Lando Norris, McLaren, Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, 2018

Should F1 reduce practice during race weekends?

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Formula 1 race weekends are spread across four days, three of which involve on-track activity. Before qualifying begins, each driver has had up to four hours’ practice time.

Teams take full advantage of that running to gather tyre data, race pace, and complete qualifying simulations. They have ample opportunity to prepare – but does that ultimately make for good racing?

At last year’s United States Grand Prix heavy rain essentially meant drivers conducted little meaningful running in first and second practice. Sunday saw one of the liveliest races of the year, which was voted the best of the season by RaceFans readers. Was that a coincidence?

And as Liberty Media considers possible changes to the race weekend format for the 2020 F1 season, should they look at reducing the amount of practice to create better racing?

For

Reducing the amount of practice would reduce costs, as teams would require fewer tyres and rack up less of the other costs associated with running F1 cars. Removing a day or more from the schedule would also cut the amount of time team staff spend away from home.

Giving drivers and teams less time to practice could also add to the unpredictability of race outcomes. Teams would have less data and, crucially, less time to process it and conduct simulations if the 48-hour window between the start of practice and the race was cut.

Against

F1 has always been about the pursuit of the ultimate in performance. The current format gives the teams ample time to get the best out of their cars.

It also increases the amount of on-track action for fans who attend the race to watch. This is some promoters would be unwilling to give up easily.

Teams may also be less likely to give practice chances to young up-and-coming drivers if the amount of practice during a race weekend was cut.

I say

Reducing the level of practice in F1 would be an all-around win considering it would help address such significant problems such as rising costs and predictability. Though it is unlikely to completely fix either problem it would be a small and simple move in the right direction.

The added benefit of easing the burden on team staff is another reason why F1 should seriously consider it.



You say

Should F1 cut the amount of practice during race weekends? Cast your vote below and have your say in the comments.

Should F1 reduce the amount of practice time at each race weekend?

  • Strongly agree (22%)
  • Slightly agree (24%)
  • Neither agree nor disagree (4%)
  • Slightly disagree (16%)
  • Strongly disagree (33%)
  • No opinion (0%)

Total Voters: 227

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Josh Holland
USA-based Josh joined the RaceFans team in 2018. Josh helps produce our Formula 1 race weekend coverage, assists with our social media activities and...

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Posted on Categories 2019 F1 season articles, Debates and Polls

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  • 72 comments on “Should F1 reduce practice during race weekends?”

    1. I suppose it’d save on having to go and watch on a Friday (+extra night stay)?
      But big teams will just compute their way out, increasing field spread. Which I thought we’d agreed was bad.
      So it’d have to be part of a bigger package, including cost and CPU caps.

      1. @falken I too think reduced practice will just help the big teams and increase field spread.

        1. @balue, it also begs the question of which audience is being prioritised in this situation, as in this case there is a potential conflict between those who want to go to the circuit to watch the practise sessions and those who are potentially watching events on TV and might not be that interested in the practise sessions.

          It might inject some short term variability – although, as noted in the article able, they didn’t even prove a causal link in the example of the US GP – but, over time, I agree that it is a situation where the top teams could then potentially throw resources at the problem and things probably would normalise themselves fairly quickly.

          Also, there is only so much variability that people seem to want to accept in their races – once you start having a bit too much variability and randomness in the races, people can quickly turn if they feel that it is too arbitrary and they start to believe that driver skill isn’t being rewarded. That tipping point can be quite quickly reached – I wonder whether, if we had a season which was as variable as some have been in the past, we would like it quite as much as we might think we would, or if it might soon reach a point where we started seeing the variability as being too random and it started being seen as too capricious and arbitrary.

          1. Interesting post, as usual anon.
            On your last paragraph, thinking back to the first third of 201 whuth teams being unpredictability fortuitously good/bad with the Tyres on a weekend, and even the 2013 tyre induced unpredictability, or fragile Pirelli complaints ever since, no indeed, for many that would not be agreeable at all!

          2. Steven Van Langendonck
            11th February 2019, 13:01

            This is exactly what I have been thinking for some time.
            We got away from the melting “thermal deg” tires because they were too random an spoiled the race.
            In my mind more and more things in F1 have been designed to be purposefully finicky. Which is for me no replacement for a hard fought competition. And even not for a one sided competition.
            And now the competition is finally heating up these kind of measures only spoil the fun. With an added chance of making the competition one sided once more.

        2. I agree. With the lack of actual testing the teams use Practice to improve their cars. If they can not do that then it makes it even more likely that the teams with great cars at the start will never be caught. The teams more likely to get a good car at the start are the big teams with large resources.

