Sergio Perez speaks out against ‘brutal’ record schedule, suggests ideal F1 calendar

Thomas Maher
Sergio Perez at the launch of the Red Bull RB20 in Milton Keynes.

Sergio Perez believes 24 races is making for a "brutal" F1 calendar.

Sergio Perez believes that the upcoming 24-race calendar is “too many races” and the sport should be focusing on quality, not quantity.

The 2024 F1 calendar is scheduled to run with 24 Grands Prix dotted around the world over the next nine and a half months, a repeat of 2023’s record-breaking 24-race calendar (which ended up being 22 races due to the cancellation of Imola and China).

With energy levels dropping at the end of the 2023 season as team members, mechanics, and drivers all began to struggle with illness and exhaustion, the prospect of an additional two races coming up this year has led to the key question of how many races are too many.

Sergio Perez: 2024 is going to be a brutal calendar

Speaking at the launch of Red Bull’s RB20 in Milton Keynes on Thursday, Sergio Perez was asked about whether he feels the calendar – which could even be increased beyond 25 races when the new Concorde Agreement is signed off on for 2026 and beyond – has reached bursting point.

“It’s too many. We know that it’s too many races,” he told media, including PlanetF1.com.

The increased calendar has seen teams having to take on rotational shifts of staff, trying to reduce the traveling schedule for some members of staff where possible. However, with so many vital crew necessary for racing, the physical and mental demands on staff are punishing – even for the drivers who can fly in later and leave earlier than most of the rest of the team.

“It’s gonna be a brutal calendar for all of us involved in the sport,” Perez said.

“That’s why it’s important that we are able to manage our energy levels as best as possible.”

As for what he believes the ideal season length is, Perez echoed the thoughts of former F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone in saying a nice, round figure would be ideal.

“I think 20 races would be great, with keeping up the quality instead of quantity,” he said.

“But that’s not for me to decide. [All in Mexico], that’d be great!” he joked.

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The on-track action begins this coming week, with three days of pre-season testing in Bahrain. Compared to the eight days of pre-season testing that was the norm until half a decade ago, it’s led to different opinions on whether it’s enough to be truly ready for racing.

Last week, Fernando Alonso suggested testing days should be increased to four to allow for an equal split of days between a team’s two race drivers – and perhaps using two cars for the test, given both cars will be at the circuit for the following week’s season opener at the same circuit.

But Perez poured cold water on that suggestion, saying the calendar is long enough without adding in further testing days.

“There’s no time!” he said.

“We have 24 races, so I think the calendar is already brutal. There’s no time for testing.”

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