Jolyon Palmer, Lotus, Silverstone, 2015

F1 considering extra Saturday races

F1 Fanatic Round-up

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Jolyon Palmer, Lotus, Silverstone, 2015In the round-up: Sprint races, third driver races and ‘wild card’ tyre choices are among the potential F1 format changes under consideration.


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F1 may decide grid with sprint race (The Telegraph)

"Another suggestion is for junior drivers to take part in a sprint race on Saturday, with the highest finishers gaining a place on the Sunday grand prix."

Pirelli has ‘wild card’ tyre plan for 2016 (Motorsport)

"The intention is that at selected races teams will have a free choice of compounds, while at tracks where there is a question mark over safety – such as Monza – Pirelli will dictate the choice."

Lewis Hamilton: ‘I don’t like to think I’m in my golden years in F1’ (The Guardian)

"A lot of fans say, like: ‘Jim Clark did this,’ or: ‘James Hunt did this,’ and I’m like: ‘So?’ This is my time. And this is how I do it."

Force India B-spec immediately feels stronger - Hulk (ESPN)

"Straight away we have made a step forward with our performance, especially at this circuit which is high-speed dominated, which used to be our Achilles Heel."

Ferrari revises wheelnut system (Autosport)

"I hope we don't have any more trouble because it cost us a podium in Austria, which was not ideal."

'We are slow' - Alonso (F1i)

"The tyres are not very grippy, with these compounds we saw a lot of cars going off and it was no different for us. "

Massa: We're behind Red Bull (Sky)

"The Red Bull was better today and Ferrari were better today so we need to understand that other cars are pushing hard and we need to fix everything."

Lewis Hamilton's tirade against 'terrible' Formula One trophies backed by designers (The Independent)

"On one occasion we were sent a drawing of a glass sphere suspended in mid-air. When we asked the designer how this would be supported, his earnest response was ‘invisible string’."

Are we on the brink of an electric car revolution? (The Guardian)

"Ghosn says that in F1 'you have the honour to be forgotten when you win and highlighted when you lose.'"

Max Mosley Tries to Set the Record Straight (The New York Times)

"(Ecclestone) was what we called a ‘racer.’ There were two kinds of people in Formula One Constructors’ Association: racers, which was the majority, and people who were not racers."


Comment of the day

Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull, Silverstone, 2015Is ‘media negativity’ really damaging F1?

F1 has itself to blame and not the media.

Take the current power units as an example. Although they deliver great performance and efficiency, teams and manufacturers fail to inform the fans and actually show why the technology is so fantastic. All hardware is behind locked doors and kept secret. We have to rely on journalists taking sneaky pictures of the cars being assembled and post them in F1 forums which the majority of fans will never visit, otherwise we’d never see anything of the new technology.

Then there is the sound: although not everyone cares, it isn’t as impressive as it has been. And then there are the negatives: Power unit costs being a huge burden on the less wealthy teams, so they fall being in development. Renault and Honda powered teams being uncompetitive pretty much by default, making races less exiting because performance gaps are too big for regular on-track fights to happen. Add to that unreliability, complex penalties and token systems and the confusion or should I say frustration is complete. F1 has some homework to do before blaming the media.

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  • 56 comments on “F1 considering extra Saturday races”

    1. Where do the teams plan on finding the funds for them to be able to do an extra race because they’ll need more engines, gearboxes e.t.c

      1. Don’t waste your time applying intelligent thought to strategy group proposals.

      2. That is not a plan that´s seriously considered. It´s just part of the noise created to constantly have headlines.

      3. F1 hardly manage to get fans around a one-race format, how about 2?

        A ‘Grand Prix’ means long, big race. So we’d have a ‘Petit Prix’ and a ‘Moyen Prix’ then? It’s madness.
        For a few years now F1 want to change rules every other weekend, but my wish is that they keep rules for at least 5 years, is that just possible? (Thinking about sporting regulations, not technical ones).

        As a 20-year-long F1 fan, I wouldn’t watch 2 F1 races per weekend, plus GP2, IndyCar etc… The sport would, once again, lose its appeal.

