Spectators watch practice at Suzuka, 2024

Hamilton blames deleted rule as drivers call lack of running “a shame for fans”

Formula 1

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Formula 1 drivers sympathised with fans at Suzuka who saw little running after rain fell during practice on Friday.

After the first practice session was disrupted when Logan Sargeant crashed his Williams, rain fell ahead of the second hour of running. With the track only slightly wet, drivers were unwilling to risk wearing out a set of intermediate tyres on the abrasive surface.

As a result, seven of the 19 drivers expected to participate did not leave the pits during the session and most of those who did only completed installation laps. Sauber used the opportunity to practice pit stops while the whole field covered just 71 laps between them.

“It’s a shame for the fans,” said Fernando Alonso, one of the drivers who did not run at all. “Always when they come here, they support us so much and we don’t have the tyres to run. So I’m sorry for them.”

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Suzuka, 2024
Hamilton did run in the session and was second-fastest
Lewis Hamilton blamed an off-season rules change which took away the opportunity for drivers to receive an extra set of intermediate tyres for rain-affected practice sessions on Fridays. The rule was introduced to encourage drivers to run in wet practice sessions instead of stockpiling fresh intermediates for later in the weekend.

Although drivers have a larger allocation of intermediate tyres this year – five sets instead of four – most chose not to use them at this stage in case later sessions are affected by rain.

“It’s a shame we didn’t get that that session,” said the Mercedes driver. “They have changed the tyre rule so therefore no one goes out and runs on intermediates. It just doesn’t make sense really, but there you go.”

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His team mate George Russell said the FIA should use “common sense” and give each driver an extra set of slick tyres to use during final practice on Saturday.

“It is a shame for the fans here and people watching at home,” he said. “We’ve obviously travelled three quarters of the way around the world, so to not do any laps is pretty annoying.

I hope the FIA allow all the teams to carry over a set of dry tyres into FP3 because ordinarily in FP3 we don’t do many laps, just practising for qualifying. That’d be great for us and for the fans.

“So I hope common sense prevails there and hope we just find a solution for these kind of conditions because it’s not the first time this has happened, and it definitely won’t be the last time.”

F1’s scrapped practice tyre rule

The following rule was removed from F1’s sporting regulations in February:

At each competition where a sprint session is not scheduled, if either P1 or P2 are declared wet one (1) additional set of intermediate tyres will be made available to any driver who used a set of intermediate tyres during either session. Under such circumstances, one (1) used set of intermediate tyres must be electronically returned before the start of the qualifying session.

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Keith Collantine
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24 comments on “Hamilton blames deleted rule as drivers call lack of running “a shame for fans””

  1. cameron coulson
    5th April 2024, 15:36

    Liberty Media needs a serious wake-up call. What a debacle! Screw the fans, charge us stupid ticket prices…joke compared to the good old days

    1. At least they didn’t march the fans out, so that they can drive in peace and silence; like they did in Vegas.
      Japanese fans were very lucky, one could argue. That is, they will be, if the race itself isn’t going to be red flagged after two laps driven under SC, in case of a mild shower.

    2. Ah, I remember the good old days, when Bernie was in charge. It was so much better. Especially the many years where teams wouldn’t run qualifying for 50 minutes, only to come out in the final 10 minutes all at once. Good times, so much better than Liberty.

      I can’t with you people.

      1. At least there was wet running!

      2. And there wasn’t a dominant teams every season either, nor drs.

        1. DRS was introduced while Eccelstone was in charge, and dominant teams were common.

          Years like 2010, without a dominant team, were highly unusual. The rapid attempts to “fix” the rules on a yearly basis are a large part of why we have such dominant teams as Mercedes and Red Bull.

          1. no, the dominance was never as bad as it is today with the power unit formula which costs teams 50 times what v8;s cost.

          2. Bring back the cheaper V10s. Smaller cars, full ground effects. When racers were really men and not Mario-cart drivers.

      3. team*

      4. Finally, someone else who wasn’t born yesterday!

      5. This is a bit of a caricature of the one hour qualifying. Most drivers did 10 to 12 laps (12 was the max), and it wasn’t in one big long stint in the final 15 minutes. Situations like Hungary 2001, when Schumacher used just 6 laps to crush the field with a -0.8 second pole were extremely rare, and memorable for that reason.

      6. I much prefer modern qualifying, but you’re forgetting one thing. It happened before Liberty.

      7. try comparing apples to apples

        Also plz stop with the insults

    3. Liberty Media needs a serious wake-up call.

      While I know it’s fun to bash Liberty, shouldn’t you be expressing your frustration with the FIA, who actually make the rules?

  2. The only reason I can think of for scrapping that rule is cost. It would mean that an extra 80 inters would have to be shipped to every GP which is no sall amount of freighting charges. With all the budget caps and limits on engines, I’d be surprised if that many people would run much on the wet in Japan, whether tyres were available or not.

  3. Common sense has been ruled out, pun intended.
    And as they are so fond of rules, he’s a suggestion for rule No.1.:
    If fans don’t get what they payed for, on track or in the virtual world, they get their money back, period.

    Maybe that helps to get some common sense back.

    1. Indeed, would avoid stuff like spa 2021, mansell said they would’ve raced back then and I agree, you just have to go back to 1998 at the same track, and yes, there were dangerous incidents back then, but safety improved massively in the 23 years that went by.

  4. I hope the sun is out Sunday, considering they don’t run on any sort of wet track anymore.

    1. I don’t, the only way to fix this cowardice related issue is getting more and more rain in future sessions, so that it forces them to find a solution to run in wet conditions.

  5. Paul (@frankjaeger)
    5th April 2024, 18:23

    They should actually force drivers to do laps in FP if the car is in working condition. Give them all the tyres they need for FP. Such a farce that they just aren’t running because of the conditions/stockpiling tyres

  6. They’re doing absurd things in the name of “carbon neutrality” even when it basically adds up to zero difference and no one is paying attention.

  7. A case of ‘Being Green’ out weighs ‘Being Seen’
    Iam sure if you worked out that the CO2 consumed in pointing out this saved CO2, and everyone consuming energy pointing out this saves energy and resources equals zero, they would just ship the tyres already…. :)

  8. F1 in shambles

  9. Too many rules in F1, people say – but this is what happens when you take them away.
    F1 teams have consistently proven that they need to be told what to do at all times – to be reminded that F1 isn’t just for them alone.

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