Discussing the 2024 F1 Calendar
Hi, everyone! As you all may see, it’s been a while since I’ve been on here. I’ve just finished my IGCSE examinations, which have taken up the majority of my time this year.
To everyone who’s stuck with me and the blog, thank you so much. My dream has not changed, and I remain passionate about working in motorsport media professionally.
I’ve really enjoyed the last few races and it was so nice to see two Brits up on the podium in Silverstone. It’s also great to see the McLarens thriving after the updates made to their cars. Hopefully, it means more exciting racing and another team that can challenge Red Bull for podiums.
Formula 1 recently announced the 2024 schedule, with a record total of 24 races on the line-up. With practice for the season beginning in February and the final race in Abu Dhabi taking place in early December, this new calendar is spread over an almost 10-month period. This decision raises concerns about the strain this long season may place on employees. The amount of time away from home, even with weeks “off” in between is enormous. It’s a sacrifice that must take a mental toll.
In my article, ‘A Spotlight on Mental Health in F1’, I wrote about the impact of the longer schedules on those who work in the sport. Sky F1 presenter Rachel Brookes brought up a “rotation system” in our interview, as something that has been considered for employees.
In an Autosport article dating back to 2021, Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team Principal Toto Wolff said, “We need to come up with some kind of regulatory environment and say how many races can someone attend, and have a rotational quota.” Wolff encouraged making F1 more “sustainable” in its approach to a longer race schedule, without reducing the number of races.
In an FIA press conference in 2022, Dave Robson of Williams stated that the team “have introduced some rotation”. This currently seems to be mainly with engineering as an approach but may expand further with time, especially if the race calendar continues to grow.
I believe that the rotation system approach to the challenge of a 24-race season seems logical, as it makes an effort to preserve the mental health of team members. Ensuring that their well-being is intact means that employees in the sport are supported in working to their greatest potential.
As for internal mental health support when it comes to the teams, McLaren (as of 2021) had “eight trained mental health first aiders as part of its race team”, according to a Motorsport.com article. This is to aid team members, perhaps those facing the mental strain that could very well be experienced with such long lengths of time away from home. McLaren’s system is just one example of support provided in Formula 1, with other teams adopting similar strategies to promote positive mental health.
Despite opposition from activists and human rights groups, F1 has decided to continue to race in countries such as Saudi Arabia and Bahrain and Qatar. There are many factors that go into a decision to race in a country, but it seems like money is the biggest player in these choices.
However, racing in a location where certain employees of the sport may not feel safe – due to legislation or stigma, is inconsistent with F1’s messaging about equal rights.
In an interview after the first Saudi Arabian Grand Prix in 2022, Hamilton remarked, “I am just looking forward to getting out.” In fact, drivers almost boycotted Jeddah’s inaugural race, after a missile attack 10 miles away from the track during the Grand Prix weekend. I cannot imagine how terrifying that must have been and am just grateful that everyone left safe.
With racing at the above locations though, I think the extent of any resistance is going to be protests from the drivers in the form of their helmets – as seen by Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel in the past.
Environmentally, F1 has launched a series of initiatives to combat the impact that the demanding race schedule leaves. While not all of them will begin in 2024, research should continue, which will help with the effects of more races in the future. This included shuffling around some of the races to make them more regional and reduce travel. 2024 race weekends in Qatar, Japan, and Azerbaijan are those that were affected by this change, however, it’s likely this approach may continue in the future with more locations.
To view the F1 schedule for 2024 on the official website, click here.
And that will be it – the 2024 Formula 1 season!
Ultimately, as a fan, the most important thing about the upcoming season is that everyone remains safe, and we get some entertaining, competitive racing. I’m hoping to see teams like Ferrari, McLaren, and Mercedes (who have all displayed immense potential – especially the latter two at Silverstone!) bring the fight to Red Bull.
But we still have so much to see this season – with 12 races to go, including the first ever Las Vegas Grand Prix!!
Cover Image Credit: Bahrain Grand Prix,2016 Rd.2 Result » F-1.LINK