          If they are going to reduce practice they need to increase testing and I assume that is more expensive as they have to ship out specially as opposed to Practice where they are already at the track. Perhaps they could run fridays practice the wrong way around the track so that the teams still get data on their cars performance upgrades but the drivers do not get to drive the track properly?

      2. Why can’t we have both? Shorter weekends and enough on track action.

        Maybe 3x 1 hour practice sessions on Saturday (preferably with a separate PU) and then Quali and the Race on Sunday.
        Shorter weekends for the teams; more action on track for the visitors; and maybe a tad more unpredictability with all being a bit shorter and condensed.

        1. Fridays could be test days run with different engines (to encourage running) and F1 hopefuls with little or no experience – maybe a pool of youngsters that qualify and get randomly assigned to a team for the weekend. Chance to promote female participation? Maybe less running time allocated to championship leaders to try concertina the field up?

          Friday could also be a day to open the paddock to public, get school children it etc. to promote the track from a grass roots level.

          Saturday the serious running happens and its back to business for the big boys.

    2. I don’t think it’s the practise that’s the problem, it’s the endless simulation work the teams do in the background at the factory etc. If I ran F1 I would say goodbye to simulators and computer simulation.

      1. Removing computation and these tools from the sport would kill it.

        Many of the teams have significant interest in the sport due to the interest in technology development. While other teams, such as Redbull, Williams, and McLaren rely on the expertise developed to generate revenue from other markets using their capabilities. Not to mention the 1000’s of engineers that would be out of a job.

        I think it is foolish for anyone to think that it would improve both the health of the sport or excitement by taking away the key design tools of the teams.

        1. Magnus Rubensson (@)
          10th February 2019, 20:41

          Agree with Conor above.
          I would even like to take it further and see F1 as a series for unlimited development (Formula Libre, if you like):

          Very simplified:
          1) minimum/maximum weight
          2) minimum/maximum measurements
          3) minimum/maximum tyre dimensions
          4) possibly engine specs (think “modern version of the Cosworth V8”)

          Within these stipulated measurements, weights and power specs, teams can then build what they want.
          And NO copyright:
          When someone comes up with a brilliant idea and wins a race unexpectedly, it will only take a few races until others will copy that idea. Should be interesting to see what the engineers can come up with.

          1. In yachting we call that a box rule. Race what you design/build as long as it fits inside the box limits.

            So want to race a 2000hp car, you will need very wide back tires to put power to the ground, however the limitations of the box rule means they protrude inwards massively and leave no room for driveshafts, suspension,etc.

            You will find an optimum power to box rule limitation pretty quickly.

            Best ever rule in yachting was those governing early 18 footer yachts in Sydney.

            There were only two rules. Boats must be no longer than 18 feet and the racing starts at 2 o’clock every Sunday.

      2. +1 THIS. The amount of on track time is already too low IMO (especially for rookie/inexperienced drivers). I love watching practice, i love exciting races; they don’t have to be mutually exclusive.

        1. This. F1 racing has consistently evolved in such a way that it removes decision making, input, from the driver. The more simulation, the more refined and predetermined the outcome is. We want to watch the drivers tame the beast that is their car on their own and interact with the other drivers on the track in an analog, not digital way. I would add that things like engine modes should be removed as well. Let the driver use their right foot to manage the engine. Make the machine as fast as it can safely be, let the driver manage it.

          1. Stop saying ‘We want’. I don’t want anything you said. I want more computers and tech. Drivers already give input on how the car is designed and set up, removing that would be counter-productive. F1 to me is about advancing technologies not going backwards. How about making the drivers hand crank the cars on the grid and change their own tyres at pit stops? Where does your time machine stop?

            1. I seriously doubt drivers have any input on how the car is designed except for maybe saying they can’t see with the mirrors. Part of the problem re simulators is that in season testing is effectively banned so simulators are needed to test suspensions, etc. Maybe allowing some private in season testing would be useful.

      3. Good points, everyone in this thread. Not sure how to stop it, but surely that is the bigger problem.

        And the big teams have more means to work against unpredictability, so any track time reduction, without other measures, would be likely to increase their advantages.

    3. Friday practices used for junior/reserve drivers only?

      1. @jb784 you can put the young/reserve drivers in cars on friday but not at the expense of the f1 race drivers as there who we are there to see.

        if they were to make fridays for young drivers or reserve drivers only then i just wouldn’t bother attending the friday running and going off how small friday attendance was 15 odd years ago when the race drivers didn’t run much on fridays i would guess that hardly anybody else would either.

