Pierre Gasly, Red Bull, Baku City Circuit, 2019

‘One practice session is enough’ – Horner

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In the round-up: Red Bull team principal Christian Horner says Formula 1’s experience at the last race in Azerbaijan shows the sport does not need as many pre-race practice sessions.

What they say

Horner was asked whether the F1 race weekend could be reduced in length:

I think it depends on how many races we end up with. If we end up going more races then arguably we do need to maybe condense the time or maybe just have we saw one session worked well enough on Friday here, maybe one good session is the way to go and then parts and people can turn up a little bit later. One session is enough for the weekend.

Quotes: Dieter Rencken

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Comment of the day

Glenn isn’t sure Bottas has improved enough to beat the best in the business:

Clearly Bottas has made a very good start to the 2019 season. He is driving fast and qualifying nicely. There is evidence to suggest that he may be more of a threat to Hamilton this season than previous campaigns.

However – and it’s only my opinion – I only really see Bottas beating Hamilton when he is leading the race for the most part. He seems to have the ability to do only what is needed to stay at the front. I just don’t see him in a scenario where he is able to pass Hamilton too many times in a season. He was clearly more aggressive last time out in the opening lap or two but I haven’t seen any evidence to suggest that he has that “killer” instinct like Hamilton. If Hamilton is allowed to he will hunt you down to the bitter end. I just don’t see that same instinct in Bottas.

This is not a derogatory statement against Bottas. You have to keep in mind that Hamilton is, in my opinion (and I am not a big fan), the best darn driver in the current field and has been for some time. Racing, qualifying, leading, chasing. He has more chops than anyone else at this point in time.
Glenn (@Glennb)

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Keith Collantine
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  • 42 comments on “‘One practice session is enough’ – Horner”

    1. I do agree with members of the paddock when it comes to making practice shorter. Teams have so much info they don’t even need the 4 hours of practice.

      If I could change practice I’d just leave 1 Friday practice session (1h instead of 90 minutes though) and the one on Saturday. To compensate for the lack of F1 running, make practice sessions for feeder series slightly longer (1 hour instead of 45 minutes.
      You could even host a pitlane walk session with the drivers for fans on Friday afternoon after FP2

      1. @ofitus21 The problem with reducing (Or even completely removing) Friday practice is that it then makes it far less worthwhile to attend a race weekend, Especially those you have to travel outside your home country to get to.

        I’m there to see F1 drivers in F1 cars & want to see as much of that as possible & the thing that’s fantastic about Friday practice is that you can just watch the cars as well as walk the circuit to watch them from different places. When I attend a race weekend I always attend the Friday running because you have time to walk the circuit & watch at different corners which is something you really don’t want to be doing during qualifying or races when you need to be paying attention to laptimes, Race positions, strategy & all that.

        If they were to ditch Friday running or even reduce is too much then i’d be less likely to attend a race weekend given how much I love attending the Friday’s to just watch the cars from different places. A single 1 hour session wouldn’t give you the time to do that, I don’t even think a single 90 minute session would at some circuits.

        I’d much rather practice be left as it is, Gives the best overall value for fans attending the circuits. Reducing F1 runing just devalues the fan experience as far as i’m concerned!

      2. I agree that we have probably too much practice and the teams get more info than they can even use. I don’t think every race weekend for example needs to have same amount of practice. Some races like spanish gp or paul ricard don’t really need as much as practice as they have because those are also testing venues. Or at the same time one cold say for testing and validation purposes those races could have most amount of practice to give the teams more time to figure out issues on known and well understood venue. But on some tracks like monaco, spa and so forth it might make more sense to have as people may be more willing to watch the broadcasts and come to the track on those higher level events.