        Rarity is beautiful.

    2. Anyone know the speedtrap figures, I am puzzled as to why there are as many Renault engines in the top 10 as there are Mercedes engines in the bottom 10 ????

      1. More power = run more wing and get more downforce but still be able to nearly match low downforce spec Renault cars down the straight. Over a lap? Munch munch, Mercedes eats Renault for lunch :-)

        1. That’s my point EF1, over a lap the Renaults are eating a lot of Mercedes engines for lunch, so are they doing it by sacrificing top end or have they found more power ?

    3. Neil (@neilosjames)
      4th July 2015, 0:27

      “Another suggestion is for junior drivers to take part in a sprint race on Saturday,

      I like this.

      with the highest finishers gaining a place on the Sunday grand prix.”

      Sigh. A third driver championship with short-ish races run on Saturday would be great if increasing the amount of on-track action is what they want, but letting them into the GP is just backdooring third cars onto the grid.

      1. They are already doing that sort of racing in the weekends, and it is called GP2. No need to increase cost for something totally unnecessary. Since allowing them to race in Sunday would be plain and simple: outrageous.

      2. @neilosjames @paul Speaking of GP2, An issue that i’ve not really seen discussed so far is what would then happen to the support categories?

        Currently you have GP3/Porsche Supercup qualifying in the morning before/after F1 FP3 & then the 1st GP2/GP3 races after F1 qualifying. Adding a 2nd F1 race is going to take time away from them & they already get very little track time as it is.

        Also consider that more than half of the teams are struggling to run 2 cars as it is so adding a 3rd with some additional crew to run it would add significant cost’s to the teams budgets which half the grid simply could not afford.

        I’d also point out that in other categories that run double headers like Indycar, GP2, GP3 & the Blanchpain GT series… 1 race always tends to do significantly better than the other & there’s some data to suggest that most fans tend not to commit the same level of interest to 2 races in a weekend (Thats why Indycar has cut back its double headers & will likely do away with them completely when existing contracts expire).

        The general idea of a Saturday race be it for 3rd drivers or F1 drivers is stupid, The current format is fine, The current qualifying system is fine. Adding a 2nd race is stupid.

      3. I’d love to see a Saturday third driver sprint race, as well. My idea would be to award a few points towards the WCC, rather than a race on Sunday though.

      4. @neilosjames So, three-car-teams by the back door, then?

        1. That is how I see it, yes @keithcollantine, @neilojames

          1. Matthew Coyne
            4th July 2015, 11:45

            I think people are being really negative about this without thinking about the bigger picture – Yes you could say it is a back door to 3 car teams, however think of the positives of this.

            Reserve drivers get some much needed track time, they get the opportunity to prove themselves against the established drivers and show the world what they are capable of, how many F1 fans know all the reserve drivers and how good they really are? I know I don’t and I spend hours every day reading about F1, it’s just not something that people know unless you go looking for that information. If it is done as per the suggestion whereby the top 3 finishers from the sprint race get to start from the back in the sunday race you potentially get quick cars (typically going to be merc, ferrari etc) starting at the back of the grid of the main race and fighting through, this is going to produce some good racing and really give these reserve drivers chance to prove their worth plus it gives us more cars on the grid and thus more entertainment.

            Yes there are downsides to it, but I personally think that it offers some real positives to the formula, it is certainly one of the better suggestions we have heard in recent months.

    4. “A lot of fans say, like: ‘Jim Clark did this,’ or: ‘James Hunt did this,’ and I’m like: ‘So?’ This is my time. And this is how I do it.”

      Watch and learn, children. THAT is how you humble-brag!

      1. pastaman (@)
        4th July 2015, 1:11

        Actually, that’s not humble-bragging at all. It’s just bragging. Which I would do too if I were a double world champion.

      2. He’s absolutely right, though. The days of Clark and Hunt are over.

        I don’t want ‘the next James Hunt’ or even ‘the next Senna’. I want new, exciting drivers to forge their own destinies in the sport today. I want modern drivers to stand on their own merits and not be constantly compared to drivers from a bygone era when the sport was less quick, less safe and less professional.

