Tost: 22 Races is the Absolute Limit

Formula 1 teams will risk personnel burn-out if the calendar expands beyond 22 races, says AlphaTauri’s Franz Tost.

Speaking in an interview with RACER, the long-time team principal of Red Bull’s junior outfit explained the 2020 season’s expanded calendar hasn’t created any additional concerns for his employees, but that would change should Liberty Media get their wish of up-to 25 grands prix in the future.

“No, we haven’t made changes, it’s just one race more than last year,” Tost said. “From the timeframe it’s nearly the same as last year, we start in March and the last race is at the end of November — there’s not a big change. In 2019 we started the season on the 17th of March and ended it on the 1st of December, and in 2020 we start on the 15th of March and the last race is on the 29th of November. There’s not a big difference.

“There’s one race more during the season, but we do not need to change people on a rotating basis. I think 22 is now the absolute limit. If we have more races in future then I think teams have to rotate people — mechanics, engineers — because otherwise it’s too much for them.”

Having introduced new races in Vietnam and the Netherlands this season, Liberty has been open about their wish to expand to other destinations, with Saudi Arabia and Miami likely to join the calendar in the near future.

In addition, Tost fears the need to rotate employees could affect the stability he has worked hard to build back at the factory.

“We’ve got a good team together now in Bicester in our aerodynamics department, and from the mechanical side we get the front and the rear suspension from Red Bull Technology — although it’s always one year older but nevertheless it’s much better than if we had to develop it by ourselves.

“It’s not that we have one totally weak area, but to be competitive in Formula 1 you have to improve everywhere. It starts in the design office, bringing the car to the starting grid hopefully underweight so that you have some more possibilities with the weight distribution; then the parts that are being designed and then manufactured in a way that you see there’s some progress, especially for aerodynamics; then from the operational side the race team, the pit stops should become better; and then from the race strategy I think we most often took the right decisions.”

Sixth in the constructor’s standings last year (as Toro Rosso), Tost is hoping 2020 is the season his team breaks into the top five for the first time in their 15-year history, but knows he can’t expect last year’s success to carry over.

“We need to improve everywhere a little bit, just to make another step forward. If all the departments improve their work and come up with better solutions then in the end you have a good complete package together to be competitive and beat the others.”