F1 team bosses call for change to ‘brutal’ Las Vegas GP schedule.

F1 team bosses call for change to ‘brutal’ Las Vegas GP schedule.

The event was scheduled later than at any time in the sport’s history, whether to change local road closures to later in the day or to accommodate television viewers in Europe.

The FP2 and qualifying sessions were scheduled to run from midnight to 1am on Friday and Saturday morning respectively, although the latter actually ended at 4am due to corrective work on the water valve covers. Saturday evening’s racing started at 10 p.m.

The FP2 delay has made things even more difficult for team members who have had to adapt to a time change from Europe at the end of an already stressful season, with Vegas followed by a 12-hour time change before next weekend’s season finale in Abu Dhabi.

Next year, the challenge will be even greater as Las Vegas begins a trilogy that leads to Qatar and Abu Dhabi.

Team bosses acknowledged that although the event was an overall success, the schedule was very difficult for staff.

“If we have to improve, maybe this is the timing,” Ferrari driver Fred Vasseur said when asked by Motorsport.com about what might enhance the event. “It’s not easy to find, if you want to get the timings that work for Asia, Europe, the East Coast and the West Coast.

“In the past, we had no problem because Formula 1 was only for European people, we had to stick to European time, and it was fine.

“It has now become a global project, and it is very difficult to find something that fits the expectations of the 24-hour zone. But we will adjust it.”

Red Bull driver Christian Horner explained how difficult the schedule was for the team members.

“For a start, of course, there will be a lot of lessons to learn,” he said. “One of the things to look at is the running schedule because it has been tough for the team and all the men and women behind the scenes.

“Everyone is leaving Vegas for a little bit! It’s been a tough weekend in one way or another for everyone behind the scenes, and I think we need to look at how we can improve that going forward.”

Charles Leclerc, Ferrari SF-23, George Russell, Mercedes F1 W14

Photography: Simon Galloway/Motorsport Images

Charles Leclerc, Ferrari SF-23, George Russell, Mercedes F1 W14

Even a relatively simple adjustment can make a difference, Horner said.

“I think you can show it earlier in the evening because you’re not going to make all the TV viewers completely happy,” he said.

“This is an American race. If you run it at 8 p.m. or something like that, it will be more comfortable for the men and women working behind the scenes.”

Aston Martin team principal Mike Crack suggested the sport should take some time to evaluate what could work.

“We shouldn’t shoot too quickly now, out of emotion, or out of fatigue,” he said. “I think it’s important to step back.

“The sporting regulations are very strict in terms of timing, they count everything from the race and from different sessions. So you will need to change that.

“But I think it’s possible to combine what the race promotion needs and what the workforce needs. It just needs a little work.”

AlphaTauri CEO Peter Beyer, who has additional insight into street racing logistics having previously worked for the FIA, said his team would support any changes.

“Absolutely, we will support that,” he told Motorsport.com. “I don’t know all the background and reason for doing this.

“But I have a little bit of experience, coming from the FIA, and I know how difficult it is for Formula E in many cities. Street closures have a huge impact on the people who live here.

“We’ll have to review everything, and see how we can improve. I spoke to a couple of our guys, some of them found the rhythm quickly. I had a bad day on the second day, and I thought I’m not. It’s going to work! But then suddenly you’re into it.

“Obviously now we’re going to fly to the other end of the world. It’s going to turn us upside down. But at the same time, it was worth it.”

Additional reporting by Philippe Clérin

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