Fernando Alonso, McLaren, Sepang International Circuit, 2017

McLaren ‘would let Alonso drive for Toyota at Le Mans’

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In the round-up: Fernando Alonso will race in January’s Daytona 24 Hours and could be allowed to race for Toyota at Le Mans.

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Jenson Button, Brawn BGP 001, 2017
Jenson Button was reacquainted with his 2009 world championship-winning Brawn BGP 001, still in its original livery, at JD Classic in Essex yesterday

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Comment of the day

Ben puts the Formula Ford Festival forward as a model for F1 to look at:

I went to the Formula Ford Festival at Brands Hatch this weekend. I’ve been a few times before and it’s always a brilliant day out for a racing fan. Four 20 minute-ish races with 30 Formula Ford cars in each, loads of support races, including Porsches and BMWs this year.

The entire circuit is visible from the main grandstand, making it so easy to follow. The sound is intense but not deafening, there are gravel traps meaning mistakes are punished and cars can follow each other and overtake without gimmicks. Any one of the top eight could have won every race with a lap to go.

And all that at £10 a head, with free parking.
Ben Needham (@Ben-n)

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On this day in F1

  • Riccardo Patrese scored his final win 25 years ago today at Suzuka, ahead of Gerhard Berger and Martin Brundle

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  • 52 comments on “McLaren ‘would let Alonso drive for Toyota at Le Mans’”

    1. Removing Fridays can have the extra benefit of spicing up the races a bit. With just what is now known as Practice 3 available, there could be weekends where the leading cars could struggle to find the best setup, leaving them further down the field than normal. Plus, without proper race simulations we could see more strategies as the fastest / best option won’t always be clear. And if you ask me, this is fair and not some gimmick, as the more capable you are with setting up your car, the better you’ll do.

      In the other hand, it could limit in season development, as most teams use Fridays to test new stuff. This could mean an increase of costs, as more wind tunnel, CFD time will be needed.

      1. There’s also the probability it wouldn’t close up the field as the big teams have more resources to figure stuff out in advance. Usually minimal setup time mixes up the midfield mostly (not that I’m saying that’s bad)

      2. @afonic, it also means that they would be removing an opportunity for up and coming drivers to gain experience in practise sessions, so we would not have seen how Giovinazzi or Leclerc could perform, for example. It’s also a system that would, to some extent, work against rookie drivers by giving them less time to become accustomed to their car over a race weekend.

        I’d rather question whether it is necessary, as Brawn wants, to extend the season even further – it is already going to be at 21 races in 2018, and we now have ten races that are only a week apart (Bahrain-China, Austria-Great Britain, Germany-Hungary, Belgium-Italy, USA-Mexico). I think that it would be better to keep the calendar as it is, rather than trying to cram even more races into a season given that some of the mechanics and ground crews have said they are already beginning to burn out over the length of the season.

        1. With 12 back to backs from early march to late november we’d have 25 races including a 4 week summer break. The back to backs itself would logistically doable since we already do it now in F1, plus you have the extra day by skipping friday.

          If F1 changes the schedule geographically (Asian, European and Amarican leg) they could benefit from a prolonged marketing presence in one region as well as organize more F1 Live events in the ‘off weeks’ in between the back to backs. They could also use 2 or 3 of those off weeks to organize F1 tests during the European summer where test-/young drivers drive instead of the team’s race drivers.

          It would be a busy schedule and pre-season has to start early february but then again, it would create massive opportunity to grow the sport for Liberty.

      3. I just cannot see it happening. As the others have said, all teams need some time to verify that upgrades work, allow 3rd and young drivers some car experience.
        But at w/ends where there are support races, these practice on Fridays and race Saturday and Sunday. So extra practice time for F1 on Saturdays is probably not there. The one hour at present is only just about long enough to check setup do a couple of qualifying practice laps and do a shortish race sim. The teams would presumably insist on a longer or have two practice sessions on Saturday and want a longer period before qualifying. Or does anyone think qualifying should move to Sunday. What happens if qualifying cannot happen? And yes I do remember when qualifying happened on Sundays but that was when there were two qualifying periods. (and the support races in Europe was Renault 5’s)

    2. What’s up with that Ferrari steering wheel? First VET took it from his car in Malaysia & now they’ve blurred out the back of it in that video above… hiding something much?

