F1 teams question Ecclestone over 22 races calendars
F1 team bosses are heading for a clash with Bernie Ecclestone over the shape of the next grand prix calendars.
It has emerged that Mexico is joining the schedule next year, and Azerbaijan and possibly New Jersey in 2016. That would blow the number of races out from 19 – comfortably under the Concorde Agreement limit of 20 – to a potential 22. But actually, according to Germany’s Auto Motor und Sport, the newly agreed commercial agreements with F1 chief executive Ecclestone in fact allow for a new maximum of 22 races. For F1’s commercial rights holders, more races converts automatically into more income.
But Auto Motor und Sport claims that some internal cost calculations show that 21 races is actually the financial limit for the teams. “I think we should be careful of not saturating the year with too many races,” Sauber team boss Monisha Kaltenborn said. “We know what it means on our personnel. We might have to restructure things again, so I think we should be careful before we take these kinds of steps”.
It is believed Kaltenborn is referring to tipping point in the basic existing structure of the teams — once a certain number of races is reached, for example, teams may have to consider rotating staff and rethinking logistics. “It is clear,” agreed Ferrari chief Marco Mattiacci, “that stretching the championship to many races means more investment on our side so it opens another discussion”.
Image: Sauber F1 Team