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F1

Villeneuve spots F1 challenge: 'That's going to be really brutal'

F1 will take on a record-breaking 24-race schedule this season, with a triple-header to finish. Former World Champion Jacques Villeneuve has had his say...

Jacques Villeneuve
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Former F1 World Champion Jacques Villeneuve has labelled the end-of-season triple-header in Las Vegas, Qatar and Abu Dhabi as "brutal".

Qatar has been moved back in the schedule compared to last season and now splits the Nevada event from the now-traditional finale at Yas Marina, creating a gruelling end to what is set to be a record-breaking 24-race campaign following the return of China and Imola.

Speaking to Planet F1, the 1997 champion said: “That’s gonna be brutal.

“Already, the double-header late in the season, flying back from Vegas – it’s not an easy airport to fly from so getting here… it’s ok for a big team because they can rent a big plane, put all the mechanics in it, and fly.

“It’s really brutal for the media – I think this is the group that is being left behind in all that is happening. The cost of everything is going up, hotels, travelling, these trips have become very, very complicated.

“But, for teams, they find ways to travel. Staff rotations can work but it’s hard on the staff. The timezone is in the wrong direction because you lose time by coming in instead of gaining.

“It makes it very hectic to set everything up, set the teams up, catering, and all that. It takes time and that’s a little bit rough.

“To have three in a row, although Qatar is not far from here, will be very tiring, especially at the end of the year and the season finishing in December. It’s tough for the mechanics as well, not the drivers.”

Drivers workload is down

Despite the challenging calendar, the workloads for drivers now compared to when Villenueve was at the height of his powers is reduced given the banning of in-season testing runs.

Pointing this out, Villeneuve explained: “If you look at the days when there was testing, there were fewer races, but a lot of testing.

“So the amount of mileage and days on the track for the driver was more back then, but you had two teams, a test team, and the race team. So the mechanics actually had time to go back home and so on – it has become brutal on the mechanics.”

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