      1. option A: Ferrari have something they want worth hiding
        option B: Ferrari wants someone to think they have something worth hiding on their steering wheel.

        Why release a video with a clear shot of the part you want to hide just to blur it out. If that’s something you really wanted to hide, it would have been easier to just edit the video to not show it at all rather than to draw attention to the blurred out part. Mostly likely answer is that it’s just misdirection and there is nothing to see there, but while everyone is trying to look at the steering wheel, we’re looking right past something else.

      2. It could also be something as simple as a sticker which have something non-family friendly written on it. It could also be a sponsor decal that was not supposed to be there. Americans have this weird way of blurring logos in t-shirts when on camera.

        It could also be the ferrari’s paddle shift system with their own clutches they don’t want to show to anybody.

        1. @cliffery @lancer033 @socksolid
          It’s pretty common teams don’t want to show the back of the steering wheel because there are some tricky setup paddles (remember when MSC was told “magic paddle is available” a.k.a. extra boost for qualifying)
          or like in this video on a certain Youtube-Channel ;-)
          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aphrHIAI1JY&t=153

    3. Hah. Alonso driving at Daytona. For all those who have never seen the Daytona 24 Hours you will be wondering with all of Liberty’s American ambitions why they don’t stage a race there instead of in Miami. The track would either have to be lengthened or modified a bit but it would be great for F1.

      1. There would also need to be pit garages and some modern facilities as well there.

      2. And NOT be on the high banks, F1 and the slight banking at Indy didn’t go well. Daytona has over triple the banking, 31 degrees in the corners and 18 on the straights. Not exactly F1 style racing facility and would never be modified for it. The track owners don’t need Liberty’s cash and Liberty knows the race would be terrible and hurt more than help.

        1. Eighteen degrees is the banking of the tri-oval. The straights themselves are nearly flat.

        2. It’s different. The banked turn used for the road course at Indianapolis actually required some effort whereas racing up on those super-high Daytona bankings for those LMP2 sportscars is a bit like driving on a straight that is banked. The G-forces on the 2 high Daytona bankings would be far less than they were at Indianapolis.

    4. GtisBetter (@)
      25th October 2017, 0:47

      I like the friday practise. A nice build up and you get to see how they find the limits and how the tyres are. And how long runs shape up.

      1. digitalrurouni
        25th October 2017, 13:18

        This.

    5. I’d hate to see them drop Friday practice as it’s the only time during the weekend when you can actually just watch the cars.

      In qualifying it’s all about the stop watch & in the race there’s various other things to pay attention to (Gaps, strategies, racing etc…), But in the 2 Friday sessions you don’t have to really pay attention to the lap times or anything else, You can just watch the cars without worrying about anything else. I spend a lot of time in the Friday sessions switching around the various OnBoard camera channels on Sky looking at how the different cars are working, What the various drivers are doing etc…

      I also like how the Friday sessions allow broadcasters/commentators to have debates about things, To be able to read out tweets & views of the fans & have discussions. On the subject of dropping Friday sessions for example during the Friday sessions a few races ago David Croft raised the point on Sky & took a lot of opinions from fans on it (With most against dropping Friday practice BTW) & it was a fun little debate where a lot of views/opinions/ideas were discussed.

      I also think it needs to be considered that with no in-season testing now the Friday sessions is the only time where teams (And sometimes Pirelli) get to test new bits. If you drop Friday running your going to have teams going into qualifying/races with new parts on the car that haven’t had as much testing as they maybe need & it isn’t unheard of to see new bits fail which could be a safety risk. And on the tyre side, We have seen Pirelli make changes to recommended tyre/camber settings based on what they saw during the Friday practice long runs.

