Max Verstappen leads calls against ‘unsustainable’ F1 calendar complaint

Oliver Harden
Max Verstappen sitting in the cockpit of the Red Bull RB19.

Max Verstappen sits in the Red Bull cockpit.

Max Verstappen believes the Las Vegas-Abu Dhabi double header to conclude the F1 2023 season is “not very sustainable” due to the strain it puts on people in the paddock.

Just four days after a 10pm race start time in Las Vegas, the F1 circus is in Abu Dhabi preparing for the final round of the 2023 campaign.

Three-time World Champion Verstappen has been a vocal critic of F1’s expanding calendar, with next year’s schedule set to finish with a triple header made up of Vegas, Qatar and Abu Dhabi.

Max Verstappen calls for change to F1’s end-of-season schedule

Additional reporting by Thomas Maher

Speaking to the media including’s Thomas Maher at Yas Marina, Verstappen called for F1 to come up with a better solution going forward.

He said: “It’s a bit tough to understand what time zone you’re in. I think what does help here, of course, is that it’s all a bit later.

“You try to have a good night’s sleep and stuff, but 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, basically, before getting here and especially when you’re talking about sustainability, it’s probably not very sustainable, not only for the emissions but also for the human body.

“Of course, eventually, we always deal with it but I don’t think it’s great. So 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 year because it’s already a lot of races, a lot of travelling at the end [of the season] after the summer break basically.

“So I think we can do a little bit of a better job with placing the grands prix, I guess, but already for next year I think they are doing that at the start of the year so that will help already.

“I don’t mind having a triple-header when it’s the Middle East. It’s just the flight time 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 and best for everyone.”

Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc, who finished second to Verstappen last weekend, admitted to feeling fine after his own long-haul flight – but conceded the consensus in the paddock is that change is needed. recommends

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He said: “I loved Vegas actually. I really enjoyed the track much more than I initially thought I would and the race was also really entertaining, so that was a good thing.

“Jetlag-wise, I didn’t struggle at all which normally I do in some races, but this time I think it’s so different and with the 16 hours of flight, I arrived here, I was so tired that I slept like a baby the first night. And since then I am feeling good. So jet lag hasn’t been a problem.

“But obviously then speaking around in the paddock – and especially with the mechanics and engineers – everyone seems to be really, really tired and really struggling with it, which next year I think will be even more difficult because we’ll have three races in a row.

“After that, I believe that we might rethink a little bit the way we organise this last part of the season.”

Alfa Romeo driver Valtteri Bottas added: “It is far away and you can see it from the people’s faces, energy levels, there’s more sicknesses, stuff like that.

“I’m sure there’s room to improve the schedules and I think there’s some steps taken next year already with the calendar but still, it’s tough sometimes.”

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