        I think it might be interesting idea to allow the race organizers to essentially choose which practice sessions are ran. They could run just one session or all three in any days they want. In the end the event organizers are probably the people who know best if they want more or less sessions to sell tickets. And if you are going to go watch f1 race you probably want to see as much action as possible which means more sessions is better. If the f1 weekend was just 3 sessions it might be more interesting to watch all sessions as they all matter whereas currently only hardcore fans really bother with fp1 and fp2. But if fp1 was the only practice sessions before qualifying and race it might work out better for spectators.

        I think f1 could also look into reducing the amount of data that is collected. That way you could keep all three 3 practice sessions while also making the sessions more useful. Reducing the mount of data would also take away some advantage from the big teams who have big data analysis teams to go over all the data. I don’t think that could happen though. Big teams won’t give away that advantage.

      3. Dropping sessions will just mean that problems like the drain in Baku will happen later in the weekend, and it will be no good for anyone if you just have a single session that ends up cancelled because of a faulty track (or more likely bad weather).

        The best way to cut the amount of practice would be to set a limit on the number of laps allowed for the whole of practice, maybe with lower scoring teams allowed more laps than higher scoring teams, but to severly limit the times when they are allowed to practice by reducing the number of sessions is not a good idea.

        1. Dropping sessions will just mean that problems like the drain in Baku will happen later in the weekend, and it will be no good for anyone if you just have a single session that ends up cancelled because of a faulty track (or more likely bad weather).

          Is that an issue though? The way I see it that first of all those kind of incidents are really rare. And if some race weekend is ran with a lot less practice then is there an issue? Using kimi’s words it is the same for everybody. These are supposed to be highest skill racing drivers and biggest budget racing teams. If practice is cut to minimum because of unforeseen events I see it more as a challenge than an obstacle for the race going forward. Doing the baku race with just 30 minutes practice + qualifying is not a disaster.

          1. There are reasons why they have a lot of time to practice and it would be unwise and actually very dangerous to severely reduce the amount of free practice time.

            1. I can’t really think of many reasons. The track should be safe before f1 cars drive on it and there should not be any surprises like the drain covers in baku. So track safety should not need cars to drive around to reveal any new dangers. Only reason I can think of is possible tire issues. Like indy ’05 and some more recent races

          2. @socksolid, @ofitus21 About that draincover, did you read the article about Williams hoping to be able to assess their (very much needed), after the draincover put paid to putting them on in Baku?

            The wider issue is likely to be that teams who are in a pretty good, or better, position do not need more practice; Maybe no top team really needs extra on track time even when they are not on top; But, smaller, mid- and lower field teams, like Williams and last years McLaren, 2016 (and 2019?) Haas, might very much need that time to dig out of their predicament.

            1. sorry Williams hoping to assess their updates

    2. Impressive PR-speek week for Horner. Has he become the Official F1 Voice of Authority?

      Kudos to Dieter for calling out RBR for their pay-per-view product marketing event.

      1. ColdFly (@)
        8th May 2019, 7:08

        RBR gave a free-of-charge response to Dieter’s tweet:

        Hey Dieter Rencken (@RacingLines and Racefans net) general access to the event is totally free! 😉 While limited grandstand seating is available for those who want an even better view of the tyre melting action 🍩🇿🇦 More here 👉

      2. @jimmi-cynic

        Impressive PR-speek week for Horner. Has he become the Official F1 Voice of Authority?

        Not in general, no. But this site is just two letters away from being rbracefans.net

    3. next year alone, half a billion people will have watched content generated by Veloce

      Bernie would be proud.

    4. I like that Vergne article, and I’m glad for him, but I don’t think he really understands games and esports. Those kind of articles I think do a disservice to the already complex tapestry of the competitive video game industry.

      You cant really just expect to invest in eSports and become the “Bernie of eSports”, it’s a ridiculous notion. There are plenty of organisations still around today that have been running tournaments while he was still in karts and probably had no idea about brood war, counterstrike or quake.

      And then theres the fact that the most successful esport franchises are by and large run or at least supported by the game developers themselves.

