21 races or even 18 already give enough income for the sport, so on that front increasing the number of races isn’t really necessary.

            1. If the fee to host a race is roughly $30m then the difference is 7x$30m…. don’t forget that the téams pay for the extra crew etc, not Liberty. More races is more money, no matter how you wanna look at it.

        3. Perhaps for the big teams, the two sets of crews structure wouldn’t be a problem, but for small teams like Sauber, for example, I doubt they could achieve the same.

    3. I’m no expert in UK labor law (7 of 10 teams are based in the UK, right?), but if your staff is doing 12 or 13 work weekends away instead of 21, it might be marginally costlier or maybe even cheaper to do even with 2 teams.

      1. @faulty, you mean six out of ten surely (Haas, Sauber, Ferrari and Toro Rosso having the base of their operations outside of the UK)?

        1. @faulty UK labour law is currently the EU labour law, so who knows what is happening with that in the next few years. Anon, Haas have their race team based in Banbury (just down the road from the drive through Costa Coffee, you know the one!). And on a side side note Toro Rosso use a wind tunnel in Bicester.

          1. @unicron2002, I believe that officially Haas’s base of operations would be their offices in North Carolina, which is also one of their major production centres.

            It is certainly true that Haas has a fairly sizeable office in Banbury which Haas has said will service the cars during the European leg of the season, with an additional team of workers based in Italy working with Dallara to produce components for his cars. I believe that Haas aimed to have a workforce of about 200 people, with the long term plan being for Haas to base around 80 people at Banbury (although the only report that I saw on that indicated that, at the time it was written, there were only 15 people working there).

            It would be a sizeable chunk of his workforce, but at the moment I believe that the offices in Banbury aren’t fully up to strength yet and therefore the majority of Haas’s workforce are still based in North Carolina. At the very least, I believe that the cars are prepared in North Carolina for the long haul events around the Pacific and South America, so in a sense Haas kind of already does have two groups of mechanics working on the cars.

        2. Pretty sure Haas is in the UK

      2. If staff are able to do 20 race weekends, and they need staff for 25 races, they’d be best reducing the cost of achieving this by just rotating some around. Therefore they’d only need an extra 25% of staff, and providing some were trained in different roles, and all the staff are integrated into the team properly, they should continue working as normal.

    4. I, like many, have made a point of watching every F1 race over the past 30 years.

      However, if the number of races increases to 25, I’ll be forced to start cherry picking which ones I watch. Already, I’m probably spending an unsustainable amount of time watching practices, qualifying and then the race. Add more races and my viewing habits (and therefore the amount of advertising) will have to change.

      I have no real interest in highlights packages because they don’t tell the full story of a race (or of qualifying) so I’ll probably end up just skipping chunks of a season.

      For me quantity does not help, I’d rather have less races of good quality. The owners may want more – not sure the fans do.

      1. 25 two hour races a year comes out to less than an hour a week devoted to F1. I’m sure most people will be able to manage that, if they really want to.

        ‘course, as a not-European, I pretty much never manage to be awake for every 3 AM race that happens each year, so already missing a race or two is the normal for me… and it’s not the worst thing ever.

        1. If you *only* watch the races themselves. Many of us don’t. If you watch everything available to you — practice, qualifying, pre-race, race, post-race — then watching F1 becomes a huge investment in time.

          I’m in the same club as DB-C90: If they increase the number of races to 25, I’ll likely skip some of them even if the racing improves. It’s just too many: That’s every second weekend, *year-round*.

          1. If watching everything became too much of a burden, you could maybe not watch practice? I mean, if I had had to choose between 16 races where I watched all the practices, all the qualifyings, and all the races… or 24 where I just watched all the qualifyings and races, it’d be a really easy choice for me…

            But more broadly, even if you do watch every session of every weekend, that’s still a smaller time investment than most sports I can think of. NASCAR’s got 36 races, the NHL & NBA have 82 games, EPL’s got 38. The NFL stands out as an exception to me, with just 16 games.

