Drivers unfazed by longer F1 calendar in 2016

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The move to increase the number of races on the Formula 1 calendar from 19 to 21 for 2016 has been backed by some of the sport’s drivers.

Earlier this month, the World Motor Sport Council revealed the calendar for next season, approving the return of the German Grand Prix at Hockenheim and the addition of the European Grand Prix in Baku, Azerbaijan.

The 21 planned races for 2016 would become a new record, breaking the current total of 20 from 2012. However, it would not be the longest F1 season in history thanks to the proposed condensed April-to-November calendar.

The prospect of a longer calendar is set to place more pressure on those within F1, but when asked about the issues adapting to more races, the drivers seemed open to it.

“We already have 19 now, so two more doesn’t really change a lot, I think,” Force India’s Sergio Perez said.

“I think it’s fine, it’s a job, you know,” Perez’s teammate, Nico Hukenberg, added. “We’ll do as many as they tell us.”

For Roberto Merhi, a 21 race season would be something of a reduction, given that he is currently combining his F1 commitments with the Formula Renault 3.5 series, an 18-race season.

“Yeah, obviously I’m doing 19 F1 races plus nine World Series races and so to do only 21 races next year will be less races than this year,” Merhi said.

However, the addition of more races would have a toll on the drivers’ home lives and time away from the track.

“Racing is more time away, for sure,” Sauber’s Felipe Nasr said. “All of us, all of us drivers but every one here, I’m sure they have other parts – apart from Formula 1 – everyone has a life behind that.

“But in a way I’m young, so I’m fully open to as many races as they can do and let’s go for it.”

For the drivers married with kids, such as Romain Grosjean, it is a little less appealing though.

“I think the limit would be the divorce!” he wryly responded when asked what the most number of races could be.

The 2016 F1 season is set to kick off on April 3 in Melbourne, Australia.

Beta Motorcycles joins SuperMotocross in 2024, Benny Bloss named first factory rider

Beta Motorcycles 2024 Bloss
Beta Motorcycles

Benny Bloss will race for the factory Beta Motorcycles team in 2024 as that manufacturer joins SuperMotocross as the ninth brand to compete in the series. Beta Motorcycles will make their debut in the Monster Energy Supercross opener at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, California in January.

Benny Bloss finished among the top 10 twice in Pro Motocross, in 2016 and 2018. – Beta Motorcycles

“The wait is over and we can finally share everything we have been working towards,” said Carlen Gardner, Race Team Manager in a press release. “It has been a great experience being a part of this development and seeing the progression. The only missing part was finding a rider that would mesh well with our Beta Family.

“After a one phone call with Benny, we knew it would be a good fit for him, and for us. We are happy to have him on board for the next two years and can’t wait to see everyone at Anaheim in January.”

Bloss debuted in the 450 class in 2015 with a 15th-place finish overall at Ironman Raceway in Crawfordsville, Indiana.

Bloss has a pair of top-10 rankings in the division with a sixth-place finish in the Pro Motocross Championship in 2016 and a seventh in 2018. His best Supercross season ended 15th in the standings in 2018.

“I’m extremely excited to join the Beta Factory Racing team,” Bloss said. “It’s cool to see a brand with such a rich history in off-road racing to come into the US Supercross and Motocross space. I know this team will be capable of great things as we build and go racing in 2024.”

Bloss is currently 22nd in the SuperMotocross rankings and has not raced in the first two rounds of the Motocross season.

Testing for Beta Motorcycles is scheduled to begin in August and the team expects to announce a second rider at that time.

The family-owned brand adds to the international flare of the sport. The company was founded in Florence, Italy in 1905 as Società Giuseppe Bianchi as they built handmade bicycles, The transition to motorcycle production in the late 1940s.

Beta Motorcycles competed and won in motocross competition in the late 1970s and early 1980s with Jim Pomeroy and other riders.

Beta will join Triumph Motorcycles as a second historic brand to join the sport in 2024. First established in 1902, Triumph has won in nearly every division they have competed in, dating back to their first victory in the 1908 Isle of Man TT. Triumph will debut in the 250 class in 2024 and plans to expand into 450s in 2025.