Hakkinen: F1 teams facing ‘tough task’ in 24-race season


Mika Häkkinen has voiced his concerns over Formula 1’s grueling and unprecedented 24-race campaign in 2024 that he fears will challenge the teams’ endurance and well-being.

The decision to expand the calendar reflects Formula 1's pursuit of global growth and fan engagement, aiming to cater to a wider audience across multiple continents.

While this strategy has undoubtedly brought the sport greater visibility and commercial success, it comes at a potential cost to the well-being of those who make Formula 1 possible.

Häkkinen's concerns echo those of many within the paddock, who have expressed apprehension about the logistical challenges and physical strain of such an extensive schedule.

The constant travel and double or triple-header weekends, coupled with the high-pressure environment of Formula 1, could exacerbate existing fatigue, affecting not only driver performance but also team morale and overall race quality.

“The 2023 season was record-breakingly long,” commented Häkkinen on the Unibet International YouTube channel.

“Compared to my years in F1 – I think we had a maximum of 17 races – [there were] 22 races.

“I attended some of them [and] you could see in people’s faces how tough the end of the season was.

“Ultimately, 22 races as a number is not that high. The problem is constantly having back-to-back races.

“The transitions from A to B are hard. Once again, you have to find the racing attitude and focus.

“I think that’s the biggest challenge for many – not necessarily only the drivers, but the mechanics and the organisation. That was probably the biggest challenge.

“Going forward, there are even more races. It’s going to be a tough task.

“Maybe the world calls for it. The fans call for it. They want more races. More racing. The task of F1 is to deliver and fill the calendar.”

While expanding the reach of the sport is commendable, it should not come at the expense of the physical and mental health of those who make the magic of Formula 1 happen.

Häkkinen raced in F1 for over a decade, from 1991 to 2001, but the two-time world champion’s schedule never maxed out beyond 17 races.

The 55-year-old Finn admits that if he were racing today in F1, he would negotiate a retainer and provisions that would take into consideration the length as well as the circumstances of his season.

“If I still drove in F1 and saw the number of races, I would have stern negotiations with the team about the compensation,” he noted.

“And not only about that, but how it can be ensured that people’s endurance is at a required level to make sure that everyone can still work without errors.

“We’re talking about a sport with super high speeds. You don’t want to make mistakes.”

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