        1. I’m the opposite. I love watching the kids take their turn.

          And with the F1 drivers having a few extra free hours, they could extend and improve the currently useless autograph sessions to a point where people who bother to show on Friday can actually meet their favourite drivers.

          1. They’re alreadyinh competiting in F2 & F3. It’d make more sense had they not been.

          2. I like this idea too. Leave P3 for the race drivers, but P1 & P2 restricted to future stars would still let the teams run and give them test data, just not as good as they would get from more experienced drivers, and give the young guns time in F1 cars that they desperately need.

        2. F1 fans are very knowledgeable and would appreciate seeing the other drivers getting a chance. It could even become a highlight of the weekend.

      2. i literally would never watch those practice sessions if that was the case; probably would also significantly compromise every teams quali/race setup(s).

    4. The grid should always be in reverse order to current championship standings, with first race following last season. Newcomers placed at front.

      1. That’s an interesting thought, then you don’t need to have a Qualifying session either, so the starting order at every race is the same. I think there’d be a lot of resistance to that. It doesn’t allow for cars to improve relative to others through the season.
        My concern with a reversed order starting system is you would probably have faster cars at the rear of the grid and slower ones at the front, creating the risk of more crashes than what we currently do, or you’d have situations where a driver feels the risk to overtake is more than what it’s worth, e.g. say Hamilton was stuck behind Magnussen, he might decide it was better to wait for Magnussen to pit for new tyres instead of risking overtaking him. In fact I think that did happen at one race last year, where Hamilton was stuck behind Verstappen and he decided to wait for Verstappen to pit before he took the lead of the race. While crashes can appear entertaining, they are actually dangerous, expensive, deprive fans of good racing, and are really a sign of failure: A race shouldn’t have crashes in it. Cars should be retired because of mechanical issues, not because there was a collision. So a good starting order has the fastest cars at the front and the slowest at the rear.
        A variation on the idea of not having a Qualifying session is to use the results of the previous race to determine the grid. I suspect this won’t appeal to Liberty Media because it means less advertising revenue for the broadcaster.
        Yes, there are flaws with the current format, but it seems to be better than other formats.

    5. I’d be against reducing practice too much as I love watching the practice sessions as it’s the only time during a weekend where you can actually just watch the cars, Switch between the various OnBoard feeds & analyze/compare how cars are handling, What drivers are doing differently in terms of lines, input etc…

      You can’t really just sit back & watch/enjoy the cars, Or watch the OnBoard feeds during qualifying or the race as you need to be paying more attention to lap times, Who’s in the knockout zone, race standings, gaps, pit strategy among other things.

      I also question if reducing practice would even do anything to improve the racing or even cost’s over the longer term as teams would just put resources into other ways to get the data. I also don’t feel it’s fair to reduce track time for the drivers, Especially rookies who may be visiting some circuits for the first time.

      Teams/drivers running has been reduced enough over the past decade thanks to the testing ban & on the whole I don’t feel reducing there track time more via less practice is a positive thing overall.

      1. Well put @stefmeister, I tend to feel quite similar.

    6. Cancelling a practice session or two would save time and money, and I guess that is a valid argument. But it would hardly be a crucial step in ‘improving racing’ and making Formula 1 more attractive in general. Overly aero-sensitive cars, volatile tyre compounds, and uneven revenue distribution are the main issues that have been debated for decades now…yet the people in charge remain unable or unwilling to seriously address them.

      1. I agree, if the argument is that the money saved will bring teams closer together it’s one i think is valid, but it’s an illusion to think racing gets better with less track time. The F1 world is full of extremely smart people, they will find a way to get the data.

        The cynical side of me thinks they want less practise to do more races in a year, but this way it “looks” like they want to improve racing, while they actually just want more money from the extra races.

    7. F1 needs spec chassis and BOP to be proper racing exciting. Right now it’s saving light is that it is still the ‘fastest’ formula around a race track, yet it can still be be the fastest with spec and BOP. Also get rid of these heavy, crap sounding power units. F1 seemed more exciting in 90s and 2000s, even if slower than today and just as dull racing, because the light weight cars were so nimble, they just plain looked fast on track, and sounded fast, and that was ‘exciting’. A hybrid non turbo high revving v8 or straight 6 would have been more exciting than what we have now. Forget fuel saving, they still use 100kg of fuel over 300km, that’s nothing close to road car relevance, that’s close to big bore 1960s American muscle car relevance. Even Mercedes road cars are switching from v6 to straight 6. Make f1 exciting by getting rid of manufacturers having power in the sport.

