Esteban Ocon, Renault, Autodromo do Algarve, 2020

Two-day F1 weekends like Glastonbury: ‘You don’t see headline acts every day’

F1 2021 Season

Posted on

| Written by and

A move to two-day race weekends at some Formula 1 rounds need not mean reduced value for fans who attend, a senior figure in the championship has told RaceFans.

The sport experimented with a two-day race weekend at the Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix. Similar events could be run in future to reduce the strain on Formula 1 teams as more races are added to the schedule.

The 2021 F1 calendar features a record-breaking 23 rounds.

Formula 1’s global director of race promotion Chloe Targett-Adams told RaceFans other support races and activities could add value at rounds where F1 runs on just two days.

“When we say two-day format, that’s a two-day Formula 1 racing format. But our events, clearly run as three-day, four-day experience events, depending on on different locations,” she explained. “So it’s just about how we promote the product, how we create enough content and excitement for fans to come on a Friday.

“If you’re going to Glastonbury, for example, you don’t expect to see the headline acts every day, people go for a whole week.”

Targett-Adams accepts fans would likely be most interested in the racing but said other elements of the weekend could add value, “It’s about what you’re offering fans as part of that experience. Making sure that the superstars of our show, which is the Formula 1 elements, the racing, they’re present, but that there’s equally enough of the support acts to make it a very exciting and worthwhile proposition to fans across the three days.”

She pointed out events already have significant local variation, to which two-day weekends might be comparable, “It’s about how you evolve and innovate the Formula 1 race weekend and the Formula 1 experience in that market, and what’s culturally normal and local.

Start, Albert Park, 2019
2021 F1 calendar: Full 23-race schedule
“If we look at our middle eastern races then Sunday’s working day but yet it’s the key part of the Formula 1 weekend. So actually, to build the experience there why wouldn’t we, with our promoter want to do that across Thursday, Friday, Saturday?”

She pointed out non-track days for F1 can offer opportunities for social and community programmes, “In Melbourne on Thursday they very successfully run a community day, having university and school children attend as part of a kind of curriculum basis, as part of that community impact and social benefit.

“So I think there are a number of different ways to look at it. And we wouldn’t want uniformity to be at the expense of what local promoters together with us can can do in terms of innovating the product and make it relevant to that location or market.”

Read Dieter Rencken’s in-depth interview with Chloe Targett-Adams on the 2020 and 2021 Formula 1 schedules later today on RaceFans

Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free

2020 F1 season

Browse all 2020 F1 season articles

Author information

Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
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...

Got a potential story, tip or enquiry? Find out more about RaceFans and contact us here.

27 comments on “Two-day F1 weekends like Glastonbury: ‘You don’t see headline acts every day’”

  1. That is a really useless analogy. I’ve been to Glastonbury six times in the last decade or so and it has very little in common with a grand prix weekend. For a start you can see a headline act every day from Friday to Sunday and there are four main stages, so that’s 12. You don’t have to watch the pyramid stage every day because there’s so much else going on concurrently all the time (some estimate there are over 60 stages).

    At a grand prix there is one stage and one event happening at a time. You obviously go to see the headliner (F1) and any support acts you see are a bonus. Sure, it’s nice to see the support races but aren’t they cutting the support acts anyway by reducing the number of gp2 and gp3 races?

    1. In a music festival it’s from 10am to 2am the other day.
      In F1 it’s 1pm to 3pm.

      Those who are running the sport try to make a swallow the pill. You give less for the same amounts, it’s a scam.

    2. I agree that the amount of spin in this statement is far more than the amount of sensible talk @frood19, @jeff1s.

      If they really wanted to try and do something that offers fans something to see for 4 days, they should be offering karting, seeing live cars. Having drivers accessible from early on (even if rather lower tier series drivers), have some racing events for the thursday and friday. Have people able to go on track or somethign, so that there actually is something to do.
      If they have pro drivers offering rides on the track on thursday and friday (in between the races) for real fans, opposed to say driving VIPs around for a few laps on Thursday as a show we can only watch, then we are looking at a solid deal.

      If they cut down on F1 and cut down on support races, and people aren’t allowed in anywhere there is something interesting to see, why would they stay at overpriced camp sites (or even worse, hotels) to do it.

      1. +1

        They could include sim racing opportunities, events, or even for casuals as well, because they need to draw in the young fans as well. Although age is not determinant, so for example I conider ageism as a kind of discrimination, I have seen some quite fast retirees enjoying sim racing, and I guess they not enjoyed it coincidentally, but because the sim they used was just plain good. But obviously younger people are more involved in gaming.

