Sergio Perez demands F1 changes to sprint weekends amid exhaustion scare

The 2024 Miami GP is a Sprint weekend and follows directly on from the Chinese GP which was also a Sprint event

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Sergio Perez has called for Formula 1 to rethink the relaxing of parc ferme rules at their sprint weekends by declaring that it leaves mechanics and engineers with extra work to do in an already stacked calendar for 2024, fearing the risk of exhaustion.

The Mexican has been one of the biggest advocates for the rights and safety of workers in the sport as Liberty Media, its owner, continues to grow the schedule in order to capitalise on a boom in popularity following Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton’s explosive 2021 title fight.

The expanded calendar has led to many drivers claiming that the work is simply too much to be reasonably possible, not just for themselves but also for the mechanics, engineers and logistics personnel who work essentially around the clock to maximise performances.

For example, logistics personnel have three days in a double-header weekend to pack all of the equipment up, freight it across the globe and then set it back up once again on the Wednesday prior to a race.

Sergio Perez of Red Bull during Sprint Qualifying at the 2024 Chinese Grand Prix | Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool
Sergio Perez of Red Bull during Sprint Qualifying at the 2024 Chinese Grand Prix | Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

The Red Bull ace has reiterated that the stress placed on mechanics with the relaxing of parc ferme rules from 2023 to 2024, allowing teams slightly more time and flexibility to ensure that their set-ups are correct for a race, is placing too much load on them for the good of their own health.

“Opening the parc ferme puts a lot of workloads on the mechanics,” Perez said to media ahead of the 2024 Miami Grand Prix. “And I think it’s something that we really have to look at it.

“It’s a 24 weekends a season and with the sprint races I think it’s a lot of loads on our mechanics. So, I think we look at it to change the format a bit to basically try to look after our people a little bit more as a sport. That’s something really to look at.”

Several drivers have complained about the growing schedule such as Perez, Fernando Alonso and Carlos Sainz, whilst Verstappen has consistently expressed his hatred for the sprint format and has threatened to retire if Liberty Media continues to test the limits of the schedules and the patience of the drivers.

How is a Sprint Race weekend structured?

Since their initial introduction back in 2021, the sport has tinkered around with the idea of Sprint Races in order to attempt to find the best balance between entertainment, flow and competitiveness meaning that the format has been changed in 2022, 2023 and now 2024 in some capacity.

The current trend follows Free Practice 1 and Sprint Qualifying on a Friday. The next day, Saturday, sees the Sprint Race take place before Grand Prix qualifying occurs later on. Then the Sunday is reserved exclusively for the Grand Prix itself.

The drivers generally dislike this order too from what was garnered prior to the race weekend as McLaren’s Oscar Piastri said that it feels strange to go from Sprint Race to then shift the mentality back to qualifying later on.

“I felt a little bit weird having like the Sprint Race, because it’s obviously a race itself,” Piastri said to media at the Miami International Autodrome. “Then preparing again for qualifying. It kind of feels like the race should be the end of the day, I guess.”

Brandon Sutton
Brandon Sutton
Brandon is an alumni of an NCTJ and BJTC Liverpool John Moores University course, and has been with Total-Motorsport.com for over a year now. He enjoys covering all forms of motorsport but particularly focuses on Formula 1, and Brandon loves to debate various topics of the sport and other interests, especially if that topic doesn't have an open/shut answer such as the GOAT debate.
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