      1. BOP is the opposite of proper racing.

      2. kpcart, to many, the vision that you are describing sounds more like the sort of thing that would rapidly bring on the destruction of the sport by ripping out everything that makes it unique in the first place and turning it into little more than just another generic racing series.

        As for “Balance of Performance”, I can only assume that you’ve never looked at the absolute minefield that the ACO’s “Balance of Performance” regulations have been over the past few years.

        For many years now, a lot of parties to the BOP system have complained that it’s encouraged manufacturers to instead seek ways to cheat the BOP system – especially when a new car model is introduced and there are no references for their performance, resulting in cars that are miles faster than anything else (many saying that Ford’s behaviour in 2016 was perhaps the most blatant example of a manufacturer abusing the BOP regulations).

        You can, however, also have the opposite issue, where a new entrant is hit especially hard by the BOP system and isn’t at all competitive – BMW are reportedly so angry at their new M8 being hit so aggressively under the BOP system that they are considering quitting at the end of their first season.

        There was also an interesting article on the dailysportscar site that showed that BOP regulations can have noticeably different impacts on different drivers – for example, a small weight penalty could, in some situations, have a fairly similar impact, but in others it could see drivers time change by quite significant margins.

        Even in the DPi class, which does effectively have a spec chassis, the arguments over the BOP rules have often been a detriment to the sport given that, instead of focussing on the racing, most of the discussions end up in arguments over how balanced the “Balance of Performance” really is.

        1. Exactly, anon.

          What makes F1 exciting is the unbalance of performance. The design race for optimum performance is a huge part of the appeal for me.

          Reduce practice time, eliminate simulations and race team data centers. But why stop there?

          If F1 wants to make the ‘playing field’ more even, just ban Ferrari, RBR and Merc right now. Hand the trophies to Renault and the 2 other Renault-powered teams. Then we can enjoy Williams-Renault back on the podium battling hard in 6 car field.

          Is all this format twisting, rule-tweaking just a setup by Liberty for an international spec series where the only real winners are Liberty shareholders?

      3. F1 needs spec chassis

        No it doesn’t

        1. @johnrkh: Agree.

          A spec chassis is a guarantee that the same chassis wins every race. Only the paint would be different. Spec racing is the most authoritarian version of racing dominance.

    8. If the number of races increases reducing the amount of practice session is logical.
      But give only teams with a second of more performance deficit to the top, the choice for a extra practice session.

    9. I voted for ‘Strongly disagree.’ As I’ve pointed out before, reducing the amount of practice running might, at first, produce less predictable races, and more precisely strategies, but in the long-term, things would eventually revert to how they are with the current amount of practice time. Furthermore, it’d also be rather pointless to cut-off track running due to how limited on-track testing has been for approximately ten years now. Yes, the US GP not only last season, but also in 2015, as well as, the Russian GP the same season were decently exciting, and were all followed by limited track running on the Friday due to weather conditions, etc., but not all of the modern classics have featured less than normal practice running in the practice sessions of the same GP weekend, so if anything, it’s more coincidental than anything else. The argument about attending fans getting less track action to watch also serves to support keeping the GP weekend format as it is, which, in the end, isn’t broken anyway. Christian Horner has also pointed out once, I think, it was in a Friday press conference in Mexico either in 2016 or ’17, that it’d perhaps be a bit useless to travel, for example, all the way to somewhere like Australia for the sake of only two days of track running. That’s also a valid argument. Would it really be worth it to travel half the world for so little value?

    10. The reason why too much practice has a negative effect because it allows teams to collect so much data that there are never any surprises. So the amount of practice is not the problem but the amount of data. This massive amount of data that is being collected is not just harmful for racing because it makes things more predictable but it also drives the costs up. Big teams have massive second teams analyzing the endless amounts of data, doing predictions and testing different scenarios and building models. Doing it live and then after the events.

      My solution is to limit how much data teams can collect. This can be done in many ways. We can introduce a standard data collection unit that simply limits the amount of data channels or bandwidth or diskspace. Or we can limit how much data the car can send and receive per lap, per second. Or you can go more deep into it and limit how much data collecting you can record from different parts from the car. Naturally the power unit is once again problematic because it pretty much requires a link to the mama computer to run at all. So the power unit might need its own set of data collection rules.