        I think as R&D costs are so high at F1 even compared to manufacturing and salaries (especially if we include all outsourced R&D), sparing some sets of tyres per weekend, or sparing even a power unit per season per car via reducing the amount of running is half-hearted and not really effective. As I read a set of tyres costs something about 2-3k$, and F1 is a niche level saving some thousands of liters of fuel and some sets of tyres will not redeem the world. But the high costs, are cascading to lower tiers, because everyone around the feeder series work and live in the same universe, driver agents and managers will carry the same mentality everywhere when negotiating, and the money and resupply of money is used to be there so it will be spent, and inflation becomes very apparent. And that money would be sufficient to fuel a lot of real-world R&D for less niche use cases, actually researchers and engineers would do the same even without the existence of F1. Even using up an additional power unit is only a smaller percentage of yearly costs around a top team. Setting the reliability requirements very high is very pricy, but still not guarantees that reliablity will not be a title decider, as it likely was at Rosberg vs Hamilton at 2016. If such rare events occur, they can be very determinant at high reliability, because the opponent’s car likely will not break down (or will not break down that often). So sporting-wise it’s not that great or not much better at all compared to the old days, car-company-image-wise it’s maybe much better. But hey people are not extra dumb and can abstract F1 results and F1 reliability away if buying cars.

        I say no kind of innovation is a lost innovation, it will be later reused by someone, even if it’s usage will be prohibited at F1 as an effort to level the competition. They only need such quick prohibitions because there is so much money involved and therefore participants want to have a good and predictable return of that investment, instead of doing it for something like one magnitude cheaper. Having diverse designs via less and looser specifications on the tech side and sometimes swallowing if they are beaten by some great invention at some seasons, instead of panic-banning some really cool and safe and sometimes even cheap but still brilliant innovations.

    3. Wow, we hope that it’s not like Glastonbury, Connecticut!

  2. I agree with @frood19, that’s really a bad analogy. Just trying to push 2-day week-ends down the throat.
    As for me, definitely I won’t be making a thousand kilometers round-trip to see the F1 cars on track only half the time of what we get now. In a few years, I’ve seen (at the race where I go most) the Thursday event, where you could see the mechanics build the car, cut down to half (only afternoon) first, and then totally suppressed. That’s quite bad already, it was the closest you would get to the cars, and where you would get a real racing vibe to, unlike in all the ‘Holliwood-like-consume-all-you-can’ events around.

    Added to the current impression of the cars (engine sound, not only in straights but in corners too), I’d say it’s much harder to pick-up going every year after your first race today than it was a few years ago. And I’m not sure 2-day week-ends will help or change that in a good way.
    I remember first hesitating to go only for qualifs/race, and if you do that once, then you realise your mistake and definitely want to be there as much as you can the following year :)

    As a note, I do watch and enjoy all sessions at a GP week-end, and I’m among those applauding each driver at the end of each race. But again, it’s not the supporting events that will convince me doing tons of kilometers; even if F2 sound better than F1 now ;-) I’ll go closer and get a couple of good-level go-kart sessions instead.

    1. Well, one thousand kms is actually one way… ;)

    2. Added to the current impression of the cars (engine sound, not only in straights but in corners too)

      The motors don’t sound too bad at full throttle. They do, however, sound horrible at partial throttle! Bio-fuel powered V10s would be so much more entertaining.

  3. Yeah bad analogy. I bet she’s never been to Glastonbury and has barely even read about it.

  4. What happens if a team has fundamental component design failure in free practice which takes full day to resolve? Yep, that means they would race with 0 practice, starting last. What happens if a driver has technical problems, which can’t be fixed for quali? Yep, that also means starting the race with 0 practice from last position. Both things happened in the recent past and will happen again, so it’s a realistic scenario. Imagine it happening to a driver challenging for the title in one of deciding races. There will be social media outrage, with articles by all news outlets questioning the decision to shorten race weekend and criticizing lack of foresight. Well, time to thoroughly think about negative implications it brings is right now.

  5. What a bad analogy. She fits in with Formula 1’s managers perfectly coming across that out of touch.

    1. Well, judging by the abuse that Tony Mansell is throwing out in this thread for anybody daring to say anything slightly critical of FOM, maybe we now have an idea who is behind that account then…

  6. I’ve pointed this out before, but the format consisting of two days of track action would be okay for triple-headers, for example, while Bahrain, Abu Dhabi (and Jeddah) could have FP2 as the only practice session and entirely do away with FP1 and 3 given their representativeness for QLF and the race.

    1. ‘unrepresentativeness’

  7. Two days is fine without support races, but as we move back to races with F2 and next year with F3/F2 alternating with 3 races a weekend and W Series coming along for some of them as well, two-day weekends sound way to cramped to me.

    Just keep it as is. With the budget cap coming in, they need to reduce the amount of rules and restrictions on development during a season, as the budget cap already should take care of the reason there was a development cap in the first place and give the test sessions on friday an actual purpose (testing developments), rather than just running laps for set-up.

  8. I think a better analogy would be a crisp manufacturer selling a 350 gram bag for $2.50 in 2020 then reducing it to a 300 gram bag for the same price in 2021. One of the oldest tricks in the marketing book.

  9. Formula E Fridays? Let them turn up the power and push the limits

  10. Watch out for the promoters getting special deals with certain circuits for 3 days events. Think of Abu Dhabi, they will never accept 2 day events. This is just a scam, forcing two prices for basically the same content. They’ll cram races in Europe so they can get a bonus elsewhere.