      And while things like this shouldn’t happen it’s surely better for things like the Sepang drain cover that wrecked Grosjeans car (And the similar thing with Button at Monaco last year) to get flagged up on Friday when there’s time to fix it rather than it happening in qualifying or races.

      I don’t think dropping the Friday sessions just to get more races on the calendar is a good compromise, Especially given that as far as I can tell most fans & people in F1 don’t actually want to see more races added to begin with.

    6. I’ve always thought four hours total practice was far too long. It just gives the teams all the data they need to ensure their races run exactly to their simulations, and there are no unexpected surprises or need to change much. Look back to the past at events where we’ve lost running in FP sessions for whatever reason, it usually always meant a more lopsided grid and/or a more interesting race with them going into the unknown.

      Give them 90 minutes on Saturday morning, use the Friday for something else IMO.

    7. i like the idea of getting rid of friday practice. like @weeniebeenie said, 90 mins on saturday morning should be all they get.

    8. Hmm. Not sure how dropping Friday practice is really going to help deliver more races per season, or if delivering more races per season is even worth pursuing when you can’t fill the grandstands at the existing races.

    9. I read the comments from Ross Brawn and understand he is talking about being open minded and flexible with the race weekend format, as we saw this weekend with Saturday qualifying running later than normal – Epstein commenting they saw another 20,000 people at COTA, by pushing this closer to the evening concert.

      From my perspective dropping Friday practice would impact all the race weekends where the feeder series are running. For those of you who haven’t attended a typical European race weekend, there is barely a moment without a car on the track on Fridays and Saturdays.

      Watching the feeder series and enjoying the up and coming young drivers in action is an integral part of a race weekend for me. In addition, my wife and I – along with other fans will take the time to get around a circuit on the Friday, exploring or returning to favourite turns or circuit views (we covered 20miles / 32km on foot at last weekends US GP!)

      I expect a two day race weekend will be heavily resisted by those circuits without Government funding, who are turning more towards extending the weekend into a ‘festival’ to increase the opportunity for building revenue.

      Unless Liberty agree to significantly reduce the hosting fees for circuits, offsetting this with the additional income from expanding to another 4-5 races, I can’t see it happening.

      1. Have been wondering why they pushed the qualifying back by two hours. Was that the main reason? So as to get it closer to the concert and thus have more people attend it. Or was there another reason. I haven’t seen anyone cover why the decision was made. A little insight on this @keithcollantine

        1. It is the actual reason

          1. Thanks. Must have missed that.

    10. Yes, by all means, reduce the number of hours we can watch the F1 cars, but insist on adding as many irrelevant “events” as possible. Reminds me of those phone/internet/cable etc. provider packages, where you need just 1/10 of it, but they insist you must take a whole package, filled with nonsense you don’t want, and then claiming it’s a great value because you are getting so much stuff.

      If I go to an F1 race weekend, I tell you, there’s a good chance that concerts and other “events” will be much more boring to me than watching F1 cars drive around for an extra 3 hours.

      As always, this is a way to get as much money, by providing as little real value as possible. No real investmenting into growing the core product, and then reaping the longterm benefits, but contrary – just reducing their expenses by reducing the investment into the core product.

    11. Verstappen needs some black points on his license for the insults to the marshals. Not tolerable that a kid can swear at adults without a slap on his ugly face. He needs some manners and his father needs to leave

      1. Are you serious @nuvolari71? When Vettel has repeatedly said worse things not just about a steward, but about the race director himself and got away scott free, because he was sent to apologize?

        Not to mention that ALL of the fans loved seeing some emotion, and a huge part of the viewing fans felt much the same emotion immediately after it happended (before we got the time to let things sink in and see replays, understand why)

        1. @bascb, I would say that some of Verstappen’s later comments, where he was calling Connelly a “mongol” – in other words calling him mentally retarded by using a rather demeaning term for those with Down syndrome – are far worse than anything that Vettel has said.