      Doing that we would have two positive effects. First of all it equalizes the teams as simply having a huge data analysis team is not an instant win anymore. You need to analyze the smaller amount of data intelligently instead of simply throwing more money and people at it to get better. With limited amount of data the person looking at it matters more than how many. And secondly it would encourage teams to drive more in the sessions. This is a positive for the fans who have come to watch the sessions. As running the car becomes more important for data gathering you need to go out more but you still end up with less data compared to now so smart people can find performance.

      Sadly the f1 is going the other way. With pirelli wanting to add more sensors to the tires the teams simply need bigger data analysis teams and the chances of any surprises becomes smaller and smaller.

      1. @socksolid

        We can introduce a standard data collection unit

        They already have.

        The data acquisition system on the cars is a standard unit supplied by the FIA & all of the data (And team radio communications) is transmitted by the FOM control unit (The T-cam unit on the roll hoop) through the FOM fibre network thats setup around the circuit.

        This was done to ensure the FIA/FOM had access to everything as well as ensure total coverage around the circuit as when teams were using there own systems they often had dark spots in places around the circuit where reception was poor. It also has the benefit of reducing the amount of RF signals in use which is something that used to be a nightmare at times.

        1. So given that @gt-racer,would it be possible, and useful, do you think, to limit the amount of data teams are allowed to collect during practice?

          I do wonder how that would play with the new ‘Amazon enhanced’ graphics Brawn/FOM were/are planning to introduce, given those are presumably based on analysis of exactly that data.

      2. I agree it would be better to limit the information that teams can acquire on the race weekend to preserve practice running for the fans.

        But a simpler and more flexible way to limit the useful data the teams can acquire would be to restrict the available tyre compounds during practice. F1 could keep the softer compounds off-limits, or only offer a single set of them, or institute a lap limit, or only allow them in FP3, or only allow development drivers to run them—the options are endless.

        IndyCar has run variations on this—I think they currently limit the soft alternates to a single set in one practice session—and that helps quite a bit to preserve the intrigue going into qualifying and the race.

    11. all reducing practice sessions would do is take track time away from fans who are there to see f1 race drivers in f1 race cars. when i attend an f1 race weekend i want to see as much f1 track running as possible so reducing it just makes me less likely to attend.

      the practice sessions are also a good opportunity to walk around the track and see the cars from different places. it is a more relaxed thing than the more crucial sessions where you want to be in your seats and paying attention to the qualifying times and race order.

      1. Steve W (@westcoastboogaloo)
        10th February 2019, 14:42

        100% agree with this. Fans already are concerned with the cost of attending a GP as well as the cost of watching on SKY. Reducing the on track running is diluting the value for money fans get out of the sport.

    12. When people say F1 should be more unpredictable, what I don’t think they mean is F1 should be more random.
      The current weekend format usually produces racing and results that reflect the actual competitive order. If the grid is competitive, there’s a good chance the racing will be competitive. If it isn’t, it probably won’t be. Reducing practice is supposed to increase the element of random chance in determining the racing and results. With teams (randomly) getting more things wrong, because they have to make less educated decisions, this could make F1 appear more competitive than it actually is. If teams don’t just manage, at vast expense, to improve their simulation tools so that they can continue to do the same work behind closed doors, that is.
      To me that’s entirely the wrong approach.
      Problems should be tackled at the root, and F1 is already doing this with their plans for a more equitable distribution of funds, the introduction of a budget cap, and new technical regulations. Why then, do they feel the need to throw in modifiers to prevent teams from getting the most out of their cars and drivers? Fans will get to see less running – of course, without paying less for the privilege in TV subscription fees or tickets. At the track, FP sessions are great for going around the track and seeing the cars from different perspectives. At home, FP sessions are great for catching up with what’s been happening in F1 and for seeing the cars in action with the camerawork less focused on maximising sponsorship exposure than during qualifying and the race.
      For me, chaos and random chance are no substitute for the unpredictability resulting from a genuinely competitive grid. I’ll gladly accept genuinely boring races every now and then if I get genuinely exciting races in return. I feel the kind of unpredictability resulting from chaos and random chance gets tired very quickly. Although, even uneventful races would not be quite as boring to watch if FOM would be more willing to give up some sponsorship exposure in order to better convey the insane speed of the cars. Seeing F1 cars blasting around a track should be entertaining in itself, but on TV is rarely is. FOM have announced intentions to improve in this regard more than once, but in the end the desire to maximise sponsorship exposure always prevents significant improvements.

    13. I was actually thinking an option where Friday would be changed from two 90-minute sessions to three 60-minute sessions. On the first one, race driver may not take part and teams can use their reserve and test drivers.

