Mercedes demand staff ban

Mercedes have admitted that they are pushing for a staff ban following the 2023 Formula 1 season.

Mercedes technical director James Allison has revealed that talks have started in regard to a cap being introduced on how many events Formula 1 personnel can attend, amid the increasing travel demands.

The 2023 F1 season was a brutal affair for all involved, with many in the paddock having fallen ill in the closing rounds.

Given that a doubleheader in Las Vegas and Abu Dhabi completed the campaign, personnel becoming unwell shouldn’t come as a shock, as the time difference between the two hotspots is 12 hours.

Even some of the drivers complained of how tired they felt, despite them having the luxury of flying either by private jet or in first class.

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Team personnel don’t get this luxury, with it being massively important for their mental and physical wellbeing to be protected.

This is more important now than ever before, as the 2024 F1 season will consist of a record-breaking 24 races.

George Russell has already stressed that team and F1 personnel – excluding drivers – shouldn’t be travelling to every single Grand Prix, amid the struggles with constantly adjusting to different time zones and climates.

One problem with swapping personnel throughout the season is that it’ll result in more money being spent by each team, impacting the budget cap.

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To figure out a way around this to protect staff, Allison has confirmed that talks are underway to protect staff and reduce how much time they spend travelling per year.

“When you consider there is also winter testing to be done, if you’re one of the travelling folk, then that is more than half the year spent on the road, and in a mode of working that is quite tiring, and quite demanding,” Allison said, as per Motorsport Week.

“All the people back in the factory who give live support to that as well are having to take that burden on their shoulders.”

One idea Allison has had to tackle the issue is by capping all personnel – except drivers – to 20 races maximum a year.

This cap would include race engineers and team principals and would leave each team to devise strategies on how to deal with certain personnel not being available at particular events.

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“Let’s say in a 24-race season, it would mean that no individual – other than the drivers – would be allowed to do all 24 races, a cap imposed, maybe at 20 races, let’s say, just plucking a number from the air,” Allison explained.

“It would mean that everyone previously going to have to do the full slog would only be able to do 20 of them, and the teams would have to find it in themselves to put alternative methods of coping with the absence of each member of that travelling community four times per year.

“That will be an interesting set of gymnastics to cope with.”