Formula One teams will have to change their working practices next season to prevent a record 20-race calendar from pushing staff to breaking point, Ross Brawn, the Mercedes GP team principal, said.
Brawn fears engineer burnout
MONZA, ITALY // Formula One teams will have to change their working practices next season to prevent a record 20-race calendar from pushing staff to breaking point, Ross Brawn, the Mercedes GP team principal, said. Brawn told reporters at the Italian Grand Prix that the expanded championship, running from Bahrain on March 13 through to Brazil on November 27, would put a particular burden on engineers.
"We want to have these extra races," Brawn said. "It's good for Formula One. But it's reaching a critical stage in terms of people being able to cope." Brawn said mechanics could be used in rotation, although cost-cutting measures and the ban on testing during the season meant that the separate test teams had been disbanded. "We have a small group of mechanics who rotate because occasionally someone will pick up an injury," he said, referring to the Mercedes team.
For example, he said, a team mechanic has an injured back and has been temporarily replaced by another mechanic. Added Brawn: "It becomes a bit more difficult with the engineers because, of course, they are very closely linked with their drivers and I think we'll have to think about their workload at the factory as well as at the circuit. People all have families, and if you are away for 20 races, it's a lot of time away from home.
"I think we are going to have to start thinking about time available for people when they are not at the racetrack." Brawn said the preservation of the European summer break, from Hungary on July 31 to Belgium on August 28, would be a help. However, the calendar would still pose significant challenges, he said, such as the four back-to-back race weekends: Malaysia/China in April, Spain/Monaco in May, Germany/Hungary in July and Japan/South Korea in October.
India is the new addition to the 2011 calendar, on October 30. * Reuters