Nine races in 11 weeks is the limit for F1 teams, warns Verstappen

Max Verstappen thinks Formula 1's current stretch of nine races in 11 weekends is "the limit" and hopes to return to a more regular schedule in 2021

Nine races in 11 weeks is the limit for F1 teams, warns Verstappen

Following the coronavirus pandemic which effectively called off the first half of the planned 2020 race calendar, F1 bosses have produced a heavily revised schedule, and in a bid to bulk out the calendar have put together a series of triple-headers to start the season.

The season finally got underway in early July with consecutive races in Austria followed by another in Hungary to form the opening trio of rounds.

After a weekend off, the teams embarked on another stretch of three consecutive races, two at Silverstone and one at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, with another triple-header coming up from next weekend covering Spa-Francorchamps, Monza and Mugello, in order to get as many races in as possible.

The teams all understand the commercial and contractual needs to salvage a season of at least 15 races, while a planned calendar extension is set to be announced which will include a return to Turkey plus two races in Bahrain and one in Abu Dhabi to complete a 17-race season.

Last month, McLaren team principal Andreas Seidl said the concept of a triple-header "cannot be the new standard going forward" because of the strains it puts on race teams.

Red Bull driver Verstappen acknowledged F1 "needs to get the races in" but agreed that three triple-headers are "a bit too much".

"I think for the moment, it's fine. We had a long break before," Verstappen said at last weekend's Spanish Grand Prix.

"I don't see this happening - well hopefully - next year where you keep doing triple-headers. I think that's a bit too much.

"If you can make sure it's like two weekends in a row, I think that's okay. Having a break in between is fine.

"Of course we have to accept it at the moment. We need to get the races in, so we just try to do the best we can.

"I think we have three triple-headers in a row, so that's pretty much the limit I think."

Williams driver George Russell says he actually enjoys the grind of constantly being on the road and said this season reminds him of his time in karting.

"It does," Russell commented. "I'd go away with my mother and father every single weekend on a Friday night to circuits up and down the country, and it's reminiscent of those days. So the memories are flooding back.

"I think for me, I've been really enjoying it. It allows you just to get in a groove and we're doing what we love.

"And this is incredible, getting to race around the best tracks in the world."

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Russell is more concerned for the wellbeing of the teams, which will head off to Belgium next week, immediately followed by two weekends in Monza and Mugello having recently completed two triple-headers.

"I do feel for the teams - they are feeling it," Russell added. "Even after the back of two British GPs, where they stayed in their own beds on Sunday night.

"It's going to be really tough on those guys where you've got a triple-header away from home, flying between all of the races.

"I'm loving it, but this is a team sport and I'm thinking of the guys and girls who are working daily at the moment."

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