          1. Agreed anon. Also Vettel’s comments were literally in the heat of the moment, whilst still racing. Not after the end of the race where the driver should have calmed down and had time to process his thoughts, even if just a little.

    12. I used to love Fridays but I’m a grown-up that’s working now.
      I just can’t tell my boss: “I stop everything from 10 to 11:30am and from 2 to 3:30pm, there’s F1 practice.”
      So, apart from when I’m off, I just cannot watch F1 practice.

      1. Maybe convince your co-workers and boss to become a F1 as well.

        During the 1998 World Cup we had a factory in Brazil. Whenever Brazil was playing we knew that half the workforce would be ‘ill’.
        So rather than punish them we joined them. We rented huge TV projectors and instaaled them in the canteen. And during the 2 hours of the match we shut the lines down.
        We never had such low absenteeism and high productivity ;)

      2. Technology has grown up as well. Just DVR it and watch later.

        1. In the other hours I have free outside of work? Sorry but to dedicate 5 hours of each race weekend to racing just is NOT happening for a vast majority of race viewers. There is enough else in my life that the few events I want to watch every minute of are scheduled in to make sure I don’t and the others have to move around work, household needs and other activities.

    13. No, just keep the current format and the present amount of races. There isn’t any need for more than 20 or 21. The current number is more than enough from all aspects, so zero need for more. In this case, not even income would justify an increase in races as the current number already gives the sport a lot of (more than well) revenue. Even something like 18 (like it used to be) would be more than enough from the income-aspect. For me, personally, something from 22 to 25 wouldn’t really make a difference, but for the sake of the travelling teams, especially the smaller ones, I hope that if they’d ever actually try to increase the number of races, the teams (especially Ferrari) would veto it. Then again, back in June, during the Canadian GP weekend, when asked directly about this topic, Chase Carey clarified that increasing the number of races isn’t a priority for them after all.

    14. Roth Man (@rdotquestionmark)
      25th October 2017, 8:39

      Friday’s are my favourite day when attending a Grand Prix, love soaking up the atmosphere when it’s slightly quieter, watching the practice sessions and seeing who looks good and who’s trying what. It sets the tone for how the weekend builds and builds in attendance and drama before the big race on Sunday. It’s a nicer day to walk the track and the stalls etc as well. But without any F1 on that day I wouldn’t bother, meaning the value of going to a live GP has dropped by a third (over a third actually because it’s my favourite day). I go there to watch F1 cars, no amount of pop concerts and “Fan Engagement” will replace that.

    15. I wander what kind of rivalry there is between Honda and Toyota in Japan.
      I know there is cultural animosity between Volvo and Saab in Sweden (correct me if I’m wrong here, Swedes).

      If Alonso achieved any kind of success in a Toyota, it would be huge and a blow to Honda, wouldn’t it?

      1. 2018 is probably the best year to enter LeMans with Toyota.
        No LPM1 competitors except for new entry customer Ginetta cars; i’d say an almost 50% win chance.

    16. Also on this day in F1: Lewis Hamilton won his 3rd title by winning the 2015 edition of the US GP.

    17. “If Lewis Hamilton is allowed to criticise the US president, then a frustrated driver is allowed to express his opinion,” Horner told Auto Motor und Sport.

      Christian Horner reminding us why he was at one point the most universally unpopular man in F1 and chosen son of Satan Ecclestone.

      1. Sorry I don’t get the connection. This ‘most universally unpopular man in F1 and chosen son of Satan Ecclestone’ award you have deemed CH worthy of, must have escaped me. Can’t say I’ve had any issues with him anywhere remotely near what you are implying, nor do I see anything wrong with the quote you have cited. He’s a very smart and successful man who has made a lot of sensible remarks throughout the years.

        1. @robbie – Ecclestone said he would have liked to see Horner replace him, at the height of his unpopularity.

