Formula 1 teams will have to start rotating staff members if the calendar expands any further, according to AlphaTauri team principal Franz Tost.
The additions of new races in the Netherlands and Vietnam — coupled with only the German Grand Prix not remaining on the schedule from last year — means a record 22 races will be held in 2020. While FIA president Jean Todt recently drew criticism for comments regarding the privileged position that employees working in F1 have despite the growing calendar, Tost has regularly backed more races, and despite not yet feeling the need to take action he says a limit has been reached.
“No, we haven’t made changes (to deal with 22 races), it’s just one race more than last year,” Tost told RACER. “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.”
One reason Tost is reluctant to make changes is because he wants to encourage stability at the former Toro Rosso team, having seen strong results in the second half of 2019.
“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.
“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.”