Max Verstappen has proposed the idea of F1 incorporating a US tour into the calendar to help ease the strain on the drivers and teams as they battle a brutal end to the season.
The F1 2023 campaign closes out with a incredibly tough double-header for the F1 world to negotiate; over 8,000 miles separate Las Vegas and Abu Dhabi with flight times between the two destinations in the region of 20 hours.
If that wasn’t draining enough, there is also a 12-hour time difference for everyone to adjust to in order to be ready to take the final race week of the season.
Max Verstappen suggests a US tour in future
Three-time World Champion Verstappen has been incredibly vocal about the Las Vegas Grand Prix over the past week, becoming a fan of the track and the actual racing but not all the razzmatazz around it.
And another negative to add to Verstappen’s list is the timing of the event, not just race weekend session times in Vegas but how it weaves in with other races on the ever-growing F1 calendar.
“The timing for sure,” Verstappen told reporters in the post-race press conference when asked what changes he would like to see in Las Vegas.
“The other thing for next year maybe that is not possible, but to maybe make it a bit better travelling also to Abu Dhabi, because at the moment it’s such a big time shift that, especially at the end of the season when everyone is already a bit tired, I think it’s a little bit much.
“So maybe it would be ideal to find a different kind of date because I find that maybe we need to do more of an American tour. I know, of course, maybe for ticket sales, I don’t know if that’s ideal.
“So maybe we can find a bit of a solution there. I think the 12 hour time zone shifts and also completely different timings for racing also is… I find that a bit much.”
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Another brutal schedule awaits in 2024
In the very unlikely event of some last-minute changes to the F1 2024 calendar, it appears the same complaints about the schedule are going to be present next year, too, as the plan is for a Vegas-Qatar-Abu Dhabi triple header to finish off the season.
That means another very quick turnaround awaits F1 personnel, who will face yet another very lengthy flight as they trot from one side of the globe to the other.
Verstappen’s team-mate, Sergio Perez, also thinks the calendar needs to change, but his reasoning is much more to do with his own self-interest.
He said: “For me, I think it was a great first event but I would change, like Max says, just to think about that [the calendar logistics] because we have to go now to Abu Dhabi, probably the longest distance that we have to travel in the whole year.
“So yeah, probably look at it and probably make Vegas the final race. That will be also very nice for me; I’m only two hours away from Guadalajara so that would be a nice end!”
Late Las Vegas session times were also on Charles Leclerc’s mind in the post-race conference, but he thinks F1 recovered well after Thursday’s practice fiasco.
“I think mostly that’s the fact that we have been driving so late,” Leclerc stated.
“I can see the point, obviously with the audience in Europe. I don’t know if that’s even the point or why we have been racing so late, but I felt like it was a bit on the limit.
“And also for the temperatures, it was very, very tricky so this is definitely one thing I would like to change for next year.
“On the other hand, as I’ve said, since the beginning of the weekend I’ve really enjoyed it. And I am especially happy to see that we finished this weekend on a high note because it was hurting me to see the sport that I love so much starting from the wrong foot on Thursday.
“But the fact that we had an amazing race, I think, makes it all up and I’m happy with that. So yeah, not much more to change apart from the timing.”