          The way he handled the Renault engine renegotiation was in comically poor taste.

          The constant moaning and push back against any regulation which hasn’t suited his agenda or his team is both transparent and tiresome, figureheads within a sport should promote it and not badmouth it because they aren’t doing well.

          And in the above quote he advocates and likens calling a race steward an idiot to the manner in which Lewis has politely voiced his opinion against a sexual predator with a penchant for warmongering in the most powerful position in the world. Why bring Lewis into it? Donald Trump is not a representative of the FIA, it’s as petty a retort as one could possibly think of.

          If you see nothing wrong with that then I have nothing more to discuss with you.

          1. I see a lot of shades of greys in what you are saying. You have decided that BE was at the height of his unpopularity and at that point suggested Horner as his replacement, which is what?…suppose to reflect badly on Horner? So what? Isn’t that just a compliment toward Horner that he could run F1?

            The Renault renegotiation? Sure that seemed awkward. Was that all on Horner? Has Mac also had to be pretty blunt about Honda? The ‘constant’ moaning about technical reg changes that were meant to stop the SV/RBR 4-WDC streak were predictable because other teams have had their momentum changed similarly throughout F1’s history. Horner does not have a monopoly on fighting for his own team’s best interest. They all do it. Many would agree F1 needs more freedom for the innovation that Horner would like to see, for fear of F1 becoming a spec series. But then there’s the costs escalation to consider too.

            And before you get on your high horse and claim that’s it…conversation over…agree with me or we’re done…let’s consider that you are shading what LH said when you use the term ‘politely voiced his opinion’, while ensuring we understand he’s talking about a monster…oh that Lewis…ever the diplomat even with a monster…so diplomatic even when the team sabotaged him last year…He actually said something to the effect of ‘not getting caught up in that BS,’ when referencing Trump and the knee controversy. Which is what Horner and Max thought (BS) when they deemed it inconsistent to penalize Max for going off track when they all did it all weekend (their argument and not one I agree with).

            Sorry, not sorry, but it’s hard to take your ‘my way or the highway’ threats, when your arguments are so one-sided. Your claim of ‘most universally unpopular man in F1’ like that was a trophy he was handed or something, and ‘chosen son of Satan Ecclestone’ are hardly unbiased remarks that should be taken so factually that disagreement with you is a conversation ender. But I guess that’s how you like to roll. Shade the truth to suit your viewpoint, over-exaggerate other people’s character, and then slam the door and go home. Nice. Pat yourself on the back. Trump does it all the time.

            1. @robbie I can’t imagine the amount of time you must have to follow me around these forums writing essays about the most insignificant thing that you or I have no bearing on. I’ll leave you to it but suffice to say, any chance of reasoned debate is near impossible with the chip you seem to have developed on your shoulder as Seb’s title chances faded away. Your final sentence has convinced me once and for all that you are not worth another second of my time.

            2. How full of yourself are you that you think I follow you around any more than I look at all of the posts here? Your ‘reasoned debate’ starts with over the top insults to Horner and Ecclestone, because you can’t stand an LH reference that doesn’t please you, nor are you interested in debate that challenges anything you’ve said, as indicated by your ‘If you see nothing wrong with that then I have nothing more to discuss with you.’ That is not reasoned debate. This is indeed a forum for discussion. I suggest you just put out your opinions and if you want them left as that, just leave them as that and move on and ignore responses, as they’re not invited anyway, rather than telling us no debate is possible, and then claiming ‘we’ as in ‘I’ am not being reasonable. Too bad, because I wouldn’t be surprised if we agree on more things than we disagree on.

    18. Yeah I would get Alonso in my LMP1 just for publicity alone.

      Infact Liberty media should organise with WEC and bring in Hamilton, Vettel and Alonso to a same team in LMP1 and try to win the race.. That would be pretty special.

      1. The only question that I have is

        Will Alonso do the full 24h event, or the short version that Toyota usually does?

