Daniel Ricciardo is open to Formula 1 taking a leaf out of NASCAR’s book and fitting more races into a season in order to spend more time behind the wheel of his car.
2016 was the longest season in F1 history, featuring 21 races, but the sport’s new owner, Liberty Media, is thought to be considering an expansion to as many as 25 events per year.
NASCAR enjoys a more intense schedule that F1, fitting 36 rounds into a season that lasts from February to November and features very few rest weeks.
When asked if F1 should expand to have more races, Ricciardo was receptive of the idea, believing that the logistical challenge would be the biggest task for teams to grapple with.
“I think it depends on how they structure it. It’s not too many,” Ricciardo said of a potential 25-race calendar.
“NASCAR do 36 or something. It’s a lot but the travel’s a lot less because they’re just in the U.S. So, I think it depends logistically how they do it.
“I like racing. If it means just racing and no testing and less other stuff then… maybe. We spend more days in front of cameras and other things than actually behind the wheel of a racing car.
“I’d be open to the idea.”
Three-time world champion Lewis Hamilton echoed Ricciardo’s thoughts, but wants the weekend format to be shaken up to offer drivers some variety.
“I think if you asked any member of my team whether they’d want to do more races or less, they’d ask for more,” Hamilton said.
“It is definitely tough on the guys that are traveling but they love it. They’re addicted to it. They love motor racing. I’m like Daniel, I love racing.
“So I’m not opposed to more races but I think they’ve got to change the structure, at least on different weekends. If it’s the same four days for 25 races, I think that would be too much.
“If they spice it up and make a period during the season that’s perhaps more exciting than another, I think there’s a lot they can do.”
Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel urged caution, though, believing that F1 has already hit its limit with a 20-race schedule for 2017.
“I think 25 is too many. I think 20 is enough, we don’t need more,” Vettel said.
“I think anything between 16 and 20 is the right number. Also, thinking of the efforts going in from the team point of view.
“For us it’s fairly easy, arriving more or less with hand luggage, doing the job and getting back. I think we’re on the better side. For a lot of the team, for the staff, it’s hard work.
“So, I think we are having enough races.”