Mercedes F1 team eyes second-shift system for 21 grand prix year

mercedes f1 team

Mercedes is contemplating a second-shift system for its travelling Formula 1 staff ahead of a record-breaking 21-race calendar in 2016.

Its motorsport boss Toto Wolff has expressed concerns at the fatigue likely to be endured by his personnel as F1 stretches the limits of endurance.

Wolff can understand F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone’s desire to increase the number of grands prix per year, but he also feels those who put in the hours, such as the engineers and mechanics, need to be taken into consideration.

“There are pros and cons with more races,” Wolff told Autosport.

“From the perspective of the commercial rights holder I understand more races brings more income, provides more coverage, bigger audiences, so that’s a plus.

“In terms of making the spectacle exclusive, that’s maybe a minus.

“From the team’s perspective we have to take it like it is because Bernie draws up the calendar, and the income of the teams has been growing over past years, and this is certainly the most important thing.

“We just need to be careful with the organisation because with 19 races we’ve seen the mental and physical limits of the team.

“So we are looking at various concepts as to how we can survive for 21 races because I’m not sure we can cope with 21 in the current [team] structure.

“So we’re looking at how we can optimise on travelling, on the jetlag, on rest, maybe having a second shift for the guys who work very hard.

“All that is being taken into consideration.”

Wolff recognises a second-shift system would not work for every member of the team as some need to attend every race.

“There are many people you can’t really exchange because they are the best ones,” he added.

“There is a particularly hard time towards the end of the year with all those long-haul races, and this becomes very hard.

“I just want to protect the team, protect the individuals, and we need to see what we can do in order to make it most effective, but also workable.”


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