      If he really wanted to one day find himself in such a position he should be trying to find a way into the iRacing or rFactor development team or something, facilitating negotiations between them and Formula E, something like that.

      As it stands he’s just investing in a team, which is cool, lots of people with money to burn are doing it. But nothing really to warrant the crazy quotes in the article.

    5. I remember seeing Sam Bird disappear. Didn’t realize or give it too much thought at the time.

      But now I really want to know what his “management” could’ve said on his behalf that could’ve forced Toto to react with that decision, if in fact it was Toto’s alone.

      1. maybe it was “Toto, say auf wiedersehen to your Nazi balls” followed by an Intense shooting in a basement tavern near paris were merc negotiates contracts

      2. It was probably when they started that “Vice champion” nonsense. Toto knows they meant first loser (to the mighty Fabio Leimer)

    6. RIP Gilles

      What a talent

    7. I would support practice reduced to a single 90 min session on satday morning, making most races a two-day event. I would also like to see a short warm-up on Sunday to increase track action on the big day itself, but that is debatable.

      Certain races however could keep the two 90min Friday sessions to act effectively as test sessions, sitting outside of regulated component mileage. The natural ones would be:
      – Australia (first race of the season)
      – Spain (first race of the European season)
      – Monaco, Britain, Italy (because tradition & attendance supports it)
      – any new race added to the calendar that year

      1. ColdFly (@)
        8th May 2019, 7:21

        I’m a fan who typically visits the Friday sessions (and then skip the race to watch it on TV).
        But I’d agree with shortening the weekend by 1 day to help the team personnel.

      2. Dropping sessions will just mean that problems like the drain in Baku will happen later in the weekend, and it will be no good for anyone if you just have a single session that ends up cancelled because of a faulty track (or more likely bad weather).

        The best way to cut the amount of practice would be to set a limit on the number of laps allowed for the whole of practice, maybe with lower scoring teams allowed more laps than higher scoring teams, but to severly limit the times when they are allowed to practice by reducing the number of sessions is not a good idea.

    8. Daniel Sherman
      8th May 2019, 4:51

      The only reason Horner is running his mouth, is because he thinks less practice will hurt Merc & Ferrari more than it hurts Red Bull.

      1. Exactly. Nobody makes them actually go out onto the track during practice. If Horner thinks he doesn’t need it, I’d like to see him back the statement up by not running on a Friday.

    9. Eagerly looking forward to the performance those updates bring for Haas.
      The midfield does seem more competitive but feels redefined with Haas and Renault lagging behind the likes of STR and Mclaren. Not that it is a bad thing but we would like to see all teams improve and put up a fight.

      1. @webtel – nice points, and I agree.

    10. How about reducing the amount of practice time based on constructor position. Williams needs all the the testing/practice it can get, Mercedes less so.

      1. Indeed, from a sporting view that seems right. Though of course many fans also come to see the top guys on Friday.

    11. Come on Christian, stop being so rude.. You want to eliminate the only sessions during the weekend where Ferrari gets to be the fastest car.

    12. I left SA in 2010 and I know things have gotten more expensive since I last lived there, but R750 seems really excessive. I am a lawyer and I can tell you that I wouldn’t have been able to afford that on the salary I was being paid back then, which was fairly competitive (though I’m sure salaries have risen since then).

      Someone obviously did a quick calculation on a currency converter and said “yup, around GBP40 sounds about right” but I can assure you it isn’t. To compare the prices to international music concerts, when U2 played in Joburg the tickets started at R400…

      1. Thanks for putting those R750 in a perspective for those of us who are not too familiar with the SA currency there @geemac.

        That kind of money for just a demo, … I guess they base the price on the bang for buck of a can of their goo!

    13. Yes I would love to fork out the same amount of money to see less F1 action. Nothing worse than spending three hours friday having the freedom to walk round the track observing the cars at close quarters through the various corners.

