Sainz says F1 need to reconsider their race weekend schedule amidst hectic Las Vegas build up

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Following the launch of the Las Vegas Grand Prix on Thursday, Carlos Sainz discusses the “overpacked” schedules Formula 1 drivers are facing as the sport aims to grow its audience.

Carlos Sainz ahead of the 2023 Las Vegas Grand Prix
Photo: @ScuderiaFerrari on twitter

The Las Vegas Grand Prix launch held on Thursday has already garnered criticism from champion Max Verstappen. With driver schedules packed with media appearances in addition to their usual preparation, the launch added yet another event to their already crowded schedules.

“Our schedules are getting busier and busier every year…”

Speaking during a media session, Ferrari driver Carlos Sainz criticised the volume of events and appearances the drivers are required to take part in during a race weekend. The Spaniard suggests changes to race weekends may be needed as the “weird” timings left him unable to complete a track walk.

“I do believe, looking forward and looking into the future, sure we’re going to need to reconsider, a bit, the way we go racing at the weekends, because our schedules are getting busier and busier every year that goes by.” Sainz said.

“The weekend are almost starting earlier, rather than starting later. We are adding races to the calendar and it’s getting to a point where I think, sometimes, everything feels a bit repetitive and everything feels a bit overpacked and we’re trying maybe to overdo it a bit.”

“We are at the risk of being too repetitive…”

While he shied away from sharing his opinion in detail, Sainz went on to admit that while he believes some of the additional appearances he makes are beneficial to the sport, he sees others as repetitive.

“There are things that I actually think they do a lot for the sport and it’s good to put on a show and to make the sport better.” He said. “Then, on the other hand, there are other things that feel very repetitive and almost they don’t add any more for the weekend.

“We need to reconsider the way we just shape the whole weekend. Because yeah, we are at the risk of being too repetitive and too out there, also. I’ll keep the details obviously to myself and my team and F1, but I think that’s my overall opinion.”

“I’m OK to do extra for these type of events.”

Fellow countryman and Aston Martin driver Fernando Alonso also discussed the packed schedules drivers face in modern day Formula 1. While Alonso agreed that some of the appearances feel repetitive, he admitted adding to the show for a new circuit with such high investment as Las Vegas is deserved.

“I have to say that I think places like this one and with the investment that has been done and the place that we are racing, I think it deserves a little bit different treatment and a little bit of extra show of what we did today.” Alonso commented. “The weekend is going to be I think… I’m OK to do extra for these type of events. But maybe yeah, it could be balanced somehow and reduced maybe, our schedule, somewhere else.”

Alonso went on to admit that discussing the track with the media on Thursday seems pointless as the drivers are yet to actually experience it. He suggests a rearrangement of media appearances may better serve to create interesting content while freeing up time for the drivers.

“I think you are all very curious to see how the track is and what is our feeling tomorrow when we go in the car.” He said. “And you will not get that. You will get, today, a lot of hours and interviews and one-to-ones and TV sessions and TV pen and things like that of something that we don’t know what to answer, because we’ve never run on this track.

“Maybe tomorrow after the free practice we don’t have any time with you guys. And so maybe on Thursday, we can use the time a little bit more wisely and try to help the promoters or whatever in a different way and maybe give you something extra on Fridays after we run.”