F1 considering two shorter races again

F1 Fanatic Round-up

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In the round-up: The Formula One Strategy Group has again raised the possibility of having two shorter races per weekend instead of one.

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Our reader was watching Rosberg at Dijon in 1982
A fascinating account of getting into F1 races in the early eighties:

In 1982, aged 16, I bought a ‘paddock pass’ for the Swiss Grand Prix in Dijon. I had access to everything but the pit lane during the whole week-end. After that, I was able to sell some pictures to Swiss magazines, including a nice one of Rosberg overtaking Prost that appeared in many papers and magazines.

I did the same during a couple of years, buying paddock passes and trying my best to work on my pictures, and in 1987 I began to cover F1 for a Swiss newspaper then in 1993 for the IndyCar magazine ICR. I had photos in annuals like the Automobile Year, and while, as you can see, my English writing is still pathetic, my photos gave me a lot of pleasure in F1 until the passion faded, a couple of years after Senna’s death.

All that was made possible with these expensive but very useful passes. And believe me, in 1982 drivers and team personnel (including Colin Chapman, who signed me half a dozen books in that Dijon race) were not mad about having non-pros in the inner sanctum.
Swiss Made

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Keith Collantine
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69 comments on “F1 considering two shorter races again”

  1. I’m all for two races per weekend, but not for shortening the Sunday one.

    I think Saturday and Sunday are fine, but surely something could be done to make Friday more interesting, if the cars are all going expensively round and round being filmed.

    1. I agree. Why not reward drivers and teams that nail their set up from the off? Seems to me to be a really straight forward way to add a much needed degree of unpredictability.

      1. @lockup @mccosmic I think it’s completely unnecessary. The race weekend format is basically fine. If they’re looking for answers to F1’s popularity problem I don’t think they’ll find them by messing around with the race format.

        1. I agree @keithcollantine, it’s not the answer to anything, apart from Friday not being as much fun as possibly it could be.

          I’m not convinced there’s a popularity problem at all really, in terms of the racing. I reckon it’s natural that any sport gradually loses support as all the other ways of amusing ourselves keep expanding. This is the information age, and F1 is a dinosaur just doing broadcast TV and crudely trying to monetise that to the max.

          1. @lockup I agree; what about making FP1 a one hour reserve/young driver session? It’d make them actually useful, for development, testing, a small earner for the team etc., and add extra variety to Friday. Make FP2 90 minutes for the race drivers.

            So, race drivers get five hours of running per weekend, reserve/young drivers one hour. An important step to help balance the mix of experience and youth, given the lack of testing nowadays.

          2. It would be good to give young drivers some time in the car @fastiesty. To make it more fun for us it would have to be a competition of some kind though. A point or two for the manufacturers championship? Or it would help at least to know fuel loads, apex speeds and so on.

            If I ruled F1 teams would have to stream all their data free, for enthusiasts and entrepreneurs to run websites with. Plus all the other data like gps and timing would be streamed too.

        2. Looks like they are still toying around with finding a way around adhering to any significant fuel limit during the race. Probably in the hope that everyone will go “flat out” @lockup, @mccosmic @keithcollantine.

          I just hope that before anyone pushes this through some of the team aks their strategists about it and find out that they would just start the first race with about 35 kg and the second one with 60-63 kg (apart from a few races) to have a lighter car and we would still get almost the same amount of fuel saving.

          Its just stupid, failing to look forward. In 2014 most cars were struggling with getting to the finish on the 100 kg limit at quite a significant amount of races. In 2015 it was an issue for some and only in a handfull of races. Surely with more development it will be less and less of an issue in the coming years as the engines improve

        3. Totally agree! Don’t mess with it!

        4. @keithcollantine Agreed.
          I’d say the race format is actually a part of f1’s heritage, and so it should be remain untouched. Grand Prix!

      2. So you want to reward the teams with the best simulation tools?

    2. I agree. Maybe change the saturday practice to the current qualifying. Then have a qualifying sprint race which actually determines the grid for Sunday. That could be more fun to watch.

