Sergio Perez believes the Formula 1 calendar has officially reached its “limit”, with drivers and mechanics having fallen ill in the closing stages of the 2023 campaign.
The final five races of the 2023 season took place over six weekends, with a triple-header having been followed by a week off, before Las Vegas and Abu Dhabi completed the year.
F1 devised a truly gruelling schedule, particularly with scheduling the sport’s return to Sin City as a double-header with the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
Adjusting to the time zones was a real problem, as the paddock lived off the Japanese time zone in Las Vegas, before having to adjust to a drastically different time zone in the Middle East.
The time difference between the two cities was a staggering 12 hours, something which resulted in several members of the paddock falling ill.
Perez admits that the final handful of rounds were “super-intense” and that the calendar “is definitely at the limit”.
“I think this last part of the season has been super-intense with the travelling backwards and forwards,” Perez said, as reported by RaceFans.net. “The amount of races is definitely at the limit, not just for the drivers but also for all the mechanics out there.”
Whilst Perez believes the calendar can’t grow any bigger, 2024 will be the sport’s biggest, as China and Imola are returning, meaning 24 races have been scheduled.
The Red Bull driver believes the season must be organised better to ensure that people aren’t becoming sick, with some of the travelling completed last season having been unnecessarily excessive.
Checo’s “main concern” is his mechanics becoming unwell, with George Russell having called for a ban to be introduced on how many races each team member (excluding the drivers) can work at.
“The schedule really has to be more efficient and try to look after everyone in this world a lot more,” Perez said. “My main concern is some of my mechanics, really.”
With the calendar continuing to grow despite calls for it not to, Perez doesn’t want F1 to put on races “for the sake of doing them”.
This is something which the sport was accused of in Las Vegas, as Max Verstappen stated that they’d prioritised the show over the racing itself.
Perez would rather see “quality” events over quantity, to ensure that the championship continues to grow.
“We just have to make sure that we keep delivering and we just don’t make a lot of races for the sake of doing them,” Perez added.
“I think the quality level is still very important to have in the sport to make sure we keep this upward route.”