Nov.21 - As the dust settles after F1's new Las Vegas centrepiece, plenty of discontent is brewing over the burden being placed on the human beings who make up the travelling circus.

Several photos, for instance, have emerged depicting the driving stars of the sport yawning their way through the race weekend - due to the timing schedule that resolved around a Las Vegas boxing match-style 10pm Saturday race time.

But the manhole cover delay on Thursday meant that drivers were still revving down the 'Strip' at an ungodly 4am - mere days before a wholesale timezone leap to Abu Dhabi for the season finale this weekend.

"It was definitely doubtful," admitted AlphaTauri driver Daniel Ricciardo when asked about the timing schedule.

"If it's an option, they should move the whole thing forward for everyone's health and safety. It would be better for everything - including giving everyone a bit more juice in their tanks.

"It did feel like we were all a little delirious," the Australian admitted.

One of Ricciardo's bosses, Red Bull advisor Dr Helmut Marko, sides with the concerns.

"Many of our people fly to Abu Dhabi via Europe. Or to Dubai? No, it's Abu Dhabi. I'm already confused," he laughed to Servus TV.

Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff said he was flying back to Europe immediately after the Las Vegas chequered flag to be home with his wife and child for a day before making it to Abu Dhabi in time for Thursday's proceedings.

"I think all of our minds are on the moon somewhere," he smiled.

F1's race calendar has swollen to 23 grands prix this year and 24 in 2024 - with the end of the season particularly cluttered with double and triple-header race weekends taking place over long distances and vastly different time zones.

"There is a 12-hour time difference in Abu Dhabi, and you have to get rid of the jet lag and be completely sharp again," Marko said.

He says that's actually the reason why Red Bull decided to schedule for both Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez to give up their cockpits to rookie drivers in initial practice in Abu Dhabi - for a well-timed rest.

"We were aware of the timezone issue so that's why we're doing it with both cars on Friday," said the Austrian.

"One is Isack Hadjar, and the other is the Formula E champion," Marko added, apparently forgetting Jake Dennis' name.

"He is not a junior driver, but he spends most of his time in our simulator. Now he gets a better feeling between the simulator and reality.

"The regular drivers will therefore lose some practice time, but we thought it was the best approach."

As for the hectic calendar and the Las Vegas-Abu Dhabi timezone clash right at the end of a long season, former F1 driver Christijan Albers thinks the FIA needs to up its game.

"The big problem is that the FIA is not growing with the organisation," he told De Telegraaf.

"Money should be going into getting better people, and they're missing that at the moment. I really think they have really failed in the last few years on that."

Verstappen was in a conspicuously foul and critical mood over the Las Vegas GP over a range of gripes, but Grand Prix Drivers' Association director George Russell thinks the "biggest challenge" by far was the timing schedule.

"As far as the jet lag is concerned, it was the toughest race of the season," said the Mercedes driver. "And now there's Abu Dhabi. There are 4,000 people who now need to make that trip."

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7 F1 Fan comments on “F1 Stars Battle Exhaustion During Very Demanding F1 Season Finale

  1. Susan

    Racing to accomodate tv viewing in Europe is not a good enough reason. They didn’t change for COTA or Miami. Here in the states, most people record races that are in other parts of the world. Europeans don’t have that option? Liberty is treating drivers and pit crews members like trained seals. PETA would have put a stop to it if there had been seals. Freezing temps and racing in middle the night, ridiculous. Good race, though!

    • Jere Jyrälä

      Although COTA's timings in Europe are already decent enough, although Miami GP should be at least half an hour earlier to start on the hour like all other events, if not even 14:00 like the other daylight North American events, among which Montreal shares time zones with Miami, meaning that not starting the Miami GP at the same time as the Canadian GP doesn't really have a justification, & even less so not starting at 15:00.

  2. ReallyOldRacer

    Most every fan in the world has dvr access. Use it. More important is exposing the drivers and teams to a LeMans type surrealism. FP2 had a distinct Daytona 24 feeling, especially with no fans in the stands. The LV schedule was mostly to limit business disruption. Ask the locals how that worked out. Crappy schedule.....period.

      • ReallyOldRacer

        Shrop' they can't possibly be that stupid. I get the allure of running at night for the neon effect, but that's 7-8:00 PM this time of year. We'll see. Maffei hasn't called for my opinion.

        Time for Abu Dhabi. My take is a RB romp. IMO, it would be nice to see a PER win just to put a period on the season.


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