Oscar Piastri urges caution and ‘sensibility’ over expanding F1 calendar

Thomas Maher
McLaren's Oscar Piastri at the British Grand Prix. Silverstone, July 2023.

McLaren's Oscar Piastri at the British Grand Prix. Silverstone, July 2023.

Oscar Piastri is worried about the impact of the ever-expanding F1 calendar upon those with families working with the teams.

Formula 1 recently confirmed a 24-race calendar for the 2024 season, another attempt at a record-breaking amount of races during a season after the cancellations of China and Emilia Romagna reduced the figure for 2023 down to 22 races.

With the current Concorde Agreement set at a maximum of 25 races, and the likelihood of increasing that figure further when the new Agreement is negotiated for 2026, the amount of race weekends has become a hot topic in recent years as Liberty Media have slowly inflated the numbers.

Oscar Piastri: F1 needs to be sensible about expanding calendar

McLaren rookie Oscar Piastri may have only just got his foot in the door of the sport after taking up a race seat alongside Lando Norris at Woking, but the Australian isn’t swayed by the novelty of it to the point where he wants relentless race weekends.

Speaking to media, including PlanetF1.com, over the British Grand Prix weekend, Piastri said the calendar is almost at breaking point with the current 24-race figure.

“It’s definitely a tough calendar,” he said.

“We, as a sport, need to be sensible. In the future, of course, it’s great to have… I’m enjoying going racing as much as I can.

“But you know, there are thousands of people that do this as a job and are already spending a lot of time away from their families, which will be more again.

“I think just, in the future, we need to be sensible with not expanding the calendar too much further.

“I think 24 races already is… we’re getting close to nearly one every second weekend on average. Some of the triple-headers next year are challenging, especially Vegas, Qatar, and Abu Dhabi.

“But we just need to be sensible. I think all the teams are finding ways to manage people sustainably.

“But, with the cost cap and everything like that, it’s tricky to rotate people in and out. We just need to be sensible as a sport. I think it’s great to be going to these new places and showcasing the sport better, but I think we need to be careful not to overdo it, too.”

PlanetF1.com recommends

F1 records: Top 10 longest team podium streaks in Formula 1 history

Motorsport Triple Crown explained: Its prestigious races, history and only winner

Oscar Piastri: It’s tricky for those with families

Aside from the in-season travel and hectic scheduling, Piastri said the shrinking of the off-season period around Christmas will likely have an effect on those within the teams who like to spend some uninterrupted time at home.

Due to the driver’s own duties, he said the late F1 season ending in December 2024 before things pick up again in January won’t have much effect on his own life.

“I’m not actually sure how much that changes, to be honest,” he said.

“With some of the awards ceremonies, and stuff that go on, we end up staying for a couple of weeks anyway. It might just mean that, in my case, I want to go back to Australia in that time, it might mean that I offset it a bit more.

“So it obviously means a bit less time off for everyone else, which I think is probably the bigger concern. For me, I knew what I was signing up for when I started racing, and I’ve been away from home for eight years already.

“So for me, it doesn’t change too much. I think for people that have families – you know, ask me again in 10 years, I might have a very different opinion! For all the other people in the team that have families and stuff like that, it becomes very tricky.

Attempts at alleviating the travel stresses by scheduling in long breaks, such as a full three weekends off between Singapore and Austin, before a free two weekends between Brazil and the final triple-header, haven’t fully convinced Piastri either.

“I think having those breaks in the season will probably be nice at those points,” he said.

“But, at the same time, we’re starting earlier and finishing later. So the time over Christmas is probably a bit shorter. It’s just taking it from one place and putting it in another. Going into some of the triple-headers and especially the flyaways, having two weekends off or three weekends off instead of just one, will be a nice welcome for most people.

“I don’t think we really want to get to a stage where we’re having preseason testing at the end of January, and still finishing a week before Christmas, even if we’ve got gaps in between all the races.

“I think we just need to be careful in the future with how we manage the calendar.”

Read Next: Guenther Steiner has warning for F1 after 24-race calendar announced