As soon as we have seen the 2016 F1 Calendar that was decided during the last FIA World Council, we have noticed an extraordinary coincidence. The Azerbaijan Grand Prix in Baku and the 24H of Le Mans, the most important event of Endurance, take place in the same week-end (19th June).
In the last few years the World Endurance Championship, that includes the French marathon, has had a great increase of audience, also among the drivers of the Circus. After saying goodbye to Red Bull and F1, Mark Webber joined WEC, side LMP1, under Porsche colors and Nico Hulkenberg reached him this year, precisely on the occasion of the 24H.The German coming from Force India not only took part in it, he also got the victory and increased his prestige in and out the circuit. After his F1 debut at the wheel of Williams in 2010, Nico has never had the occasion to attract attention with a Top team car. Hulkenberg won’t have the opportunity to defend his victory. With such a calendar, to combine all these scheduled events won’t surely be an easy task.
And if Mr. E., as a good conductor, wanted to trick his drivers preventing them to run in other races with such a demanding calendar?Jenson Button instilled this doubt in an interview given to Auto Express. “Each driver thinks about Le Mans. It is a great team work and win it is a great result. I like what Bernie did. He has just clarified that F1 drivers can’t drive cars which not belong to F1. I have a lot of projects for the future, they will have to wait”.
We have consulted Gian Carlo Minardi who at www.minardi.it has commented this way. “Such a long and demanding calendar can easily have some concurrences with other races. In this case thanks to jet lag they won”t even interfere, so I don’t see any problems. Many times we run In Canada in the same week-end of the 24H”.
The manager from Faenza has made no secret of the fact the he doesn’t agree with the idea that a F1 driver undertakes simultaneously in a risky race like Le Mans 24H. “In any case, even if I have the maximum respect for this wonderful event, personally I have never given the no impediment for Le Mans to my drivers.I think that race has to be prepared differently from a F1 Gp. So I have never been willing to take any risks, indeed behind each driver there are substantial investment both from Constructor and sponsors.Hulkenberg is an exception, the majority of the drivers has a contract that doesn’t allow them to run also the 24 Hours”.