    14. People keep emphasizing Formula 1 as a show. Yes it, is a show. But first and foremost, it is a sport.

      The FIA was right to limit in season testing (but I would prefer to see more of it) — both as a means to cut costs and reduce the strain on on-track personnel. But if they were really serious on such issues, then they should be lookng to cut down the number of races from 21 to around 17 or 16. I think the season goes on too long, and fans (hardcore and casual alike) tend to suffer from fatigue due to the :”overbooking of events”.

      For starters, cut races that add no real value (other than monetary) in terms of market/sponsorship access and fanbase (i.e. fans of host country enriching the culture and heritage of F1). While FOM’s continued efforts to bring F1 to new markets is admirable (look how Singapore became an instant classic), it needs to accept that F1 will always be a Euripean sport; and will be most nurtured and loved in Europe (along with Japan and select Latin American countries that have F1 engrained in their culture).

      Top of mind, I can’t think of any other sport that spends so much energy trying to limit the practice/training time of its athletes with regards to their direct profession (e.g. NBA teams have their players play against each other in-between games to stay sharp, whereas boxers spar with other world class established/up and coming fighters in the months/weeks prior to a fight). What’s worse, you’ve got these so alled “fans” actually goading the FIA to implement stricter regulations to further limit the ability of F1 drivers to hone their craft.

      I must admit, F1 races have been more boring since the start of the V6 hybrid era. Yes, as shallow as it is, part of it has to do with how “quiet” the sport has become (due to the new power units). But more of it to do with the high degredation tires and the shift in 2017 to build faster more aerodynamically aggressive cars (a step in the right direction, I think. But the FIA and teams just went waaaaay too far into it).

      BUT F1 races have always (strongly) leaned to being processional than action packed. Sure, there are usually only 2-3 topsy-turvy, drama filled and/or highly competitive races in a year, but that doen’t mean the majority of that make up the other races add no value to the quality of the season (e.g. in 2010, only really exciting races were Australia and Turkey. But as processional and/or lacking in action the other races were, they played a big part in what made the 2010 season highly competitive and memorable).

      As for development, F1 will always be an arms race: the unfortunate downside of it not being a single make series. But at the same time, the very reason it is known as the pinacle of motor racing. The high costs attributed to car development will mean uneven competition and a revolving door of entrants/teams. Since the sport’s inception in 1950, only Ferrari has soldiered on; ditto for Williams and McLaren since the 1970s. While names like Mercedes, Lotus, Honda and Renault have all left and come back again under different roles and guises).

    15. Sou why not reduce race week only for the race with starting positions made by draw?

      It is totally nonsense I would prefer to have more practice sessions, up to 4 of 5.

    16. I slightly disagree. Although I do see the possible positive effect I don’t think this is the best way to accomplish this.

    17. Eliminating Friday sessions would negatively impact the fans that show up at the circuit and may in fact be a reason why some fans stop going to the events. It would also have a negative impact on the support events as I’m sure they wouldn’t want to be on track to a venue full of empty seats.
      It’s interesting to see all the “solutions” to capturing that mythical beast of a fully competitive field. One need only look at series like IndyCar and NASCAR to see that even with a largely spec series, the organizers have to resort to full course caution periods to close up and “randomize” the field. Probably the easiest and less “invasive” solution for F1 would be to follow suit and put the circuits under a full course caution for the slightest of things. Combine that with the re-introduction of re-fueling (I’m not a fan of re-fueling but it would increase the chances of a mixed up field when a full course caution is imposed) and we’ll have close racing and unexpected results.

    18. If you reduce the grand prix weekend to two days for paying spectators at the track, you would have to reduce the hosting fee paid by the organising body by something like 25%. Why? Because the principal revenue stream for the organisiers is by selling tickets to spectators at the track.
      Literally, posteriors on seats.
      And if there are fewer days when the organisers can sell seats, then the amount they can pay for the race goes down – it’s either that or the price of the seats on the remaining two days needs to go up by about 33%.
      So as I can’t see Liberty taking a voluntary income reduction of 25% OR Liberty adding in another 6 or so races to cover their income shortfall OR spectators swallowing a hefty rise in ticket cost . . . I think it will stay exactly as it is.

      1. Finally some sense here. The host track only gets money from bums in the seats. Not from on-track signage or TV revenues (as far as I understand). They won’t want to cut out a portion of their take.
        If they want to cut costs associated with time away from home base, cut out the Thursday promotional stuff. The teams and drivers could cut out at least one day, possibly two at the expense of hosting VIPs and dignitaries.
        We all know that won’t happen.

