Fittipaldi is opposed to ‘crazy’ 23-race calendar

Date published: October 28 2021 - Jon Wilde

Emerson Fittipaldi on qualifying day for the United States GP. Austin October 2021.

Emerson Fittipaldi believes Formula 1 drivers are being over-faced with 22 races this season, never mind 23 next year.

F1 hopes to reach its target of a 23-race campaign in 2022 having fallen just short in the current season due to the ongoing pandemic.

That total looks unlikely to decrease in the foreseeable future either, given the number of countries and circuits that are jockeying to host a grand prix.

It is a far cry from the days when Fittipaldi was racing in the sport, between 1970 and 1980, when there was only ever a maximum of 16 races per year.

The two-time former World Champion struggles to see how the drivers “cope”, even though there is much less on-track testing of cars than back in his day.

“I don’t know how [drivers] can cope with 22 grands prix,” the 74-year-old Brazilian told Autosport. “It’s too much – 23 next year, that’s crazy.

“Not just for the drivers, for the mechanics, for the whole team. Formula 1 now is very tough because of the commitment you need to have.

“If you think about during the season how many days they are at home and how many days they are traveling…it’s a lot.

“In our time, we had 14, 15 grands prix but we had a lot of testing between races. Now there’s not much testing but they go to the simulator, they have physical training.

“There are commitments between grands prix relating to the races as well today, so it’s difficult nowadays.”

Fittipaldi also concurs with the widely-held belief that Formula 1 is striving to become much bigger in the United States, which has led to a second race, the Miami Grand Prix, being added to next year’s calendar and the potential for a third in the future, probably in Las Vegas.

 

“The Miami Grand Prix is confirmed for the beginning of May next year and they are trying to do a third grand prix in America – I think they want to make the large American public know about Formula 1,” said Fittipaldi, who won his two Drivers’ titles for Lotus and McLaren.

“I think [with] the interference of social media and the access from Netflix we are getting a young generation of fans in America that were not hooked to Formula 1.

“Now they want to watch Formula 1, teenagers or even younger. And I think that’s the future of Formula 1, to have big, increasing numbers in America.”

 

Planet F1 verdict