            It’s not an exhaustive list by any means, but I dare say there’s a lot of successful sports that produce way more content than F1, without being crippled by fan fatigue.

            1. Less pre/post to watch but the MLB makes everyone else seem like they are working part time.

        2. @kanil while I am sorry for your plight, I have to echo what @dbradock says. In fact, the Asia races as well as the American races at least have the advantage of not cutting up the Sunday; Asia races take place while my wife sleeps so are halfway ideal.

          1. Yep I’m with @dbradock here. I already find it a struggle to watch all of the races and qualifying, and I shudder at the thought of 25. It’s so much difficult when you start having children too, I’m already watching every single race after 8pm on a Sunday evening. But then again I’m a dinosaur form the 16 race a season era so I’ve got my rose tinted specs on.

      2. I want more races.

      3. @dbradock Instead of watching practice session + qualifying + the race for 20 events, it would be more worthwhile to skip practice and only watch qualifying and the race for 25 races.

        1. @Mashiat good point. I should have mentioned that I have been skipping quite a lot of the practice sessions both because it was too much of a time impost and because I was actually getting a bit over the constant chatter of the commentators who seemed to want to talk among themselves instead of about what was happening on track/in the garages.

          However even watching Qualifying (a must see) and the Race 25 times a year (compared to say 16 – 18 which I think was more sensible) is a lot of time and it’s still likely that I’d have to elect to miss some and I’m not convinced that others wouldn’t do the same.

    5. 25 Races a year is too many. 20 should be a maximum.

      1. Pat Ruadh (@fullcoursecaution)
        29th January 2017, 14:07

        I like the idea of 25, but they need to re-jig the calendar to stop this unnecessary continent-hopping. It’s needlessly expensive and time consuming.

        In a properly planned 25 race season, engineers need spend no more time away from their families than they already do.

        I think they should start with all the Austra-Asian races going south to north, then the all the middle east races west to east, then the European season west to east, then the Americas races north to south. With breaks between each mini season.

        This business of hopping over to Bahrain one week and back to China the next, because Abu Dhabi/ Bahrain or Singapore/Malaysia etc. don’t want to be associated with each other is a nonsense.

        Geography is geography. Get over it or don’t host a race.

        1. Pat Ruadh (@fullcoursecaution)
          29th January 2017, 14:09

          East to west even

        2. @fullcoursecaution I agree that geography should be the number #1 priority when planning the race calendar, but there’s also a thing called ‘climate’ which has to be taken into account. For example, the Canadian GP can’t be held at the same time of year as the other two North American races because Montreal is too cool/cold for F1 in October. The Mexican GP is the only NA race that theoretically could be held at any time of year from the climate point of view, but the Canadian GP can only really be held (apart from June) in July, August, and perhaps early September at the very latest while Austin is out of question in July and August for sure and June is also on the edge temperature-wise, so due to the quite significant climate difference it’s difficult to run all three at the same time of year.

          1. Pat Ruadh (@fullcoursecaution)
            29th January 2017, 21:08

            Hmm fair point about Montreal and climate that does scupper my plan.

            What if the calendar was ran in the reverse of what I described above, such that the season started in Brazil in March, with Montreal in a (feasible?) early June, and ending in Australia in November like it used to. This would also keep Suzuka in its climate friendly October slot.

    6. Nonsense! The more races the better. I know how I miss F1 even over extended 3 week breaks between races.

      1. Indeed, surely if we had more races in Europe then we could get 40 races a year onto the calendar :)

    7. re: COTD.

      There’s a big difference between being road relevant, and being cutting edge. The big question, as Brawn outlines, is with the engine manufacturers, and what they want to achieve as the motoring industry looks towards electric.

      Currently we have these engines that are on the cutting edge of efficiency, and in the long-run sure, nothing will beat electric with that goal. But I think all that’s needed is to move the goal back to the cutting edge of performance.

