F1 won’t introduce two-day grand prix weekends – Domenicali

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In the round-up: F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali has dismissed the idea of two-day race weekends, potentially leaving room for a new sprint-race format.

In brief

No move to two-day F1 weekends

Last season the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix was held across just two days, with no Friday practice running taking place, allowing teams extra time to set up following a long journey from the preceding weekend’s race in Portugal.

At the time, there had been speculation the format was being tested ahead of a move to two-day weekends, with running only on Saturdays and Sundays. However, since then, the question of sprint races has dominated discussions about any format change for a grand prix weekend.

In a video for Formula 1, Domenicali confirmed that two-day weekends were not an option for the future, saying that promoters were not willing to compromise the offering to fans. “All the organisers really want to have a full experience for the people and for the crowd, so we need to respect that,” he said.

Shell run quarter of a million simulations for 2022 F1 fuel

Shell’s F1 fuel truck will also run on renewable biofuel
Formula 1 fuels are changing to have a higher percentage of biofuels in 2022 and Shell F1 Fuels Development Manager Benoit Poulet says that their team have run 250,000 digital simulations to develop the new mix.

“Since 2020, FIA regulations have changed slightly so we are now limited to just one fuel and engine oil formulation for the entire season, and we can no longer introduce in-season developments.” He explained, to emphasise how important it is to get the fuel right by the time 2022’s season starts. “This makes testing even more important than during previous years.”

In order to prepare, without being able to exhaustively run the new fuels, Poulet says digital simulations have been used extensively. “As a result, we’ve increased the number of digital simulations we’ve been running to ensure we find the best formulation to support the power unit all year round and at every circuit on the calendar. In fact, in the last two years, we have used advanced digital technology in more than 500,000 fuel simulations, 250,000 of which have been dedicated to the 2022 increased biofuel formulations.”

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Comment of the day

After Mick Schumacher said he had been learning on-track during his Bahrain Grand Prix debut, Kenny Schachat asks if it’s really fair that drivers now are compared to those who debuted when much more testing was permitted:

I fully understand the financial issues behind the severely limited testing these days but it’s got to be tough on new drivers to come into F1 with almost no testing. Think about it: every title since they limited testing has been won by drivers that came into F1 when there was unlimited testing.

That had to be a big advantage for drivers like Hamilton, Alonso, Vettel when they broke into F1. Hamilton obviously has a natural gift but it’s hard to imagine that he would have had the rookie year in 2007 if he had just a couple of days testing before the season.

I would like to see testing expanded up for rookie drivers. I think it would go a long way toward making the backmarker teams a bit more competitive and give rookies a better chance to compete.
@Partofthepuzzle

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On this day in F1

BMW powered Ralf Schumacher’s Williams to victory at Imola today in 2001
  • 20 years ago today Ralf Schumacher scored his first F1 win at Imola. It was also Williams’ first win for four seasons, BMW’s first for 15 years and Michelin’s first for 17 years.

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  • 35 comments on “F1 won’t introduce two-day grand prix weekends – Domenicali”

    1. Looked like Little Al had all four tyres over the white line there. I assume Andretti furiously protested and Unser Jr. got a five-second time penalty for that.

      1. On another note, the sound of these engines was amazing. I had forgotten how good they sounded…

    2. Imho as far as the Canadian GP is concerned, it will happen. The 6 mill is a drop in the bucket compared to the billions Trudeau is shilling out ahead of an election coming. Sure he may legitimately want to know what health measures will be instilled, and I think he will get enough reassurances on that, if indeed he isn’t just being politically correct for appearances sake. I will be quite surprised if Trudeau gets in the way of F1 coming to Canada, as he is doing all he can to pander for votes and to make it appear that his government’s dealing with vaccine supply and administration has been expedient, which so far it hasn’t. Imho he is quite keen to make us look as ‘back to normal’ as possible. Turning down the GP would have exactly the opposite effect to what he wants for the coming months.

      1. Maybe he can convince the organizers to refund the 2019 ticket holders while he’s at it, for another few mil…

        Honestly though, I don’t think anybody, including the gov’t, in Canada wants to portray things as “normal” – it’s a mess here. Full lockdowns, basically back to this time last year, but with the variants hitting hard. ICUs getting overwhelmed. You’ll be reading about Italy-style healthcare in Canada soon at this rate. I’d welcome a bunch of vaccinated Americans in to visit in order to save the race, but it isn’t gonna happen organically here in time.