    3. Dont u get it, that in todays set of rules this kind of proposals are just silly…how to make more action on the track and make racing more interesting…hmmmm…let the teams free use of engines and components. The costs will skyrocket u say? Well, due to limitations of testing, teams started to use simulators, more dynos, wind testing and so on, spending even more money than running the cars in normal tests. U need much more testing in fake enviroments than in actual track, and the results from the track are far more reliable. The only thing i can imagine is make double qualifying like they were decades back where friday counted as qualifying as well.

    4. Two races is simply not in the F1 DNA. Next thing is extra weights on the frontrunners of the first race and reversed starting positions. Spare me this crap.

  2. Seems NASCAR and F1 are working really hard to beat each other in how fast they can ruin the sport. NASCAR with those Chase for the Cup formats and now the Caution Clock they introduced for the Truck Series and Nationwide… and F1 with these endless U-turns, over-fixes on everything, trying so hard to improve yet, as always, doing the exact opposite. When are they going to learn?! their declining numbers won’t go away if they continue trying to hard to remove what keeps the long time fan glued to their seat…

    1. Apparently long time fans get trumped by short term profits.

    2. F1 copy Nascar and Indycar race rules

  3. I would much rather 2 races without pit-stops to any formula, including the current one, that mandates or encourages pit-stops, I prefer my racing on the track and the dyno.

    1. @hohum, why should you remove the option for teams to make a pit stop if it is a faster strategy?

      1. @hohum @anon – probably to make races more easier to follow. Because it is often hard to know what’s going on when some are 2-stopping, the others three or four stopping and every is on a different strategy. That’s also the reason I struggle to watch IndyCar whey they are several cautions as everyone seems to be running a different strategy and I have no idea who is on which position.

        1. The races shouldn’t be easy to follow. It adds to the uncertainty that has been sadly lacking in F1 as of late. Predictability is not good for F1.

          1. @jules-winfield
            I am not talking about predictability. For example Valencia’12 or Silverstone’13 were by no means predictable but were easy to follow. I am talking about general chaos when no one have an idea of the current order of the race until the final laps.

      2. Anon, that is the problem, stopping in the pits should not be a faster strategy, the race should be on the track for a certain distance, the engine, brakes, fuel and tyres should be capable of racing for that distance unless it is an endurance race. Pit-stops only serve to separate the drivers and prevent them from racing car on car, when you add in tyre strategy, whereby driving slower results in finishing faster, it just becomes a time-trial event

        1. I disagree completely. Strategy is as much of a part of F1 as racing and car design.

          Personally, I love to see someone “take a gamble” on a different strategy and make places without passing a single car on track. It is clever. It adds an extra dimension to the sport and can be just as exciting (to me) as wheel to wheel racing. There have been many races where, in the last few laps, the guy in second is closing on the leader due to a difference in strategy, and I have been on the edge of my seat, watching lap times and gaps, to see how it will pan out.

          That’s not to say that things are right at the moment, but I would hate to see pit stops banned.

    2. Then go watch the bikes.

      1. There you have it.

        Bikes can easily follow.
        If riders override, they fall off.
        No fuel saving, although the fuel load is limited.
        Progressional tire wear.
        And its more down tomthr rider.

  4. Hmm… if one of the races is just a reformat of qualifying (as Joe Seward seems to suggest), then I’m not sure it’s worth the effort. Personally, I’ve found the qualifying sessions to be generally exciting. It’s not the format that makes it less interesting. I think it’s the current F1 structure of keeping the winning teams on top and the losing teams on the bottom. It’s just too predictable. I mean, as a community, we’re so desperate for some sort of variance that we get excited when Ferrari mounts the slightest challenge to Mercedes. Ferrari. Woah, a team with almost unlimited budget closes the gap. The universe is rocked. No amount of marketing and fidgeting around with format is going to help. That’s like giving your rundown Pinto a new paintjob.

    1. That’s the thing with most of the ‘solutions’ the strategy group proposes: none of them really seem worth the effort as they at best only slightly hit on the problems of F1. In the end, restructuring of the costs, and a way to make the increasing professionalism and perfection worth less so that we can get more surprises are needed (I think), but that goes against what the big teams are good at, so won’t be proposed by them.

