Toto Wolff, Mercedes, Imola, 2020

Two-day weekend format isn’t suitable for every grand prix – Wolff

RaceFans Round-up

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In the round-up: Following Formula 1’s experiment with a two-day race weekend, Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff says three-day events should remain at grands prix which attract large audiences.

What they say

With a record 23 races on the 2021 F1 calendar, a two-day race weekend could reduce strain on teams but Wolff says it isn’t suitable everywhere:

I like it very much. It’s so compact, lots of adaptability needed. You just have to get the car in a good position straight from the get go and there’s not a long time to analyse data and run the simulator overnight. And in that respect is something new and I like it.

I don’t think it works for every track. There will be big races, hopefully, with a lot of spectators again, where a three day event makes a lot of sense.

I’m thinking about Melbourne and the amount of people there and the narrative, the content that we can provide around these tracks. So I don’t think it’s fit for everybody, but I think for here, it works really well.

Quotes: Dieter Rencken

Snapshot

Alexander Albon, Red Bull, Istanbul, 2020
Alexander Albon, Red Bull, Istanbul, 2020

Red Bull and AlphaTauri held a show run in Istanbul ahead of this weekend’s Turkish Grand Prix.

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Social media

Notable posts from Twitter, Instagram and more:

Comment of the day

Nikos asks if drivers are struggling to notice trackside signalling, after several incidents this season including a near-miss with marshals at Imola:

In Monza most of the drivers did not notice that the pit lane was closed and they only stayed out because they were notified by the pit wall.

Now we get this.

The drivers seem to find it increasingly difficult to notice what is going around the track (flag or no flag Stroll should have noticed the marshals and backed off) .

I think that they rely too much on the information they get from the pit wall. This is becoming a safety concern and should be addressed before anything bad happens.
Nikos

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Author information

Hazel Southwell
Hazel is a freelance journalist who roams the paddocks of Formula E, covering the technical and emotional elements of electric racing. Usually found at...

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  • 30 comments on “Two-day weekend format isn’t suitable for every grand prix – Wolff”

    1. I’d take Ben over David, every time.

      1. Yup. I was a huge fan of DC’s during his F1 career and his early commentary life alongside Martin Brundle, but his commentaries on C4 are becoming more and more cringy by the race.

        1. I think he meant David Croft! Lol.
          I share that opinion. I pay for Sky, but if I can’t watch the race live, I prefer to watch the C4 highlights instead, simply so I don’t have to put up with David Croft.

          1. I completely agree with this. I much prefer the C4 highlights as I don’t have to put up with the Sky commentary. Ben Edwards will be a real loss to them and us.

        2. New drinking game: drink every time DC says either ‘indeed’, ‘gonnae’ or uses yoda-like phasing such as “it’s a much faster one, the lap”

      2. Could this be a trend? Could Crofty be next? Please…

      3. Just do the Alex and Alex on the PLC. I’m watching on the Pit Lane Channel from F1TV since this year and believe me I unsubscribed to Canal + (France) it was getting boring to hear the same old stuff and the relative support to à nationality.

        Alex Jacques and Alex Brundle, plus Sam Collins are the real deal.

        Spot-on commentaries, they see every move, follow every gap, chosen words and no shouting for nothing.

    2. Echo the sentiments on Ben Edwards.

      Real shame he’s quitting F1 commentary.

      1. +1, F1 has had some real stinkers in the commentary box and Ben is NOT one of them – will be sorry to hear him leave

    3. CotD pinpoints one of F1’s bigger issue in recent years – the radio is interfering far too much in the sporting and driving aspects.
      Drivers know that the team has all the information on everything all the time, so they have no need to look for flags or signs – and even if they do see them they then question their use or ignore them completely because they weren’t told what to do by the team.
      Then there’s the Russian pit lane exit offences (caused by the team, so the team says in order to protect their driver) and every tiny little strategic and performance decision made during every session of every event.
      Seriously, what is the driver actually doing by themselves? Anything? They certainly aren’t driving the car unaided at all times.

      I reckon it’s time for a proper radio ban. The driver needs to be responsible for their actions and decisions, and they can only do that when there’s nobody in their ear all the time telling them what to do.
      The team should be able to listen but not speak unless it is strictly for a safety issue.

      1. I lean the other way: it’s a team sport, so let the team participate. Sometimes it seems a bit over the top (“remember to drink”) but overall I prefer it. And as has been said before, the radio chatter goes some way to humanising what is otherwise an impenetrable event.

    4. Just on the 2-day weekends. I think they can be a positive in many places. Any organic racing/setup issues/occurrences of any kind are ironed out with so much practice and sim time and data collection on Friday. Makes a dull racing series even more dull.

      However, as pointed out, certain places (Silverstone, Melbourne, COTA, Spa, Monza) do get the crowds in and they expect a show.
      I think they’d be better off running less practice/more racing sessions than maintaining too much practice time.
      Friday for 2x 45min practice sessions, qualifying Saturday morning for a shorter race in the afternoon, then the full GP on Sunday.
      Racing is what a racing series is for – more of that and less perfecting every minute detail.

