Helio Castroneves believes that IndyCar would benefit from a longer, more evenly scheduled calendar as the series prepares to end a six month off-season in St. Petersburg in two weeks.
The IZOD IndyCar Series squeezed 15 races into 26 weeks last year, and will run 19 races over 30 weeks in 2013, including double-headers in Detroit, Toronto and Houston. The schedule also features a streak of seven race weekends in a row between the Indianapolis 500 in late May, and the Toronto double-header in mid-July.
While NASCAR teams are structured to accommodate long strings of successive races, Castroneves said that takes too much of a toll in IndyCar.
"I think [the offseason] is too long for everybody," Castroneves said. "I don't know the financial part of it, but when you have that kind of a long off-break, it's difficult to everyone. All of a sudden you have June, July and August, and a race every weekend.
"It's becoming rushed for everyone, including the mechanics. They have to turn over cars from street course to ovals. I think that's the toughest part of it.
"Sometimes mistakes end up happening because you don't have enough time. So I wish we would have at least started [the season] much earlier.
"I would rather start in February, have a bigger space in some of the areas, especially in the middle of the season, give a break to the mechanics.
"[For the] drivers it's actually not a problem. For the mechanics, it would be great. And coming back with those double-headers in those places that you have a break, that probably would make everybody fresh for those conditions."
The three-time Indy 500 winner is also convinced that a less compressed calendar would ultimately give the series more exposure.
"If you don't want to test [to save money], at least you have those spread-out races," he said. "You would have an opportunity to keep the ball rolling."
2013 IZOD IndyCar Series
March 24 St. Petersburg
April 7 Barber
April 21 Long Beach
May 5 Sao Paulo
May 26 Indianapolis 500
June 1 Detroit
June 2 Detroit
June 8 Texas
June 15 Milwaukee
June 23 Iowa
July 7 Pocono
July 13 Toronto
July 14 Toronto
August 4 Mid-Ohio
August 25 Sonoma
September 1 Baltimore
October 5 Houston
October 6 Houston
October 19 Fontana