        1. @willwood

          I don’t want ‘the next James Hunt’ or even ‘the next Senna’. I want new, exciting drivers to forge their own destinies in the sport today.

          Well said.

        2. Exactly @willwood. We already get far too many “revival”. Age old rock bands/stars, rebooted movie series, TV series, brands all appealing to pink glasses emotions. Give us something new and interesting.

      3. Merc PR at work here

    5. Bernie says the engines are crap, but now he wants to freeze them. I give up trying to understand what he is doing. By the way, where is the plan on increasing fan access to drivers and teams, the social media strategy, selling the PU technology? And as for the PUs, as the COTD says, it’s as scandal how the message is not being sent. Now we have Formula E bragging about being green with cars with the output of a Honda Accord that can’t even cover a short race distance. Meanwhile f1 has cut fuel use massively while boosting output massively. f1 is proving that, in the near to mid term, hybrid tech is much better than electric-only. If it was ever the pinnacle of engine tech, it is that now. But no one is telling the story.

      1. Bernie says the engines are crap, but now he wants to freeze them. I give up trying to understand what he is doing.

        Andrew Benson expanded on Bernie’s desire to freeze the engines in his latest article:

        Meanwhile, F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone is pushing to impose an engine freeze in a bid to make racing more competitive.

        The 84-year-old’s proposal is to impose an upper limit on the performance of engines and allow manufacturers who are not yet at that level to develop until they meet it.

        The idea is to give Renault and Honda, who are lagging behind at the moment, the chance to catch up with Mercedes and Ferrari.

        Mercedes are pushing against the idea.

        1. Exactly what I expected from Bernie, dumb down the technical developments, because the money could be better spent as dividends to investors.

          1. Well, for once hes helping us have better racing, without a stupid proposal to go with it.
            Bernie has always wish to improve the racing but he generally ends up making stupid proposals like sprinklers etc. for once hes imposing a performance cap so that Ferrari and Merc dont fight all the championships till the next engine change. Youre just being biased.

            1. You’re just being stupid. See @daveW below

          2. Indeed @hogum; also, think back to the Canadian reliability upgrade by Mercedes: it had the effect of allowing longer use of the most powerful mode during the race, effectively making them faster w/o increased PU absolute power. Will happen more I guess.

          3. @hohum & faa7

            What we need to remember about Bernie is 2 things

            1. F1 is what it is today – thanks in part to Bernie

            And as importantly

            2. F1 is what it is today – thanks in part to Bernie

            Double edge sword so to speak !

      2. So it’s even worse. Capping total output by limiting peak power or torque would make a mockery of F1. Furthermore, people continue to fail to grasp the fact that Mercedes is not winning primarily because of its PU. Look at the WCC table. If you cap max torque and Mercedes still win what then? You start putting bricks in the Mercedes cars’s floors? Once you go down the road of an “equivalency” rule like GT racing or old DTM there is no going back. Once you have “equivalency”, I.e., performance Ballast and output restriction, then it’s not even a “formula” motorsport anymore. And in that case the entire theory of independent construction becomes an expensive farce, beckoning a spec chassis and other horrors.

    6. I hope this news about the changing quali/sprint race idea is only for headline generation. The only change I would suggest for quali is to axe the second round and give that allotted time to the other sessions.

      The Pirelli bit sounds interesting, though. It would be nice if instead of the “Ultrasoft” compound they would go the other way: Supersoft becomes Qualifying (only), and the teams can run Soft, Medium, and Hard at their discretion at any venue, without the mandatory stop.

      1. And any tyre supplied for F1 should be safe on any track approved for F1 racing.

        1. @hohum in certain cases, like monza, a tyre that’s totally safe anywhere else, save maybe spa, wouldn’t be able to handle the extreme stress from braking from 367 kph down to ~55-60 kph, every single lap. So no matter what Pirelli, or Michelin, or anybody does, a tyre that’s soft enough for the street circuits would be unsafe at Monza. So that’s why they can’t; it’s an impossible engineering challenge. That said, I rather like this part of the proposal.