      1. petebaldwin (@)
        23rd January 2016, 12:11

        @bosyber – Until F1 is run by people who want the best for the sport, nothing will ever improve. The only way F1 can more forward is if someone is in charge and tells the teams what the rules will be. If they want to leave, they can but most won’t when they realise that simply making that threat won’t get them their own way.

        Obviously whilst Bernie is still here, the sport needs any say that he has diluted by as many different parties as possible but the end result of this is that nothing that matters will chance – F1 will just continue to fix things that aren’t broken.

        Hopefully soon, the sport will be able to have a complete restructure but the worry is that someone just as bad as Bernie will take over from him.

  5. I can without a doubt say that if F1 ever went to a 2 race format, Especially if they shortened the Sunday race I would immediately stop watching because in my opinion F1 should be about 1 Grand Prix race & not 2 shorter races in which the 1st may well devalue the 2nd.

    But since the polling, surveys & overwhelming fan opinion is against this 2-race idea you can bet there going to do it anyway!

  6. I think the format isn’t a problem, and still wouldn’t be a problem if it was changed.

    The race format is just the lipstick. The problem with F1 is that it might be a pig.

    1. Amen indy tried the same thing with the duels, and that didn’t last long…

  7. Can’t say i’m fond of the idea of 2 races. I think F1 should be about a single Grand Prix race on the Sunday & I don’t really see any real benefit in adding a 2nd race but I can see a few potential negatives.

    For instance if your going to determine the grid order based on race pace in race conditions; why would you expect any significant position changes on Sunday?

    I also wonder if you will be able to hold people’s attention for 2 races, If the 1st is dull for instance why would people then want to tune in for the 2nd?

    It just seems like change for the sake of change & I don’t see much fan support in the idea.

    1. I agree with your points completely.
      I also think that more emphasis should be given to the gp2 race on Saturday, as watching future F1 talent is interesting to me as a fan.

  8. If they can ban blown exhaust in order to curtail red bulls easily duplicatable lead why can they not ban DRS for 1 or 2 races… Just to see how it works out?

    It’s not like we are asking for other teams to be forced to run Mercedes illegal suspension.

    Or forcing every team to run illegal tire tests.

    Just make the DRS button stop working for 1 weekend. #itssoeasy

  9. Oh jesus, seems like they always have the most idiotic ideas on how to “improve” F1. If this is the best they can think of, just stop already.

  10. A Grand Prix usually is in the middle of the afternoon for European viewers. Watching the race always clashes with my valuable family time. You can imagine the hassle I get (and rightfully so) when I want to watch TWO races at weekend primetime.

    1. You should have heard my daughters reaction when I said there will be 21 races this year! She is not a fan. I’m worried for my safety if they put 2 races a weekend.

      1. @badger 21 races? For me that means 10 races to which I can read the report here and 10 I can watch live on BBC, oh wait…

        1. F1 is not on BBC this year any more. Channel 4 has the over-the-air contract for 10 races + highlight on the others. The good news is that they are going to broadcast the races without commercial interruption. David Couthard will be commentating, not sure about the other broadcasters. One remaining question is whether Ch. 4 will provide any live streaming of the races via their web site?

    2. Personally, I’d love it if races could start somewhere between 1830 and 1930 on a Saturday evening.
      > Digesting dinner on the couch watching the race and afterwards there’s still time to start a movie or go out.

      1. Yep Baremans, that sounds like a good scheduling for me too – though some of the out-of-Europe races are very early, or quite late, they are on the whole pleasant weekends because I can combine family and F1. Which also means I don’t really want Asian night races so much, as that puts them smack in the middle of that nice usable Sunday!

  11. 90 minutes races would be good for me, like a football match. So that we don’t fall asleep in Monaco and have 10 minutes more of action in Monza.
    Every lap under Safety car to add 1 minute of extra time

    1. The races are about 80-100 minutes long today.

  12. They never learn, don’t they? If Bernie wants more money, he should make the sport appealing to the majority of the fans- it is impossible for everyone to be satisfied. Yet he seems determined to not only ignore, but also make completely opposite decisions that fans voted for last year in the GPDA poll. As @fer-no 65 pointed out, NASCAR and F1 seem to be in a sprint race to ruin the sport as fast as possible.

    It is sad. Period.

