It was recently announced that Ron Dennis of McLaren will be rotating his grand prix staff as of next year due to the lack of a three week summer break. In previous seasons, 2008 inclusive, Formula One had been allowed a mid-season three week break, allowing those that travel with the teams a chance to take some time off and relax away from the pressures of work. However, the proposed 2009 calendar omits this break and the teams are concerned.
The main concern is burning out the staff, and Dennis has said that he will accommodate this by hiring more personnel and will rotate them. Dennis stated that his employees will not be expected to attend every race of the year. However, as mentioned in my previous article, this adds a burden of cost to the teams. This in itself goes against the FIA’s bid to reduce costs in the future and make Formula One more accessible for lesser-funded operations.
This break is absolutely essential for all the people who travel. They don’t get the right amount of time with their families and this gives them an opportunity to have at least one week where they are not at the office or workshop. Ron Dennis.
The proposed 2009 season starts at the end of March and goes right through to mid-Novemeber, with the maximum time between two races being the standard two weeks. This prompted the team bosses to discuss the issue in the Valencia paddock last weekend and they have decided to try and reshuffle the schedule to allow a break somewhere in the middle of the year. The teams know very well about the logistics of ferrying staff and equipment around the world and thus are in the best position to decide how to the plan the season.
We seem to have a long break at the beginning of the season and no summer break. There should be more discussion to optimise the race schedule in terms of the burden to the teams. John Howett.
Initially the teams suggested bringing the Australian Grand Prix forward to an earlier weekend in March, but Bernie Ecclestone rubbished that idea because he wants the race after the clocks change, thus bringing it closer to the daytime for his beloved European viewers. Another idea would be to move all the flyaways to later in the year. Perhaps start the season in Europe (or Bahrain/Abu Dhabi) in early-March, then fly away to Asia and Australia in early-April. At the moment though, the teams are apparently trying to squeeze in a break around Germany/Hungary/Turkey time. If the proposed-calendar changes, BlogF1 will of course post an update and alter the calendar page.