        1. @nanotech Possible of course. Let’s see how the numbers go as the lockdown takes effect and vaccinations ramp up. The race is 8 weeks away yet. Good point about the ticket refunds but I don’t know that that has anything to do with Trudeau supporting having a race, and certainly as to vaccinated Americans coming, not sure why then you wouldn’t include vaccinated Canadians, or specifically Québécois who wouldn’t have to quarantine, but no I think it is clear at this point there would not be an audience.

          If the numbers are still so bad and the race can’t be green flagged I can certainly see Trudeau still claiming to want the race but to be having his hand forced by health officials’ advice, taking the blame out of his hands and claiming leadership status at the same time as the mess as you put it goes on.

          1. @robbie Canada needs the answers to those questions in the next fortnight, otherwise it won’t have enough lead time to run the race.

            The reason “vaccinated Americans” were mentioned is because Canada is expected to meet some of the costs of hosting the race through its audience (unless Liberty gives a bridging payment like they did to several venues in 2020), and there aren’t enough vaccinated Canadians to get the necessary crowd. Including vaccinated Americans – which would require legislation to go through that currently isn’t in place – would enable the requisite crowd to not depend on the bridging payment.

            1. @alianora-la-canta Yes I’m sure Trudeau can’t dilly dally too long on his decision. And I understand that the extra 6 mill F1 is asking for is to compensate for there not being an audience. As I said initially that is to me not likely a deal breaker as the Prime Minister has been spending money in the billions. Canada currently has a policy that people flying in, including Canadians, must quarantine for 14 days upon arrival. For that reason, not to mention of course the fact that larger gatherings are currently not allowed and likely won’t be come June, there will be no audience and therefore no need to bring ‘vaccinated Americans’ into the discussion.

              The two outstanding questions are, can F1 convince Trudeau that they can come over and safely isolate themselves and have a race, and I think they can, and not need to heed the 14 day quarantine rule, for they can stay in their own bubble, and secondly can they have an extra 6 mill, and I think yes Trudeau would pony that up.

            2. @robbie F1 earns nothing from the race audience – in fact, that is the only part of the weekend from which it doesn’t earn anything directly. F1 asking for $6 million more from the entity that was going to be the recipient of the audience monies just because there’s no audience is silly – compensation is only compensation if it goes to whoever had the loss, which in this case is the race organiser. (Also, if you’re saying it’s to come from Trudeau directly rather than via the race organiser, that’s corruption of a form that is is illegal in Canada. It is not something Trudeau would want to do in an election year because it would run the risk of disqualifying him – literally, or in the eyes of voters. At least Trudeau would be able to pay the organiser $6 m and potentially maintain/improve his position).

              If there is no audience, then the extra $6 million is needed by the organiser to make the event break even. Hence the vaccinated Americans becoming relevant to avoiding the need for the race organiser to get the extra $6 million.

    3. Who would have thought from all that expectation that PT would basically become famous for being a walking crash and fight machine, petty broken record obsessing over one race nearly 20 years ago he didn’t win, and general awful racist conservative wacko.

    4. Anyone know if its possible to watch the two Formula Regional European Championship races in the UK this weekend?
      Looks like it should be a good season, the first since the merger of Formula Regional and Formula Renault, with a field if 32 cars!

    5. If they are planning to get 25+ races each year i think they have to do 2 days events just to give the crew some air between al those traveling time.

      1. @macleod 24 is the limit, so not going to happen.

        1. @macleod So never mind what SD just said then. Just ignore that because you say to do so? And who said anything about 25+ races?

        2. Are you sure i never read about a 24 maximum or was that hidden somewhere. I think what i read is it’s 23 for now but for the future is open for discussion.

          @robbie What did SD say? Not that 24 is the absolute maximum in black and white but has todo with possible (his words) sprint races and everyone love those right?

          Not because i said so that is what most are talking about that 25 is too much (but will Liberty listen to that?)

          1. @macleod 24 was mentioned in this context last year regarding the new Concorde agreement. I also read about 23 back in December, but Dieter attacked me on this, stressing the former even though I didn’t intentionally give misleading info, LOL.

