July 23, 2024

George Russell has picked up more support for his latest idea as the head of the GPDA continues to put pressure on the sport’s governing body.

Sergio Perez has backed George Russell’s calls for action after staff were left exhausted at the end of the 2023 calendar. The sport visited 22 different venues this season, and next year that number will increase to a record-breaking 24.

Russell had previously demanded that team members be prohibited from attending every race during the season, requiring teams to assign their staff to various race weekends. This would give time for rest and recovery during periods of high activity on the schedule.

An event that is typically an eye-catching, lavish season finale was relatively understated as drivers and teams made clear their intention to simply get through the weekend. The Abu Dhabi race was the last race of the year, and the paddock was clearly exhausted.

The calendar for 2023 concluded with five races spread over six weekends. If that wasn’t difficult enough for the paddock, the last two races were held in Las Vegas and Abu Dhabi, which were in nearly completely different time zones.

“People [are] in the engineers’ office just really struggling with the constant timezone shifts, the body not knowing where you are, eating at different times, staying in different hotels, different environments, and different climates,” said Russell after the weekend, expressing his true feelings. The body is becoming disoriented.

“I believe there are discussions regarding staff regulations prohibiting them from participating in every race for the upcoming year. That seems like a good idea to me. It isn’t sustainable, in my opinion, to have 4,000 participants in 24 races each season. It is particularly nonsensical when you consider how geographically [diverse the calendar is].

Perez has now backed up these remarks, stating that drivers’ and team members’ careers may not last as long if a rigorous schedule like this is repeated annually.

“Certainly,” he replied. However, it goes without saying that we will bring it up to try and see what can be done. It’s probably too late for next year, but you should definitely try to make the most of it the year after. I don’t recall the last race having so many tired competitors.

“Considering how crucial it is to the sport, I believe we should be treating it seriously. additionally for the drivers. We obviously want the mechanics and staff to continue having the extended careers that we have witnessed in them; we hope that they will do the same. Thus, I believe it’s something we need to think about.

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