      To say that F1 or their engines shouldn’t be cutting edge, in my view, is simply wrong. For the longest time it was part of F1’s “DNA” to be the best of the best; the fastest cars paired with the fastest drivers. If there’s any “reset” it should be back to that.

      The big question and issue in my mind has always been with safety, and how instead of slowing the cars to make the sport safer (which has led to this efficiency formula), more money and time should be spent on researching barriers and crash structures.

      1. Tristan, while I agree with your sentiment, the technology has moved on. “Back in the day” F1 could be cutting edge but still understood by the average fan, and the cars were completely manual. Now technology is capable of supplanting a lot of the skills of a racing driver (ABS, traction control, active suspension and more) and the rules have to artificially limit the amount of assistance given to a driver. F1 can’t be at the cutting edge of everything and also maintain its visceral appeal.

    8. 20 is enough. Quality over quantity please, although I’m guessing that view isn’t shared by the majority of the public these days.

      1. Couldn’t agree more. How many races did we actually enjoy during the last season? It would be like 3-4 out of 21. The comparison to NASCAR doesn’t seem to be valid, as it’s a national championship, the travelling times and distances are limited to that, not to mention the structure and the rules. I would totally go for 16 races in a season if I can enjoy 8 out of them, but it doesn’t look like I could enjoy 12-13 out of 25. Increasing the number of events doesn’t solve a single problem, but obvioulsy might open additional money sources, that’s all from my point of view.

    9. I think a few more races could be possible with the same crew if the calendar is done correctly.

      1. @hugh11 This is the thing. If they make the calendar have more well thought out logistics then it will be better. The problem they have is that they risk too many races close to one another, effectively causing competition and spectator numbers falling. However, if F1 were to be more popular, which is what they are aiming for, this shouldn’t be an issue.

        Looking at the 2017 calendar, it’s not as bad as it was a few years ago, but there are still a few spanners in the works, such as Abu Dhabi. They trek all the way back there just for the final race. If they grouped Bahrain and Abu Dhabi together, and put China with Singapore, Malaysia, and Japan, then it would open space for some European rounds at the start of the season, and / or some American rounds at the end. And if the Singapore and Malaysia Grands Prix are not going to be around for much longer then they ought to theoretically group all the Asia rounds together.

        1. The current race calendar isn’t too bad from the logistics viewpoint, but with some small tweaks it would be even better on that front, for example, Austria should be paired with Azerbaijan instead of Silverstone as the distance between Baku and Austria is both shorter and logistically easier than the distance between Austria and England, and would reduce back-and-forth travelling between those venues.

        2. @strontium Agreed. Tbh I think they should do it across the world from east to west as it’s shown on the flat maps, so starting in Australia, moving to Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, China, then Bahrain and Abu Dhabi, Russia, then the European ones, then move to US, Mexico and ending in Brazil. Would be much better, and allow more 1 week gaps instead of 2 week gaps, meaning more races.

          1. Pat Ruadh (@fullcoursecaution)
            29th January 2017, 15:02

            I must remember to read down before commenting in future.

        3. Having the Canadian round in June is something I have never agreed with. It should be 2 weeks after Monza. Even having the Japanese GP in April wouldn’t be a bad idea…

          1. @mfeire Montreal in mid-September is already on the edge of being too cool to race. It can only really (apart from June) be held in July and August. Perhaps early-September at the very latest, but no later than that, and yes, the Japanese GP could be held in April as well, but the current early October slot is better temperature-wise to race there.

    10. 22 races a year would be the maximum, perhaps maybe more double headers spread evenly over the year, with the first race held on late February and the last in early December.

    11. Guybrush Threepwood
      29th January 2017, 9:36

      an extra 5 races is almost 2 months worth of racing, unless they are all back to back. That significantly reduces development time at some stage.

      1. Maybe Brawn can see that and kill two birds with one stone.

        More races and more parity in certain stages of the calendar, what’s not to like?