      1. Two races per weekend dilutes both races.

        1. For some people, every change F1 makes ruins it….
          You wouldn’t have to watch them both, you know.

        2. Additionally, you must be gutted about F2 and F3 running 3 races at each event next year, then?

    5. Media: What if Lewis say something about Saudi
      Media: Lewis should say something about Saudi
      Media: For Lewis to said something about Saudi is wrong

      Media: We won’t mention that US is now being reviewed by UN Human Right Council on its shady human right record

      1. The US is being reviewed by the Human Rights Council, which just accepted China as a member. Please rethink this position.

    6. Well you simply can’t have a 2 day weekend at any of the 15 events due to host F2 or F3, due to track time requirements. Plus W series is due to be in the F1 undercard at 8 yet unnamed events (i presume alongside F2 / F3 events, simply because realistically there has to be some overlap for the calendar to be financially viable), so again more track time required.

      1. @eurobrun The opposite actually. Not having F1 running on Friday would free up more space for the F2/F3/W series.

        1. @jerejj I see where you are coming from, but I’m referring to a 2 day event, which I guess couldbe different. I’m thinking everything that would normally happen on a Thursday happening on a Friday, including F1 paddock teams build. Not sure how F2 / F3 / WS being active and using the pitlane would affect F1 setup.

    7. Looks like Alex is going to have that lap time deleted for going over track limits again…

    8. Isn’t Ralf Schumacher a bit too vocal lately? I keep reading things he says while he vanished from the scene up until some weeks ago. Anyway, I’m not an Hamilton supporter but I believe when you are one of the greatest – if not the greatest – in a sport you can do whatever you want. It is Mercedes, eventually, that should talk to him if their image can be compromised. But I think that them letting him be himself is part of both parties success.

      1. Not a Ham supporter? Sounds like you are, but you are but you don’t know it yet…

    9. Bahrain and Abu Dhabi could have FP2 as the only practice session as it’s, after all, the only representative one for QLF and the race (except for the additional event in Bahrain, but other than this). The afternoon sessions in the Gulf region are pretty much entirely useless due to the difference in track temps in the afternoon compared to QLF and the race in late-afternoon and or early-evening.

    10. I think the only positive I’ve to say about Ben’s commentary is that he’s been better than Legard. I like his passion but he never seems to know what’s going on, has very little awareness of what teams and drivers are doing at any one time which is his role as play-by-play commentator. Sky are very fortunate to have Martin Brundle who can effectively do both roles and doesn’t miss a beat but it’s crazy how often we’ll watch and be talking about what’s going on with strategy etc laps and laps before Ben or DC tbf seem to notice.

      1. @alec-glen

        I have to say i partly disagree. When I flick through the highlights, Channel 4 with this pair often highlight a whole load of things that Sky didn’t notice. The opposite also does happen though, but I would say Ben has far more knowledge than Crofty and DC is at least as knowledgeable as Brundle – but I do think he could do with speaking a bit more than he does. The problem with Brundle that I have is he often sounds miserable as if he is fed up ( maybe with crofty? :D ) He just complains too much about F1 not being as good as it used to be, which is bad for a commentator to be saying. Ben and DC sound a lot more passionate about F1 to be when commentating making it more enjoyable to hear.

    11. I was lucky enough to get to spend time with Ben Edwards when he was doing the commentary for our F1 Digital+ broadcasts in 2002 & when he would come over to Biggin Hill in subsequent years to do the voice overs for the end of year review DVD.

      Super nice guy who’s very passionate & knowledgeable about the sport. He would come into the studio with notes & history of the circuits, teams & drivers with tons of stats & facts so there was always something to talk about in any down time.

      And i’m not sure if this story has ever been told but when we launched the UK version of F1 Digital+ in 2002 we were doing all the commentary from a studio in Biggin Hill & originally the commentary was going to be down only by John Watson. However for pre/post session analysis & the master channel that was exclusive to the UK coverage we would bring in studio guest’s to sit with Matthew Lorenzo.
      For the 1st race of 2002 in Melbourne Ben was one of the studio guest’s. At some point during I think the Saturday practice session Bernie walked in & saw that Ben was in the studio & was surprised he’d only been brought in as a guest so insisted he go & join John to do commentary & that is how that coverage ended up with the Ben Edwards & John Watson commentary team.

      1. @gt-racer I know they promoted within with Legard, but I was always surprised that the BBC didn’t hire Edwards to go alongside Brundle from 2009-10 (I forget if they don’t get on?).

        Great story to hear about F1D+, BCE was right in that it makes total sense to bring back the Edwards/Watson team.

    12. @gt-racer I know they promoted within with Legard, but I was always surprised that the BBC didn’t hire Edwards to go alongside Brundle from 2009-10 (I forget if they don’t get on?).

      Great story to hear about F1D+, BCE was right in that it makes total sense to bring back the Edwards/Watson team.

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