          2. @macleod You said 25+ and that is rhetoric, and then you said they’ll ’have to’ run two day events and SD has just said they won’t be doing that. Now you’ve thrown in a ‘but will Liberty listen to that.’ Why just disbelieve everything they say?

        3. @jerejj Liberty said a few years ago that it was aiming to have around 25 races for its calendar (with the “around” presumably because there would be occasional year-to-year variation).

          1. @alianora-la-canta 25 never was a specific target. The only thing talked about has been increasing the number of events itself generally.

            1. @jerejj whilst Alianora La Canta is not quite right with the number, in November 2020 – i.e. only 5 months ago – Chase Carey gave a presentation to investors where he stated “We expect to move to a 24-race calendar in the next few years”. At the very least, their investors are being told that Liberty Media does have a target for a 24 race calendar.

              We also know that Domenicali confirmed that Liberty Media’s medium term plans (i.e. the next 3-5 years) includes adding a second race in the United States and a race in an African nation in this same interview, which again suggests that Liberty Media are keen to keep the number of races on the calendar around the 24 race mark.

              With regards to the figure of 25 races per season, under the terms of the current Concorde Agreement, that is currently the maximum number of races that Liberty Media could hold per season without having to consult with the teams. Liberty Media does theoretically still have the option to extend the calendar beyond 25 races – however, it could only do so with the full agreement of all teams, which is unlikely unless the teams were offered very favourable terms.

            2. @jerejj Ross Brawn said 25 was the target (and the maximum limit) in 2019. 24 races was cited before that, in 2018.

              Note that both were contingent on some sort of race weekend modification. 23 races with no such modification (as now) wasn’t really the plan.

            3. @anon No, it’s 24 based on info in the recent past re the (current 2021-2025) Concorde agreement that commenced on January 1.

          2. @alianora-la-canta But Carey never said it as a direct target.

            1. Carey? No. Brawn? Yes. Brawn’s in charge now.

    6. But perhaps some events could have less practice running than others but still over three days.
      Bahrain and Abu Dhabi (and Saudi Arabia) could have FP2 as the only practice session as it’s the only representative one for QLF and the race anyway.
      Re Imola, yes, the distance from Algarve was a factor, but so were local noise restrictions. What changed in this regard? Doesn’t the city have those anymore?

      1. @jerejj No, because the tracks would again state that reducing practise sessions does not provide “the full experience”.

        City still has noise restrictions, but it’s a set number of days. 2020 and 2021 both look to be partial schedules. If a series that uses some of the “noisy days” is no longer going to Imola in 2021, that could be why F1 can go.

        1. @alianora-la-canta Yes, but the Middle Eastern places aren’t short of money anyway, hence doing only a single Friday session wouldn’t be a problem, even if the ‘experience’ factor would suffer a bit. The afternoon sessions generally are pretty much a waste of time in the hot desert climate zone.

          1. @jerejj It is a problem because circuits want the full experience. They also don’t want to be treated as “second-class citizens” by the powers-that-be. (Miami potentially volunteering to lose a session in order to give itself more calendar flexibility is different, as that would be the race organiser’s idea prompted by local conditions, not something imposed by Liberty or the FIA).

    7. +1 for the COTD

      Nowadays young driver have very limited preparation before arriving in F1 and we do expect them to be performant out of the box. I don’t think it’s impossible for them, but I believe they performance will strongly be linked to how well the car suits them. If they are lucky and the car match their likings they will perform. If not, they will drown and go to FE ;-)

    8. @partofthepuzzle I don’t disagree that more on-track testing couldn’t possibly hurt new drivers, but at the same time they were promoted to F1 teams because they were ‘ready enough’ and part of the puzzle is that substituting for the lack of testing over the last number of years has been better and better simulators. Of course the more track time they have the better correlated the simulators get too, and that can be had from race weekends. But yeah as I say I agree more testing couldn’t possibly hurt as I see it, time and financial expenditure aside.

    9. So two day weekends will be a thing then.

      Oh my, I thought my cynical days were over.

    10. Quarter of a million digital simulations sounds impressive, but it’s just a number. The model of which the simulation is running and the optimiser driving it is (potentially) the impressive part.

      I run 1000s of simulations a day testing mining software (which I’m building), but mostly on junk models we’ve created to test specific features.

      The number of simulations run isn’t all that important—the quality of the backing mathematics is.

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