Vasseur warns of rising costs of ‘cramming in races’
Alfa Romeo boss Fred Vasseur has warned that efforts to pack in as many races as possible into the second half of the year could have serious cost implications for all Formula 1 teams on the grid.
Currently nine of the original 22 races scheduled for 2020 have been abandoned, cancelled or indefinitely postponed due to measures to stop or slow the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.
F1 bosses are hoping to reschedule most of the affected events for later in the season, with back-to-back race weekends planned for the month of August which would traditionally be the sport’s summer shutdown period.
But Vasseur has pointed out that trying to hold so many races in such a short time would inevitably cost money, and that it would have serious consequences for the smaller teams on the grid including his own.
- Alfa boss Vasseur predicting ‘difficult times’ ahead
“If you want to do more races in a row it is more expensive,” he told Motorsport.com this week. “It is more expensive to do 18 races in six months than to do 18 races in 12 months.
“You need to bring more stock, you need to bring more parts, and you need to work with more mechanics,” he explained. “This will be very costly.”
Vasseur said that trimming the race weekend format from three days to two would be one way of clawing back some of the extra expenditure.
“Because of the workload to do between 15 and 18 races within six months, for sure it’s a challenge,” he continued. “If we have three races in a row [as we did in 2018] it could make sense to have two day events.
“It’s a challenge for all the teams,” he added. “Probably more for the small teams, because we don’t have a big team to rotate the mechanics.
“We have to find a solution to reduce their workload also,” he insisted. “I think everybody is being flexible on this. Everybody understands the situation and the fact that it’s crucial to find solutions.”
Whatever measures are put in place by F1 director of motorsports Ross Brawn and his management team, Vasseur promised to give them his full support.
“I will be in favour of all the decisions that could help to have as many races as we can,” he said.
As well as the cost of more races in shorter periods, Vasseur also predicted a knock-on effect on future car development. It’s why F1 has been forced to delay introduction of new rules originally planned for 2021 by a year as a result of the COVID-19 disruption.
“We will not be able to face this kind of situation and develop the new car,” he stated. “We don’t have the team to be able to do it.
“The best decision that we could take [was to] postpone the 2021 regulations to 2022 and to stop the development of the ’21 car for 2020.
“It was by far the best option on the table,” he added. “It’s the only way for us to be able to afford this kind of situation.”
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Alfa Romeo, Fred Vasseur