          1. @zjakobs, It’s not impossible, they can. The fiasco at Indianapolis demonstrated that 1 brand of tyre was too fragile to take the loads imposed by the high speed banking but the other brand was untroubled, so they could have done it.

            1. Maybe not impossible but I guess special dispensation can be made for Monza, Spa, Suzuka, Silverstone.

            2. @hohum, even back in 2005, when there was the requirement for a tyre to last a whole race, the tyre manufacturers offered multiple compounds to cover the difference circuits because, as Zane outlines above, the performance demands for each circuit are such that a single compound would not be suitable across all circuits.

            3. @hohum that wasn’t related to the compound of tyre, it was related to the sidewalls being unable to handle the pressure from going around the final corner at 300+ kph.

          2. I’m not saying they have to be good, I’m saying they have to be safe, the team should be able to work out which compound will work for them.

    7. Only one race on Sunday, please. Saturday should belong to GP2.
      In my humble opinion, the tires are just starting to get sorted.
      I much prefer a push to pass system to a drag reduction system.
      How about a cap on driver salaries? That may encourage the cream to rise.
      It is an embarrassment to F1 that they even feel the need to ask for fan input into the formula. Isn’t this why specialism is encouraged? The formula should be decided on by the most informed, not by (buy) the richest concern.

    8. Then what is the point of switching to turbo engine?

    9. I quite like the idea of more action on the Saturday.

      Why not do qualifying, then a reverse grid based on that fielding young drivers, with points only counting toward the WCC?

      Then you still have your unchanged Sunday race format.

      I’m just opening my eyes to the idea of changing F1, because let’s be honest – it’s not the same ‘sport’ it once was. We might as well have some fun with it, because it won’t ever be the pure sport it once was.

    10. An extra ‘qualifying’ race on Saturday? And the winner(s) to join the main race on Sunday?
      So every team has to bring three cars and pit crews, then.
      Money saving not.

    11. Mexico F1 track is shaping up to be an awful Tilkedrome and a disgrace to its own history. Sorry dear Mexicans but if that’s the end result you should’ve left the classic alone and built your Tilkedrome monstrosity somewhere else

    12. Why not make FP3 qualifying, qualifying becomes a sprint race and the order in which cars finished in the sprint race becomes the starting grid for the main race.

      It’s fair, no reverse grid nonsense.

      A sprint race just for third drivers seems strange, especially in the current proposition where teams will need 3 cars for the main race.

      1. Basically this is the Blancpain Sprint Series GT race weekend model.

        Personally I haven’t been a big fan of it.

    13. It boggles the mind how the Strategy Group (and most others tbh) simply ignores the elephant in the room of the big gaps between cars and thus the lack of close racing.

    14. I agree with a lot of what the COTD fan has to say, and I may be very, very late to the party regarding one issue, but I categorically disagree with the complaints about the sound of F1.

      I wasn’t able to attend a race last year, which was a major disappointment in itself, but I was very interested to hear what the new hybrid engines actually sound like. I had the pleasure of attending a very sunny and full FP1 and FP2 sessions at Silverstone yesterday and I can’t for the life of me think why people would complain about the sound. The current noise is just about loud enough as to not hurt your ears through a 90 minute session, and it’s rich with complexity of the turbo, regeneration under braking and a much deeper exhaust tone.

      I also had the pleasure of visiting the Goodwood FOS last weekend, during which I saw, and heard, a Mercedes W04 sporting the old V8, and the first ever RBR car with a Renault V10. Quite frankly I do not miss the V8’s at all having heard the V6’s yesterday. However, the V10 still sounded incredible, it just has a lot more soul and sounded hearty, compared to the brash gnawing of the V8.

      In short, I’ve heard the last 3 iterations of F1 engines in two weeks, and there is no doubt the V10 stirred the most in me hearing it again first person. But that is not simply about volume, it was about texture and soul. F1 is never going to go back to V10’s, they can be enjoyed during historic displays, but give me the complexity and depth of the current hybrid V6’s over the bland whining of the old V8’s any day.