      1. That is one of the biggest issues, indeed – fans and venues would need to be offered a solid alternative @riptide, and what better offer is there than being able to experience the cars live on that track, while times aren’t yet keeping your attention away from how they look on the track.

    14. I disagree with Horner. Once again, the current amount of practice sessions isn’t a problem. I (yet again) point out that, yes, reducing the amount of practice running on a GP weekend probably would, at first, make things less predictable, but in the long-term, they’d eventually revert to how they are with the current format as the teams would be able to find ways to get the same amount of info data via other methods instead to compensate for the reduced on-track running as Toto has pointed out. Then, there’s also the safety-aspect to take into account, which also has its limits as a couple of others have pointed out above. Drastically reducing practice running could potentially have unnecessary implications on safety, so I don’t think it’d be too wise on that front either.

      How can a gamer earn more than an actual F1-driver, LOL?
      An interesting article nevertheless, but still, slightly weird to see a driver being happy about leaving F1, the pinnacle of single-seater racing.

    15. I would be against them reducing practice as when i attend an f1 race weekend i am there to watch f1 drivers in f1 cars & want to see as much of that as possible so reducing or even dropping Friday running just makes it far less worthwhile spending money to travel to attend race weekends.

      On top of that during practice you don’t really have to be watching the laptimes, positions or anything like that so it’s the only time during the weekend when you can just watch & enjoy watching the cars. Additionally during Friday practice you have the time to walk about the track & watch from different places which is something you don’t really want to be doing during other parts of the weekend when you need to be watching the laptimes and things more closely.

      From the perspective of fans who attend the races reducing/dropping the Friday running just makes going to an F1 weekend less value for money, Especially if your having to spend money on travel to get there.

      The weekend format & amount of practice should remain as it is.

    16. Less practice time will hurt teams who are less well organised, teams with rookie drivers, teams with things to fix during practice.
      Teams have full programs of tests to conduct, every run is scheduled to measure something, or the effect of changing something.

      Reducing practice will lead to things not being tested, more failures, during qualy or during the race, more accidents of all sorts, in pits and on track.

      Again I mention Liberty’s original proposal to make F1 a week long festival, now they want to do the opposite. Reducing the number of races each year would bring the greatest benefit to the teams. Soon they will need double crews, most definitely next year. More races means increased costs for the teams, this should get them more money, but I bet it doesn’t.

    17. Red Bull appear to have given up on the car and are now concentrating all their energies on wining by PR.
      There was even a tv ad for Verstappen!

    18. I heard from some people that if Zandvoort gets an F1 deal they will modify tarzan to make it a better overtaking opportunity as well as lengthen the start/finish straight (By modifying both ends of it) in order to better accommodate DRS which i’ve heard from more than 1 person is now 90% likely to still be in F1 beyond 2021 with it now been viewed as a permanent part of F1 going forward.

      I have however also heard that Zandvoort may also been used as leverage to try & pressure circuits who’s contracts are coming up to accept the deals that Liberty are putting on the table. This is why they are heavily implying that Zandvoort could replace the Spainish Gp.

    19. @gt-racer

      DRS which i’ve heard from more than 1 person is now 90% likely to still be in F1 beyond 2021 with it now been viewed as a permanent part of F1 going forward.

      Oh joy :(

      Remember when it was sold to us as a temporary fix that would only be around a few years & which they would experiment with & not use on tracks that didn’t need it.

      So much for that.

      1. I suspected we were being lied to about DRS from the beginning, but it seems the more destructive DRS is, the less overtaking happens, the more the powers-that-be wish to keep it.

    20. Sure, one session is enough, but what if that one session gets cut short by a crash, bad weather or whatever. They might not have any running at all.

      Now there are 3 sessions and they often lose running during one or more sessions, but if there is an issue with the car they always have 2 more chances of getting at least some mileage.

      I can only wonder how much Horner will complain if he gets affected badly by this. I doubt he will even realize it was his own suggestion though.

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