    12. Less is more. There’s nothing special or unique about a Grand Prix anymore. The same teams, same drivers, same cars, over and over and over. Unload from shipping container, press “start”, drive, race, press “off”, load back into shipping container.
      Chase Carey needs to watch the complete set of GP season review films from 1970 to 1979. Only then might he understand.

    13. OmarRoncal - Go Seb!!! (@)
      29th January 2017, 12:31

      Many are saying that arranging the races for geographical proximity would risk the profit for organizers. But if Liberty actually relaxes the rules about permitting local sponsors, tickets could actually get cheaper, and I know many people who could afford going to 2 GPs if prices were more reasonable. So it could be a total win-win-win. Liberty gets more money from circuits and TV, the circuits get more spectators and make more profit from sponsors, and fans can assist to more races.
      The ones who would not win are the teams. More exhausting and more expensive to get more parts for so many races.

    14. I would rather they dropped down to 11 or 12 rounds spread throughout the year and alternated around all the different circuits. This would reduce the costs for the teams, should make the racing less predictable because it gives the teams more time between races to make some proper changes if they aren’t performing well, would keep the calendar fresh every year to make it more interesting and probably increase both spectator numbers at the circuit and people watching the races from home.

      1. @rob91 That’s an interesting idea. It would also give drivers chance to compete in other series, something that could potentially boost popularity, although the teams would not be too pleased.

        However, the loss in revenues for F1 would be too significant.

    15. If they were to start adding more races I think it would be the end of me watching every race live as even with 21 last year I was starting to get really burnt out on it towards the end. Should the number of races go up to 25 I’d just start selecting the races I want to watch & end up skipping a few & I know quite a few others both online & people I know personally who have suggested they will do the same.

      It’s not a simple case of I don’t have time or anything (Although I do feel like I hardly saw any friends/family on weekends during the season last year), It’s just that more of something isn’t always better & that I kind of feel that since more races have been added each has started to feel less special, Less like a big event because it feels like there’s one virtually every weekend.

      Back when you had only 16-17 races there was a 2-3 week gap between each so by the time the next race came along you were eager to get back in & enjoy it. Last year especially when you had a lot of back to back’s & stuff I reached a point where it just didn’t seem special & I really started to get burnt out towards the end where I was just begging the season would finally end & I really worry that more races will just amplify that.

      Looking elsewhere, When Montoya moved to Nascar 10 years ago as A big fan of his since his CART days I started watching Nascar & generally enjoyed the racing (Outside of Daytona as I’m not fond of pack racing) but for as much as I was enjoying the racing it reached a point where i’d watched 10 races in about 15 weeks or something & I just got tired of it so stopped watching & never really got back into it.

      1. @stefmeister It’s actually interesting that when you look at NASCAR & really dive into the stats you actually see that a significant portion (Maybe even a majority) of there TV viewer base actually don’t watch every race. There is also some data out there which seems to suggest that a big part of the reason for that is because they feel there’s too many races.

        1. Actual research that included asking about track style showed it is much more about people preferring short tracks, mid-size (although rare), road course or superspeedways. When you correlated races watched with where the series was, there was a strong link for racing style preference, something not found as much with F1 as the variation is mostly street course vs natural terrain. Most fans I knew hated the road courses so they’d skip and the fuel economy tracks like Iowa, Kentucky, Chicagoland were rounded hated and generated low ratings.

    16. I completely agree with Brawn about 25 races per year. F1 has way too many gaps between races and I think that causes a loss of momentum. If Nascar can do 36 races, F1 can handle 25.

      1. That is entirely possible if they stick to a continential kind of schedule. Say, they start Australia in February, then they do all the Asian rounds (India, Abu Dhabi, Malaysia, China, Bahrain, Japan, Russia), then the European rounds, then the Americas rounds (Canada, Port Imperial, Mexico, Austin, Brazil, Argentina) and then end in South Africa.