    15. ColdFly F1 (@)
      4th July 2015, 9:39

      They can have ‘junior drivers to take part in a sprint race on Saturday, with the highest finishers gaining a place on the Sunday grand prix’.
      But as long as the lucky junior drivers take the place of the slowest ‘senior’ driver on Sunday – no 3rd cars!!

    16. From the article that Andrew Benson mentions in his tweet:

      Meanwhile, F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone is pushing to impose an engine freeze in a bid to make racing more competitive.

      The 84-year-old’s proposal is to impose an upper limit on the performance of engines and allow manufacturers who are not yet at that level to develop until they meet it.

      The idea is to give Renault and Honda, who are lagging behind at the moment, the chance to catch up with Mercedes and Ferrari.

      Firstly, why should only engine power be limited? The downforce levels should have an upper limit as well (I believe it is possible to measure downforce but I am sure that many other fanatics know more about “points of downforce” and similar stuff than I do), otherwise it is just not fair.

      Secondly, if the aim is to equalise the engine performance, then what is the point of spending millions to develop four different engines? Let’s just have one standardised engine. Of course, the same should be done with aerodynamics ie. F1 should be turned into GP1. It is obviously just a thought-provoking idea but I believe it makes much more sense than forcing several teams into bankruptcy to achieve the same result (“make racing more competitive”).

      1. @girts, yes that is pretty much what Max and Bernie have been trying to get since before Max got caught with his pants down, a cheap series to compete in, raking in the money and Bernie keeping his 50% cut.

    17. Wow – I misread one of the snippets as “The intention is that selected teams will have a free choice of compounds,” and went mad for about 30 seconds. Then sense prevailed and I read it again.
      Yet that’s pretty much how it used to be in the “good old days” some people seem to want us to go back to.
      Having said that, wouldn’t it be interesting if the lower four teams could have a free choice of compound? I imagine it could be pretty unpopular at tracks like Monaco though.

    18. the fastest drivers from the third car race should be sent to the back of the main grid, but in reverse order. the normal F1 grid would remain unaffected.

    19. This idea is all right, however, the cost of making and running a third car will be expensive. If F1 want this idea to work, they’ll have to make the car design’s simpler so the teams, especially the lower teams, can afford to run another car.

    20. Just 2 more points regarding the sprint race idea.

      If you have it as a qualifying race to decide the grid for the main race, Your deciding the starting grid for the Sunday race based on race pace, In which case why would you then expect any changes in the order on Sunday?

      Also what happens if drivers get taken out or have car issues in the Saturday race, There going to be stuck down the back of the main race. Continuing along those lines there’s a possibility that drivers will actually then start taking the Saturday race easy to avoid damage which could make the Saturday race a bit of a pointless procession with drivers not pushing too hard to avoid damage.

      The race for 3rd drivers I discussed in an earlier post but adding to that comment, If you let the 3rd drivers start the main race your just going to have the very best cars running a 3rd car every race & should they be able to come through the field there pushing the mid-field teams further back which just introduces many of the problems with the 3rd car proposal (Mid-field teams been pushed back, getting less attention, less money & less chance of points).

    21. I like the idea of a sprint race but all these other ideas are getting silly. Whilst we are at it let’s introduce a ultra-super-super soft, maybe an semi-cured un-set set for qualifying. Keep it simple please. just distribute the prize money better, remove DRS and bring back ground effects, the engines are fine, they just need to develop, rest assured Honda and Renault will sort it out within a couple of years.
      The problem with the negativity this year is that people seem to have forgotten the 5 years where Ferrari kicked arse and 2011 and 2013 were dull too. I recently watched youtube footage from the 50’s, the racing is closer now than before, back then there could be a minute between 1st and 2nd with half a dozen of 30 cars finishing. Nostalgia is sometimes fun but we need to embrace the future.

    22. I’d rather the drivers have a lap time competition in a reasonably priced car for one or two championship points, than a sprint race. If your going to getting gimmicky go all the way!

    23. Apex Assassin
      4th July 2015, 20:22

      DUMBEST IDEAS EVER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      Why do they insist on messing with the portions of F1 that don’t need messing with?

      Just because you have the power doesn’t mean you have the right!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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