    19. The idea that taking a wider line is less worse than cutting a corner is ridiculous. They take a wider line so they can get on the gas earlier and therefore go faster through the corner. I remember sitting in Hockenheim where the drivers even started using the drag strip in front of us to widen their turn onto the straight.

      So there is a “lasting” benefit to those as well. Why does Whiting think they take those wider lines? Every lap again.

      On the other hand, if I have learned one thing from those taped driver briefings, it is that Whiting knows incredibly little about racing. I was shocked to hear that he thought Lewis would just loosen his belt a little so he could hang out of the cockpit. Of course he needs to unbuckle them completely. Some other remarks too. In those briefings he often shows a deep lack of understanding of racing and what the drivers do or face. Really bizarre for someone who has been doing this for so long.

      Still it does explain why he makes dumb remarks like cutting how a corner is an issue while taking a wider line is not.

      I agree that the rules say Verstappen should get a penalty though. Especially since he overtook someone off track. It has happened a lot and drivers always get a penalty. Although this only happens when they get reported apparently. Which is also something ridiculous beyond belief. (Perez not being investigated/penalized and acting like a caught little schoolboy in the drivers briefing)

      I understand it’s annoying when you pulled an incredible overtake like that and it’s disallowed, but it’s just not on. I remember Alonso cursing years ago when Kubica pushed him off track at Silverstone and then Alonso’s overtake going off track was deemed illegal. Even though Alonso felt he had no other choice.

      But then they should not allow the drivers to go outside of the lines on other occasions either. One time they did penalise Vettel for overtaking a driver outside of the track (Hockenheim coming out of the hairpin) yet on another occasion (Australia) they said he was taking a wider line and therefore took longer and his overtake off track was allowed.

      Or every time a driver threatens to be overtaken and they decide to skip a chicane or take a wider line through the corner. Somehow that lasting advantage of not being able to be attacked is never penalised. In Canada Rosberg did that multiple times and still no penalty. Bottas did it in the US GP a few times as well. Although of course it can also happen that the driver gets pushed off the racing line illegally so it would be unfair to penalise them for that.

      It’s this random way that stewards (or Whiting in particular) look at off track excursions which makes these rulings so hard to swallow.

      Not allowing drivers to go off track so much would probably cut down on exploding tyres too.

      1. While I agree decisions can appear random, I have a feeling that close analysis would show it’s not as random as it appears. But let’s face it, some years such as this year, they, meaning F1, have wanted to back away from so many penalties, as people also get frustrated with over-policing, including discussions this year about the confusing grid drops for mechanical woes that peoples’ favourite drivers have to suffer. Let ‘em race…let ‘em settle it on the track not in the boardroom, are sentiments we hear.

        I think it is a tough balance they have to try to strike between policing ‘properly’ and not over policing to the point where races are decided in a room afterwards. I’m sure that is why after so many years they still haven’t instigated tennis-like lasers on the track borders. So many instances are unique that it is hard to put everything into a cookie cutter. So many corners at all the different venues are unique and offer varying degrees of advantage or disadvantage upon going wide of them.

        They apparently didn’t go into this weekend intending drivers to act like there were laser borders around he track. When everyone started going wide at the same spot, I’ll assume that was noted by Whiting et al, but they considered that drivers were all doing it, so perhaps all had found momentum was just carrying them that way on that weekend on those tires at that grip level and decided nobody was getting any real advantage over any one other driver. And perhaps they wanted the cars lapping noticeably faster than last year. That’s been part of the equation this year too. Different story when you have Max actually passing a car, off the track, not where everyone was doing it all weekend, for a podium spot and a trophy.

        I think Whiting is way smarter than you give him credit for, and gets things right the vast majority of the time, and I think what we are witnessing is simply that his is a very hard job. Trying to please everyone, which is impossible, while putting on a great and enthralling show, has always been difficult. Had Max been allowed that pass, and F1 appeared more consistent on that weekend, would there not be just as many disappointed Ferrari fans crying no fair?

