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today is May 31, 2023

Formula 1 drivers are urging the series to improve the organisation of its calendar to cut down on the amount of travel they do.

George Russell acknowledged their concerns about the growing schedule in a conversation with men’s world number one tennis player Novak Djokovic.

Under the original 2023 F1 calendar teams should have been in Shanghai this weekend for the Chinese Grand Prix, but the race was cancelled due to logistical challenges caused by Covid-19. Russell took the opportunity offered by the gap in the calendar to attend the Monte Carlo Masters tennis tournament, where he met Djokovic.

In a conversation between the pair captured by the ATP Tour and posted on social media, the two athletes discussed the differences between their two sports. Djokovic noted how F1’s calendar demands teams must regularly travel between continents over the course of the year.

After Djokovic asked how long it took for him to get used to the travelling that comes with racing in Formula 1, Russell replied that it “probably takes a week” for him to recover from the journey to Melbourne for the Australian Grand Prix and 10-hour time difference.

“We were meant to go to China next week but we’ve actually got a couple of weeks off,” Russell continued. “Azerbaijan and then the season really kicks off – Miami then Monte Carlo.”

Djokovic can be heard expressing his surprise at the positioning of the various races on the calendar, telling Russell that “they really don’t keep you on the continents.” The Europe-based championship will make three separate trips to North America this year in May, mid-June and again in October.

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“No, no, no,” Russell concurred. “There’s a few conversations about this [the calendar],” Russell replied, “because we’re left, right and centre.”

Feature: Why F1’s 2023 calendar was only a small step towards its “perfect” vision Russell has previously expressed a desire to adjust the F1 calendar to avoid flyway races being held in isolation. Speaking during the Australian Grand Prix weekend, Russell also said that drivers were engaging in dialogue with Formula 1 and CEO Stefano Domenicali about the calendar.

“I think collectively, we have a really strong input,” Russell said in Melbourne. “I think Stefano’s incredibly open to hear our views and have conversations.

“There’s obviously been a lot of talk about how sustainable the calendar is, jumping from the Middle East to America and back to Europe. And I think in years to come that will be improved.

“Definitely I think Australia needs to be back-to-back with a Middle Eastern race, because I think almost all of us flew out here on a Saturday or Sunday last week. All of the mechanics, the engineers likewise so you’re already losing those additional three or four days. So it makes sense to be back-to-back with a Middle Eastern race.”

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