        1. Evil Homer (@)
          31st January 2017, 11:11

          @mfreire

          Exactly! While the calendar seemed to work in some kind of order you had last year Singapore and Malaysia 2 weeks apart while the circuits and within a few hundred kms, all the teams go home for a few days, then most come back (they trade some mechanics and marketing/hospitality staff) but drivers and essential engineer’s are back to it again.

          As a fan I would love 25 races, even though its seems too many logistically for the teams unless the streamline the process a lot better than now. Maybe they are planning 8 in the US?

    17. I’d like the sport to go back to 16 races a year. Anymore than that and the product is diluted and I believe that’s a problem now with 20 races.

    18. The teams may be able to hire more people to do 25 races but I know that not many of them actually want to do that.

      Additionally it’s going to increase the cost’s for the broadcasters who are having to ship there crew/equipment all around the world & with many of the FTA broadcasters already struggling to afford the cost’s involved in producing live sport it’s just going to ensure the move towards PayTV broadcasters who have significantly larger budgets will continue.
      Not to mention that unlike the teams a lot of broadcasters (Again especially the FTA one’s) don’t have the luxury of been able to hire 2+ teams of staff to spread across 25 races so there either going to walk away or cut back there output which will likely come at the expense of overall quality.

      People often point to NASCAR doing 36+ races as proof F1 can do it. However NASCAR races on 1 continent so travel is far easier than it is in F1 where your going all around the planet. I remember when Bobby Rahal was running Jaguar for a while in 2001 he commented on how much harder the travel schedule was than in Indycar because of that & its something you hear from a lot of people who move to F1 from North American based categories (As I did when I moved to FOM in 1997 having worked for the Indycar TV crew).

      1. Yeah, people seem to forget that nascar is just loading up trucks and driving. Flying your equipment all around the world and getting clearence from customs and visas and all airport related traveling is a big difference.

    19. 3 races in a row in the USA would be easy planning.

    20. Here a few details on NASCAR’s season schedule. Most race teams are based in the Charlotte, North Carolina area. With all by 8 races east of the Mississippi River, most tracks can be reached in a day and time zone changes don’t occur all that often. Usually travel is Thursday, so teams can be on track for Friday. Each team has only one race hauler carrying two fully-prepared cars (primary and back-up) and everything else they’ll need each weekend. Plus no Hospitality suite to set up nor the need to pack stuff onto a cargo plane. The problem with NASCAR’s travel is the grind. 38 weekends of racing, (they have two non-points events). It’s February to November and is the longest of any North American sports organization.

    21. Interesting to know what Brawn in team-manager/owner mode would think of having to do 25 races.

    22. I think the F1 off season is far too long as a fan. All of December, January, February and most of March.

      I’d certainly rather the season ran for 10 months with x2 races per month.

      1. Nowadays it’s shorter than it used to be. The off-season period used to last from October to March, but since the end of the season, slot moved to late November early this decade the off-seasons have lasted around four months (the end of November to mid/late-March).

    23. To be honest circuits nowadays are too similar each other. Specially the modern ones.
      For a “25” season, they need more Monza,Spa,Monaco like circuits, that have peculiar elements in their design, instead of that “mix of everything” technical modern tracks (designed by Tilke), otherwise there is no differentiation and in the end you watch always the same race.

    24. Keith, thanks a lot for the link to the interview with Brawn – was really like a breath of fresh air. He said exactly the things that felt like burden a long time and I was unnable to articulate myself.

    25. Brawn is a massively better prospect than Ecclestone but isn’t 25 races a year pushing it a bit and risk quantity over quality? IMO, 20 races is about right but personally I would like to see more traditional tracks like Paul Ricard and Nurburgring (not the truncated Hockenheim, please) have regular places and those of Silverstone and Interlagos secured from the present “uncertain future” prospects. I felt that ONE GP with a Middle Eastern flavour (Abu Dhabi) is enough and boring Bahrain should be eliminated. Likewise, not a big fan of the Azerbaijan race either.

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