        You cite Rosberg and Bottas, interestingly both opponents of LH, whereas LH has also benefitted from cutting corners to defend and not getting penalized. That’s an indication right there that of course our views on what is fair and what isn’t can depend on who our favourite driver is. Your comment about exploding tires is a bit inflammatory too. The vast majority of tire explosions have been from poor tire design, and rarely from off-track excursions, so there’s nothing to that argument with respect to clamping down on drivers going wide.

    20. I don’t like the idea of removing Friday practice. The practice time is crucial with so little testing and the breaks between for adjustments, or repairs, is also important.

      My only thought if they do want to remove Friday practice is for race weeks that are not back to back allow the teams to stay Monday for a morning test session. Their equipment is already there. Sunday nights could be used for sponsors to utilize the excitement of the afternoon. Even if the tests are still limited that each team can only choose a set number out of the available dates. It is my opinion that so many teams are struggling compared to the big 3 because real world testing is so limited and only the big guys have the virtual correlation making their cars multiple seconds a lap faster. I know Monday’s are hard, but if I could make a race I would be staying the night after anyways. Why not fly out the next day at 3 pm instead of 10 am to catch a test session?

    21. As I have said before I am not in favour of having more races. I think they should stick to 20 and no more.

      I don’t think quantity is any substitute for quality. I believe that what most F1 fans want is competitive races, with a more level playing field for all teams, held on interesting and sometimes historic circuits. They also want to be able to attend these events without paying the earth and if they cannot attend, have free to air access to watch the races on TV or via some streaming platform.

      Leave the number of races as they and get this right. Nearly everyone will be happy then.

    22. Others have already raised some of the reasons against doing away with Friday practice sessions so I won’t re-tread those, I do however want to put forward something related to the broadcast/technical side.

      It isn’t just the teams that use the Friday practice sessions to test new things, FOM also use Friday’s to test various different things be it in-car cameras, trackside cameras as well as other systems, graphics etc.. Some make it to the broadcast, Other’s don’t.

      The rotating in-car camera that has been used the past few races was initially trailed on Fernando Alonso’s car during Friday practice in Hungary. After that trial it was used on other cars from Malaysia as well as the TV broadcast.

      The helmet camera that was used frequently in 2012/2013 was initially trialed during Friday practice at Monaco in 2011 on Paul Di Resta’s car…. Well helmet. They weren’t 100% happy with that trial nor the similar trial (That they opted to put on broadcast for feedback) on Sebastian Vettel’s helmet at the Brazilian Gp that year. Based on those trials they improved it for 2012 & improved it further for 2013, Although then had to stop using it when new systems were introduced for the in-car cameras which that particular camera couldn’t be used with. And current iterations of that shot that would work are currently too large to run (And that includes the one Indycar have, F1 teams won’t allow something that large to be used due to the aero effect it produces that affects the airbox, Indycar’s don’t use the airbox so that doesn’t matter).

      Broadcasters such as Sky, Channel 4, NBC & so on also use Friday’s to run system checks & stuff so that when it gets to the sessions that are deemed to matter more & get more viewers (Qualifying & the Race) there is less chance of technical hickups.

      1. As to how dropping friday practice would affect the races.

        Initially things may be a bit more mixed up, However teams & drivers would very quickly adapt so any perceived benefit to the show would be gone well before mid-season.

        All you need look at for additional proof of that is the 2003 changes. Friday running was reduced for most teams (2 hour test session for 3-4 teams that signed upto it, a hour free practice for everyone & then 1 lap qualifying) & 1 lap qualifying was brought in, Both to mix up the show a bit after Ferrari’s dominance in 2002. For the 1st few races of 2003 the rule changes achieved that goal & things were a bit more mixed up, However after a couple of races everyone adjusted to the changes & you saw a lot less of the unpredictability seen in some of the initial races.

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