5 Reasons to Scrap the F1 Mid-Term Break
When the Formula One season finally roars back to life in the wonderful Ardennes setting of Spa-Francorchamps, it will have been nearly four long weeks since the sound of Formula One engines were heard in Hungary.
For the Formula One fan, three weeks is an eternity to wait between races, so why do it? Basically, it’s done to give team personnel and drivers time to get back to their families and take a well-deserved break from their hectic schedules. It also saves on operating costs with compulsory shutdowns of all of the F1 factories.
But do they really need such a long time off? Here are five reasons why I think the mid-term break should be scrapped.
3 Weeks Should Be Enough
OK, so many English schools are shut down for close to two months to allow pupils to go on holiday and re-charge their batteries. So two to three weeks for a Formula One team is surely long enough.
During the usual fortnight between races, teams and drivers are still working, revising race data in their respective factories, preparing new parts and conducting simulator runs. With the enforced factory shutdown, teams and drivers are simply on holiday in the middle of the season. After the final race of the year in Brazil, they will have another four months before the start of the new season, and this should be the time when many employees should book time off.
There Could Be Another Race
Many people argue that 19 races is enough for one season, but there is certainly room for one more race on the calendar. Granted, Formula One races are costly events to stage, but they’re also lucrative money-spinners and there is a very real possibility of a 21-race season in 2014 with the addition of races in Sochi (Russia) and New Jersey (U.S.). For the F1 fan, you can never have too many!
There’s No in-Season Testing
Such a long break would be acceptable if teams were actually doing something with it. But under FIA regulations, there is no chance for teams to try out new parts at a test venue such as Barcelona due to cost-cutting measures.
But it seems to be wasted time, and in-season testing will indeed return to F1 in 2014 after teams agreed to hold two-day tests after the British and Spanish Grands Prix and following two out of either Germany, Belgium or Spain. It’s a good idea since it gives teams time to try out new parts, and new drivers and smaller teams can also use the days to raise revenue by charging aspiring drivers for time behind the wheel.
There’s Nothing to Talk About
For the humble Formula One journalist, the midseason break does not mean that work stops. But with no racing, there’s little to fill the back pages with column inches aside from speculating about who’s going where or predicting what might happen in the second half of the season.
And whilst I know you love reading my top 10s and midseason reports, there’s nothing quite like building up to a grand prix weekend or discussing the major talking points of the race just past.
But the single best reason for doing away with the midseason break is because no racing is a dreadfully boring time for the avid petrolhead. If you don’t enjoy watching athletics, football friendlies or Ashes Test cricket, you’re pretty much starved of your staple summer sporting diet. There’s still two weeks to go before Belgium and for me, it can’t come quickly enough!