The late addition of certain new venues to the Formula 1 calendar is a challenge that the sport should continue to give teams in future but triple-headers should be avoided, according to McLaren team principal Andreas Seidl.
Mugello was the first venue F1 visited at in 2020 that was not on the original season schedule, which underwent a major overhaul as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The event in Italy was widely praised by teams and drivers, and despite not having much in the way of simulation and track data to use in preparations, Seidl believes it provides an added competitive challenge.
“I wouldn’t say it needs to be avoided, it is an additional challenge, it’s the same for each team, and it’s a challenge we also like,” Seidl said. “In the end you prepare with your simulations and your simulator in the best possible way. I think that’s definitely not something we should avoid in the future.
“It’s good we also have more tracks we run for the first time. Imola will be an interesting challenge with a two-day format; it can also contribute to mixing up the grid a lot, especially in the midfield, where it is so tight between the teams.”
Given the second coronavirus wave that is affecting parts of Europe at present, 2021 could bring another season that features restrictions, and Seidl is comfortable with different schedules as long as triple-headers are avoided as much as possible.
“It’s very important that we all say a big thank you to everyone who was involved from the team’s side in this, probably the most intense schedule we ever had with nine races in 11 weeks,” he said. “It was very demanding and was definitely wearing out our people. So I’m really happy and thankful for how everyone in the team was pushing through this period.
“Together with the people from home and the factory, they had to go flat-out in order to ensure you always had the logistics in place and the parts in place to do the races and in parallel, go flat-out in terms of the development of the car.
“It is good that at least for some weeks we go back to a ‘more normal’ racing schedule. Hopefully it makes it more sustainable for our guys. I think it’s very important that we are all fully clear, together with Formula 1 also, that what we do this year is acceptable because everyone understands we are under special circumstances but that can’t be the way forward to have triple-headers as the standard.”