  13. Peppermint-Lemon (@)
    23rd January 2016, 9:02

    This *could* ok, but not until all the other problems this is designed to gloss over are addressed and sorted beforehand.

  14. I wonder what problem changing to two shorter races is supposed to fix? Why give one boring processional race when the fans clearly want two? It seems like they are going to try every silly gimmick they can think of before making a serious attempt at addressing the elephant in the room which is the cars inability to run nose to tail. Personally I’d rather they do a fastest lap competition in a reasonably priced car for championship points than a second race.

  15. I can see the point of shortening the main race. At some circuits, it goes on too long and I as a fan lose interest. I think F1 would to well to stick to 90-minutes races, just like football/soccer. 90 minutes should still be enough for it to be called a Grand Prix.

    They could have qualifying on saturday morning and do a sprint race in the afternoon. Hopefully an all-out sprint race would spice things up. Put everyone on a hard tire and let them go for it, for 40 minutes or so.

    Friday’s could be reduced to only a single practice session.

  16. 2 ideas;

    1.) MIXED-UP GRIDS: Determined by reverse championship order, averaged out against qualifying time. (If you line cars up fastest > slowest, barring accidents or weather, of course you’re going to get processional racing).

    2.) DRS USED DIFFERENTLY: (Don’t get me wrong, I don’t like DRS one bit, but whilst we have it, let’s try to make the best a of it). So, do away with DRS zones, permit it as an offensive AND defensive tool, give “X” number of deployments to cars based upon their qualifying position. (1st gets 3, 2nd 6, 3rd 9, 4th 12 etc).

    1. What would mixing the grid accomplish if the cars can’t run nose to tail and thus the drivers can’t overtake? Until the inability to overtake is addressed, things like mixed grids won’t work.

  17. Aaaaaah. No no no no no to 2 races a weekend for me. Takes all the prestige away of being an F1 race winner as this means 42 races a year but not proper length. Why are they messing with something that does not need fixing, this does not help overtaking or speed or money distribution, or affordability for small teams. This is like me having a broken window on my house and replacing the roof instead.

  18. Yet again another point proving that those in charge really have no idea what actually needs sorting out in F1.

    Shortening the races reduces the need to be as fit which would be a real shame as F1 drivers need to be amongst the fittest athletes in the world at the moment, which I see as something which is important.

    Having two races in a weekend does not always guarantee great racing. GP3 events have two races yet they can be somewhat processional, even with reverse grids in the second race. IndyCar hosted two races on the same weekend at a few events over the last few years, but that did not make the racing any better or worse.

    Finally, having twice as many races means that the championship is more likely to be decided before the final round, and we all like to see a championship showdown at the final race.

  19. Two races is idiotic. I hate the idea with a passion.

  20. Erm, 90 min with an average of 200 km/h means shorter races? Well for Monaco and Singapore yes, but not for the other races.

  21. The two-race format has already been proposed and rejected multiple times over the years. The political factors (not to mention other ones) that made this so have not changed. It will only be rejected again – like several other recent reheated ideas.

    It makes me wonder if there is some sort of agenda being pursued by the powers-that-be involving blocking novel ideas from being discussed in a meaningful manner.

  22. I don’t understand how having two races instead of one can benefit the sport, especially if the season is as boring as 2015. It seems that the F1 strategy group is coming up with new ideas without thinking what the results of something like this would be.

  23. I’m not so sure that having a 2nd race would help as the general trend for categories that do run 2 races tends to be that 1 always get significantly less viewers than the other.

    A few years back the Indycar series started running double headers on some circuits but the TV figures for the Saturday race were always so pathetic that its something they moved away from pretty quickly.
    Its the same with GP2 & GP3 one race (Usually the shorter Sunday race) always gets significantly less viewers than the other & I believe the same was true with the new 2 race DTM format last year.

    Its usually an ever bigger problem if fans consider the 1st race to have been boring as they are then far less likely to bother watching the 2nd race.

  24. What’s the point of a quality session to determine a grid for a short race to determine a grid for a longer race? Can we find an easier way to put the fastest cars at the front?

    By all means have a sprint race on Saturday and a normal length race on Sunday, but make sure the grid for each is determined in a different way.