  11. Ridiculous analogy, of the 5 days of Glastonbury one can still see headline acts over 3 days and then there is still a million things to do on the other days that still revolve around music, and at Glastonbury what you go and see is a personal choice, in 2004 I was dancing around to Toots and the Maytals and gave Paul McCartney a miss, when you go to an f1 race weekend it is to see f1cars. Everything else is a bonus.

  12. I go every year to Silverstone & an away race and I dont care about Thurs/Fri. I go on Wednesday, id go on Monday if the campsites are open. I go for the full experience not just F1, support rraces are fun as is sitting in a field chatting to other petrol heads. Yet again another suggestion beaten down by the ultra conservatives.

    If it improves racing who really cares about practice if it doesn’t then it can be changed. But then change…ooh

    1. @tonymansell I’m the total opposite in that when I attend a race weekend all I care about is the F1 track action so I want to see as much of that as possible. Reducing it for me immediately makes attending significantly less value.

      I adore the Friday sessions & think that the Friday practice is by far the best part of the weekend that offers by far the best value for fans attending.

      On Friday’s I walk the circuit & watch the cars from different places & that is for me again the best, most valuable part of the whole weekend that add’s so much to the experience because it gives you the opportunity to see every aspect of what makes these cars so spectacular to watch.

      If it was a 2 day weekend there would be no opportunity to do that as you want to be in your seat ready for qualifying rather than rushing around trying to walk the track in a short single practice session & that would for me totally ruin the experience & make it far less value & far less worthwhile attending.

      I’ve said this before but the testing ban has already left fans with less opportunities to actually go & see the cars & I don’t think reducing that even further is a positive. Is it any wonder F1 is failing to attract fans when fans have hardly any opportunities to go & watch them compared to the past?

      I know more than a few longtime fans who’s introduction to F1 was either attending testing or a cheap Friday ticket.

      1. Fair enough, good point. I’m not sure how many circuits you can fully walk these days unless you have all singing and dancing tickets but you dont grow the fanbase by extending practice, you do it by putting on better races. The case has not been proved that 2 day weekends will supply that but I get exasperated that people are so closed minded to even contemplating it. The thing with change is, it can be changed again.

        1. @tonymansell I’ve been able to walk around Silverstone, Montreal, COTA and Monza. I’ve been to two street circuits (Valencia and Monaco) and more understandably it’s not possible to walk around them.

      2. @roger-ayles I’m exactly the same. I’ve been to 7 Grands Prix in my life, all at different circuits. I use Friday to try and walk around the track, take a few photos and have a fairly relaxed day. Then Saturday and Sunday I’m usually fixed to a grandstand seat and paying closer attention to the meaningful running. Remove Fridays and I don’t know how I’d schedule my Saturdays and Sundays.

  13. Don’t believe the hype, kids. The Thursdays (and Fridays) where the school program provide free entry for school students to Albert Park for the Australian F! GP is a political con.

    It is designed to inflate the gate entry numbers to help the government justify the $$$ Bernie got them to agree to pay for the race license fee. They even count burger flipping catering staff as attendees to inflate the numbers.

    As a local who has attended every GP there since 2003, take it from me – 99% of those kids care nothing about motor racing in general (no F1 on track on the Thursdays, just Supercars and Porsche Cup) or F1. They mooch around being bored for hours throwing sticks at each other.

    My favourite day is Friday for FP1 and FP2. Friday is low in attendance but I get to see the most car time on track. I will be devastated if it gets taken off the schedule.

  14. Oh dear, that’s a weak piece by the marketers, and a bad analogy.
    I’ve been an F1 fan since the ’60s, and i’ve seen F1 go though all kinds of changes. Some have been great, whilst others were questionable.
    Today’s current owners have one objective, and that’s to grow the audience. They really don’t care about real fans as we’re limited in number, but if they can get lots of people interested that are not true fans it really doesn’t matter to them.
    Real fans will be there for every wheel-turn of an F1 car.
    F1’s owners look at the cost involved in the weekend and if they can shorten it in any way they will. If it saves money that’s great for them, yet they still sell the TV rights.
    This is the first year i’ve not been to an F1 race in many, many years, and next year is the first i’ve not had a ticket pre-booked. Long story, won’t bore you, but it’s really a big thing for me to not be at, for example, Silverstone for at least three days, sometimes arriving on the Thursday.
    I like track action, but with F1 it seems to be getting less and less each year. With the lower formula races being removed from the schedule it makes a difference to me. I won’t be able to spot racing talent coming up the ranks.
    My friends said, “get a sky subscription.” Well, true fans will know that it’s no substitute. BTW, I don’t have a Sky subscription, and probably wont ever.
    F1’s current trajectory by Liberty is losing me.

  15. No Chloe, I pay good money to see and hear F1 cars blast by for as long as possible on a race weekend. I don’t care about the rest

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

All comments are moderated. See the Comment Policy and FAQ for more.
If the person you're replying to is a registered user you can notify them of your reply using '@username'.