Alpine’s surprising April break request as F1 takes a breather before Baku

Oliver Harden
Max Verstappen lines on the grid for a restart. Australia April 2023

Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton line up on the front row on the grid for a restart. Australia April 2023

Otmar Szafnauer, the Alpine team principal, has called for Formula 1 to consider making an April break a regular fixture on the calendar in the future.

Following last week’s Australian Grand Prix, F1 will be out of action for three whole weekends before the season resumes with the Azerbaijan round in Baku on April 30.

The large gap in the calendar has been caused by the cancellation of the Chinese Grand Prix, originally scheduled for April 16, last December. F1 decided against replacing the Shanghai-based event, leaving a calendar of 23 races.

A three-week break in August has become the norm in F1, with teams forced to stay away from their factories during the designated summer shutdown.

And Szafnauer has welcomed the chance to pause for breath after the opening trio of ‘flyaway’ races in Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and Australia, suggesting an April break should be integrated into the calendar going forward.

According to the German edition of, he said: “Maybe we should consciously do it this way in the future. recommends

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“It’s nice to have a three-week break now.”

Although the racing season has only just started, the opening three grands prix come after an extensive period of preparation for the campaign with a three-day pre-season test in Bahrain preceded by car launch season and last-minute work on the cars at the factories.

With growing concerns over the size of the F1 calendar, Szafnauer feels two extended breaks per season could ease the stresses and strains on the F1 community.

He added: “I know the season has just started. But it’s not just about the start of the season, because a lot of people have been working hard over the winter preparing the car for testing and then the races.

“And then in August, there’s another break.

“That could be a way forward.”

Although an extended break so early into a new F1 season is unusual, it is not completely unheard of in the modern era.

During the sport’s first year of the V6 hybrid engines in 2014, a gap of three weeks separated the Chinese GP on April 20 and the first round of the European season in Barcelona on May 11.

The drivers and teams would be well advised to welcome a break while they can, with the Baku race followed by the Miami GP a week later to spark a frantic run of races until the summer shutdown.