George Russell concurs with Esteban Ocon with regards to the toll on the F1 drivers, team members and everyone involved due to packed calendar.
The last two F1 weekends and the travel from Las Vegas to Abu Dhabi made it tough on the whole paddock, especially after they had last two months of traveling to Asia and America. The toll has been high after 23 rounds and a hard back-to-back end.
The extreme timings in Las Vegas coupled with travel to Abu Dhabi made it tough. Mercedes’ Russell was coughing on Sunday where he noted about not feeling well. For him, the toll was higher for team members as they don’t have the liberty of physios.
While talking about 2024, Russell spilled about potential regulation where personnel won’t do all the 24 rounds to better manage people. “I think the drivers, we have it best from every single person in this paddock, the way we travel,” said te GPDA director. “We’re in a very fortunate position.
“But everybody up and down the paddock – I’ve got so many mechanics who are ill, people in the engineers’ office, just really struggling with the constant time zone shifts, the body not knowing where you are, eating at different times, staying in different hotels, different environments, different climates. The body’s getting confused.
“I think there are talks for next year about personnel being regulated that they can’t do every single race. I think that would be a good thing. I don’t think it’s sustainable to 4,000 people, I think it is, to do 24 races a season, especially when you see how geographically it still doesn’t make a huge amount of sense,” summed up Russell.
The Brit somewhat concurred with Alpine’s Ocon, who was ill between Las Vegas and Abu Dhabi. He missed Thursday media day and drove the car not feeling 100% all-weekend long, even though he was feeling much better on Sunday.
But he also feels that the toll is getting higher and higher. “It’s obviously not optimal to be in bed for two days before an F1 race,” said Ocon. “But I think we still did a good job considering all of that. On race day, I was probably 98%, I was 85% on Saturday, so it was going in the right curve then.
“The biggest challenge was the test where you are whole day in the car. I am glad that I started to feel better before the test, as it was quite a tough one. I’m not sure if it comes from [the Vegas timings] but we didn’t see the sun for four days. There’s a lot of things that is pushing on the human body.
“Usually it’s when you come home from here, when illness happens. It’s one more race than last year, or two more races. The body is designed for that and not 24 or 23 races. So let’s see if we can escape from that next year. I am not 100%, that’s for sure but it doesn’t really matter as you have to make the most of the situation.”
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