Verstappen questions F1 travel sustainability

Verstappen questions F1 travel sustainability

Verstappen questions F1 travel sustainability

Max Verstappen was another Formula 1 driver to voice his concern regarding the sustainability of the sport’s travel plans as its calendar continues to grow.

F1 just concluded a season of 22 races, which could’ve been 24 had it not been for the cancellation of the Chinese Grand Prix due to Covid-19 restrictions and the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix which was cancelled after the northern Italian region was hit by floods.

The season was a tough one for drivers and team staff with the continuous changes of time zones taking its toll on their bodies, with George Russell reporting several Mercedes team members being ill in Abu Dhabi after traveling directly from Las Vegas.

Esteban Ocon as well wasn’t feeling well in Abu Dhabi claiming the body cannot sustain the high number of races, which Russell – also ill in the season finale – agreeing to that.

Triple F1 Champion, Verstappen, believes traveling from venues like Las Vegas to Abu Dhabi for back to back races is not sustainable, and should be addressed in future F1 calendars.

He said: “I definitely think for the future, of course for next year it’s not possible, but it’s a little bit odd that we are on the other side of the world [Las Vegas] basically before getting to Abu Dhabi.

“Especially when you’re talking about sustainability. It’s probably not very sustainable, not only for the emissions, but also for the human body. Eventually we always deal with it, but I don’t think it’s great.

“We’ll just talk to F1 about that, if there’s something that we can do for the future to make it a little bit more of a normal end to the to the year,” he added.

Bunch the back-to-back races together

ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - NOVEMBER 20: Max Verstappen of the Netherlands driving the (1) Oracle Red Bull Racing RB18 leads Sergio Perez of Mexico driving the (11) Oracle Red Bull Racing RB18 on track during the F1 Grand Prix of Abu Dhabi at Yas Marina Circuit on November 20, 2022 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Rudy Carezzevoli/Getty Images)

Verstappen has never been a fan of too many F1 races per season, but feels having back to back races in close geographic regions will reduce the extent of the problem.

“I don’t mind having a triple-header when it’s like the Middle East,” he said. “It’s the flight time to go from fully left [Las Vegas] to go here, it’s probably a bit much. Next year, we cannot change that but hopefully, in the future, we can have a chat and see what’s possible for best for everyone.

“It’s already a lot of races, a lot of travelling, in the end like after the summer break, basically. We can do a little bit of a better job with placing the Grand Prix,” the Dutchman maintained.

In addition to Verstappen, Russell, and Ocon also complaining, Charles Leclerc revealed he was so exhausted coming from Las Vegas to Abu Dhabi, that he slept despite the jetlag.

“I was so tired that I slept like a baby the first night, so jetlag wasn’t a problem,” he revealed. “But obviously speaking around in the paddock, especially with the mechanics and engineers, everyone seemed to be really, really tired and really struggling with it.

“Next year I think will be even more difficult because we’ll have three races in a row which after that, I believe, that we might rethink a little bit the way we organize the last part of the season,” Leclerc reckoned.

The 2024 F1 season will feature three triple headers, two of which are consecutive towards the end of the season separated by a two-week break. Austin – Mexico – Sao Paulo, then Las Vegas – Qatar – Abu Dhabi.

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