The 2021 Formula 1 calendar is out, but are 23 races sustainable?

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Drivers going into Turn 1 at the start of the 2020 Eifel GP (Wolfgang Rattay / Getty Images)
Drivers going into Turn 1 at the start of the 2020 Eifel GP (Wolfgang Rattay / Getty Images)
Wolfgang Rattay

• Formula 1 will have a record 23 races on its 2021 calendar.

• Too many races will pose a raft of challenges to teams and drivers.

• Despite F1 drivers being among the fittest athletes, the calendar could impact them negatively.

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For the last few years, Formula 1 has gotten used to a racing calendar consisting of between 19 and 21 races. Naturally, it posed several challenges to teams and drivers, most commonly staying sharp at the last race of the season as had been the case in the first case.

It forced some of the teams to speak out and raise their concerns about a stacked calendar, putting their hands up and asking that the sport be aware of adding too many races.

In 2021, however, F1 will have a record 23 races on its calendar - a first time for the pinnacle of motorsport. While this is exciting for some, it brings about its own set of challenges.

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2020 Mercedes-AMG F1 car (Jenifer Lorenzini / Getty Images)

It's going to be tough

F1 travels all over the globe, contending with different time zones and jetlag. Sure, teams and drivers are probably used to it by now, but it still takes its toll on the human body. In 2020, for instance, in a heavily adjusted calendar, the sport saw a trio of races held in consecutive weekends. This happened three times, with only a weekend-break for teams to take a breather.

In essence, nine races in 12 weeks with every race running from Friday to Sunday, including the late-night meetings and fine-tuning of the racecars. The 2020 calendar eased up as the season progressed, but this could not have been easy on anyone involved with the sport.

Next year's calendar, with its record 23 races, will see many races happen in a sequence of two consecutive Grand Prix followed by an 'off-weekend'. In the second half of the season, the first six races (Belgium, Netherlands, Italy, Russia, Singapore, Japan) will take place in consecutive weekends, with an off-weekend on 17 - 19 September 2021.

While fans of the sport will rejoice at the extended calendar, the cramped schedule will take its toll on teams and drivers, regardless if F1 drivers are among the fittest sportsmen on the planet.

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