    19. It looks to like Liberty are looking at was to reduce their own costs in staffing at events.

      As@velocityboy and @nickwyatt have pointed out Friday practice fill seats, sells tickets for the venue for entry grandsands (in some cases) camping, hotels, catering, concessions.
      As is very well known, the venues make a huge loss in hosting Grand Prix and spend most of the year trying to make up the loss, hence Silverstone, Spa, the German venues, the French and now Italian circuits are on a knife edge. Only those that receive government help are in decent shape.

      Let us not forget that it was not long ago that Liberty were talking of week long festivals around the GP, now they want to reduce it?

      I will say it again, the FIA is the official rule making body, not the Commercial rights lessee!

      Here is another factor that may be relevant, the attendees at races form a very small percentage of the world audience. What are they claiming now 30 million? and say a max of 150,000 at the circuit? that’s 5% As FTA tv is imposed the percentage rises (as the tv audience falls overall) but the number is still very small. But without the venues there is no race.

    20. Given the restrictions on testing, how are teams able to test new parts and test correlation data. They do it in FP1.

      If Liberty and the teams want to reduce costs, the solution is simple. Reduce the number of races.

      The costs and strain on the teams is not really the 4 days, it’s the number of 4 days it has to pack into the season, particularly triple headers and double headers.

      Reducing the amount of time on track will not only alienate the paying punters, but will hand the bigger teams even more advantages. Just check the gaps after the first couple of sessions and see which ones are most likely to hit the ground running ( unless one of those is testing a new set of wings/floors etc and checking data)

      If this is the sort of innovation we’re to expect from Liberty, it’s little wonder some of us are beginning to dispair a little.

    21. I would support reducing practice but only if it was replaced with other on track action. Some of the races seem to offer a paltry amount of ‘show’ for paying ticket holders as it is.

      The BTCC events used to be absolutely packed with other racing and it really made the day.

    22. When I attend a circuit during an F1 weekend i’m there to see F1 cars & want to see them doing as much running as possible.

      Reducing F1 practice & therefore the opportunity for paying fans to see what there paying to see should not be an option!!!

      If they were to end up reducing practice running I would simply stop attending race weekends as i’d see it as less worth my time, especially since practice sessions offer an opportunity to walk the track and see the cars go through different parts of the circuit.

      1. I agree @rogera. From where I live attending an F1 weekend is a minimum spend of A$2000 (Melbourne) and upwards of $15000 for (Singapore or Suzuka) – yes I take family with me.

        Less running means it’s a bad deal for me to attend so if it’s just two days running then I’m out.

        I go to watch every session as all have their place in the chess game of the weekend.
        And I really can’t see massive cost savings to the teams. Anyone done the maths on that?

    23. Yeah, cut down friday running. Be done. We need more unpredictability.

      Imagine Mercedes find out 1h before quali, that their setup is rubish… They can only do so much before practice and quali.

      Right now if teams ran in to friday trouble their factory team would run all night to fix it.

      Without that, we would have better entertainment on Sunday..

    24. Keep sessions as they are but give teams lower than 3rd in the championship an extra hour practice. Mandate that extra hour for reserve drivers. Increase tyre allocation accordingly (each team with the extra hour gets 2 extra sets of the hardest tyre available per car so they aren’t penalised). Would that help close the gap?

    25. A race w/end is not just about F1. The other series’ that are there practice Friday and race on Saturday and Sunday, so the track and all the facilities are going to be required and manned. Without F1 and its fans being there on Friday, then my guess it becomes less affordable for the owners and we will see more races closing never to be seen again.

      And as others have said it will probably do nothing for the gap between the rich and poor teams or for novices at new tracks.

      And for the fans, Friday is the best day to wonder round the track and take your photo’s and video’s without focusing on where every body is in either the quali or race standings.

    26. So in the poll what is the difference between neither agree or disagree and no opinion?

      Personally I like the race weekend the way it is.

      This really isn’t the best way for Liberty Media to show it is not the same as the old boss

    27. I’d be against reducing practice time. Yes, last years US Grand Prix was hugely entertaining and we owe much of that to the team’s getting a lot less practice than normal. But I’ll emphasise, they had a lot less practice than normal.

      F1 needs to give its teams more credit; there are some pretty smart people in them. If the practice times are reduced, they’ll adapt like they always do.

      The 2010 Canadian GP was another thriller brought on by unforeseen circumstances, and F1 spent the next half decade trying to replicate those circumstances. After a few races, the teams figured it out, and we ended up with races that were no more entertaining than they were before, except drivers had to drive at 80% so to maximise the fragile tyres. They adapted and overcame the new obstacles just like they will if practice is reduced, and within half a season the net impact will be pretty much nil.

