22 races a possibility in future: Ecclestone

Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone could have 22 races jostling for a slot next  season but teams have made clear they want the calendar limited to 20.

The current championship has 19 rounds but Austria is returning in 2014 after an 11-year absence while new races in New Jersey and Russia's Black Sea resort of Sochi have also been pencilled in.

Some have question marks over them, however, and Ecclestone told Reuters at the Hungarian Grand Prix that 20 races would be "a good amount".

That said, the 82-year-old added that "everything is possible" and the calendar could go above 20 "if we have to".

Formula One has never had more than 20 rounds - and in the 1950s there were as few as seven - and team principals indicated further expansion could be a step too far at a time when their personnel and resources are already stretched.

"There are locations that may be in doubt and therefore I think having some backups isn't a bad idea," said McLaren's Martin Whitmarsh.

"I don't know whether the calendar will grow to 22. Twenty two would certainly be incredibly tough on the teams...we used to think going beyond 16 was tough and it is."

Much of the recent expansion has been outside of Europe, with the return of Austria a rare exception, and that has put added strain on staff away from home for long periods.

More than 20 races could force teams to hire more people.

"That's a big concern to us - 22 races - because it changes staff levels dramatically, as well as (more) in-season testing," said Marussia principal John Booth, whose team have the smallest budget. "It's okay having new races, but maybe one or two will fall away."

Mercedes principal Ross Brawn agreed the 20 races held last year had been challenging enough.

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