    1. Quali session even! Hopefully it’s quality!

  25. I agree with having 2 shorter races, but then I would personally take back some races and have like 16-18 races. 21 is too much. Even for single race weekends. Either that or reduce the amount of laps of every single gp. To comprimise this, I would personally make the cars faster and harder to drive. That way, we have sort of 90’s style. I like that.

    1. With the safety we have today, aplied ofcourse…

  26. Indycar series have similar races (no points) Marlboro challenges from 1985 to 1992, but in Indy cars where similar and fight on track was good. I think that in Saturday races Mercedes drivers will push to limit and lap all other drivers. Last season in races they could save the car. What about numbers of engines per races ?(with new format). What is the limit for 2016 season with 21 races?

  27. The sport is utterly rudderless and it’s depressing.

  28. As a way of “spicing” up practice, maybe your fastest lap in FP1, FP2 and FP3 should be taken into account along with your qualifying time and then averaged out to give your grid position?

    Fairly easy to have a bit of software in the background do the working out for you during and across the sessions, then give the final information on screen pretty much instantly.

  29. Moto GP races are exiting. Changing the race format will not fix anything.
    To make F1 more like Moto GP only 3 things need fixing.

    1. More power than grip i.e. 1000 hp engines.
    2. Less aero dependency and more mechanical grip i.e wider tires and much smaller wings.
    3. More teams competitive i.e. fairer distribution of the money.

  30. Has anyone in FOM thought through the practical problems that having 2 races in one weekend will present?

    Racing is MUCH more expensive than free practice. So the omni-present issue of costs rears it’s head even higher. Advantage does to the big teams while everyone else just gets further marginalized.

    More races mean more frequent race crashes. What happens if there’s a crash and one or more cars are damaged and can’t be repaired in time for the next race? Do the teams go back to the days of having a spare car ready to go? Yes, I know they currently have all of the spare parts but what if a team has two damaged cars? Sounds like more costs and more advantage to the big teams.

    If they have 1 race on Sat. and 1 race on Sun., won’t that split the attendance and result in much smaller crowds each day?

  31. It’s a good idea, but they will not realise well.

  32. NO, No no no no no. This is not GP2, or F3000 where everyone is looking for bigger and better things, this is Formula 1. This is where you are looking to arrive at. If you want to make it more interesting, then start reducing the levels of grip the cars have to use, that will start to bring out the skills of the drivers, plus-if the turbulent air/following too closely destroys the front tires issue is dealt with-it will lead to more close racing. Practice, let them run the whole day if you want or restrict it to just Saturday morning, I. DON’T. CARE. But this is not some lower division, this is F1 and it should be treated as such.

  33. If I was in charge of F1 I would do 2 shorter races but on the same day. Fans have their busy lives and taking out an extra day for the Saturday race is weighing in heavy on personal time, family life and so on.
    Shorter races shouldn’t need pitstops, which makes it more complicated to follow. Pitting is good for endurance races, not for F1 OR if the weather changes and requires a change from rain to dry (or otherwise), but then everyone will come in within 2 or 3 laps and it’ll still be racing car to car instead of racing strategies.

    That being said, more and more people are getting poorer and poorer. To follow F1 on TV, you need to pay special subscription which costs a lot for many people. To go see it on track, tickets are very expensive. To see it online, you need a subscription + a decent internet connection… it all starts to add up tremendously. The sport needs to be accessible for the big crowds again. This is the only way that big sponsors are encouraged to spend big money on the sport. If nobody is watching anymore, sponsors will pull back or spend less and in the end it’s the end consumer that has to pay more. Less people will watch and the true fans will have to bear higher and higher costs. It just doesn’t make sense. You want publicity, you want to reach crowds, then make it all accessible!
    Free streaming and all races live on free TV. It’s the advertisers in the sport who should pay, not the people you are trying to reach with the advertising, because seriously, who wants to pay to watch advertising? I’ve got better things to do…
    It’s all over the news these days, 1% of the people own 99% of the money in the world. If F1 just wants to cater for 1% of all people, well good luck. You might get a few bucks to fill your wallet in the short run, but you’re destroying the sport completely and it’ll give rise to other more exciting sports and manufacturers will keep on leaving F1 because they don’t get rich from the 1% of the elite, they get rich from the other 99%

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