      I also don’t buy the argument that it will reduce costs. The big teams won’t see this as a money-saving opportunity, they will just redirect their funds elsewhere, just as they did when in-season testing was banned. With less practice, I can see them just pouring more resources into simulators, which will obviously disadvantage smaller teams that can’t afford the best simulators. The 4 hours of track time before a Grand Prix are just about the only resource that is equally available to all teams. Changing that will not make things easier for the small teams, it will do the opposite.

    28. I only say no because friday practice is the only time I go to the track. Less of that will make me sad. Qually and race are better seen on broadcast and are too expensive for me…

    29. This will not make a difference with respect to predictability.

      F1 teams are exceptionally adept at adapting to change. Yes, in the event that this reduction is passed into policy, the initial races or perhaps the first half of season in question may be unpredictable, after that, the general order will follow. The teams that have bigger budgets will come out on top, because they with throw money at finding ways to improve their simulation. F1 Engineers always find a way.

    30. Reducing practice sessions would be the most foolish thing they could do. People spend big money to go and see an event – for most people this is once a year, for some once in a lifetime. People want to see the cars in operation for as long as they can.

      As for more exciting racing based on COTA – remember when we had that great Canadian race that JB won and then we went to rice paper tyres because of the racing it was going to produce… remember how that turned out?

      1. @guybrushthreepwood

        remember when we had that great Canadian race that JB won and then we went to rice paper tyres

        JB won the 2011 race which was a wet/dry race.

        It was the 2010 race that featured unusually high tyre wear which they tried to copy by introducing the high-deg concept with Pirelli’s entry to F1 for 2011.

    31. No, the sessions are fine as they are, fix the cars to make the racing better.

    32. Reduce to single practice session. Allocate practice time in the reverse of WCC standings. Lowest 3 teams get full 2hrs if they want, next few get less time, … , top 3 teams get 5 laps to shakedown car.

    33. I have a solution: – scrap all testing, all practise and all races, then draw lots for the winners; thus cutting costs right down and increasing upredictability.
      Alternatively if tweeking rules to promote competition is a sensible approach we should adopt the same approach in other ‘sports’. Let’s fix sprinting so that talent like Usain Bolt won’t win so often, maybe only allowing practise every third Thursday; and change football rules because ManU wins too often; so have the winnning team playing with their legs tied together in the next match. It’s also getting really annoying that Djokovitch has won so often at tennis, let’s make tennis players practise without a raquet while wearing only one shoe.
      You know it makes sense :).

    34. I’ve got a better idea. Totally eliminate practice. Instead of qualifying, the drivers can draw a number out of a hat. We’re spoiling the drivers by letting them actually get accustomed to driving the car before the race. We certainly don’t want any newcomers to F1 to have the vaguest idea of how to drive an F1 car before the race– so we should eliminate young driver testing as well.

      Finally, for ultimate unpredictability, Pirelli should hide a bomb inside a randomly chosen tire for each race weekend.

      Sarcasm aside, once again, these are changes that will hurt younger drivers, and smaller teams. The bigger teams with the more experienced drivers will simply run even more complex simulations, and show up far better prepared for racing than the smaller teams with less experienced drivers.

      It’s almost like the people coming up with these artificial ways to “improve the racing” haven’t been watching F1– EVER. The more difficult you make things, the more you benefit the teams with deep pockets, and the worse the racing gets.

      You want closer racing? DON’T CHANGE ANYTHING FOR 3 YEARS!!!! Let the smaller teams catch up with the bigger teams. Let the grid equalize out a bit.

      Honestly, looking back through the last 18 years, the performance gap between first and last in Q1 early in the season has been pretty consistent, with a few oddities– 2009 (1.1 seconds), and and 2006 (8.1 seconds) both at Australia. The racing these days is pretty good, we just don’t have the competitiveness from the midfield we need.

      Even in the past few years, “unpredictability” such as rained out Fridays hasn’t really shaken up the results– It’s still Ferrari, Red Bull or Mercedes.

      Banning mass dampers, FRIC, blown diffusers, exhaust-on-idle engine maps, coanda effect, wheel spinners, outwash aero (I predict)– all it’s done is made the racing worse. The “smaller” teams simply can’t keep up with the torrent of rule changes that are supposed to help them.

      The term “Engineered Insanity” certainly applies, but not the way Liberty and the FIA think it does.

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