(Motorsport-Total.com) – The notorious Eifel weather tore Formula 1 out of its comfort zone: 60 minutes of training on Saturday was all the teams had available instead of the other 240. Qualifying took place just two hours later. A model for the future? Several drivers say: yes. (Formula 1 2020 in the live ticker!)
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The current format dates back to a time when it was unthinkable that armies of night shift engineers would evaluate all the data from the free practice sessions on Friday overnight and test changes in the simulator before things get serious for the first time on Saturday.
The simulator also made it possible for teams to be much better prepared today without having completed a single real lap on the track. So is it time to rethink the outdated format?
Lots of drivers for shortening
“I think we don’t need Fridays, so that was okay with me,” said reigning Formula 1 world champion Lewis Hamilton. His Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas sees it similarly.
“The more training you have, the better you can optimize every detail,” says the Finn, who took pole position at the Eifel Grand Prix on Saturday. “Especially on Friday you have the whole night to look at things and learn.”
“I have the feeling that there is too much training,” said Bottas. “Everybody can [momentan] set up your car perfectly. With less training, there could be teams that don’t get it right. Or some drivers get it right and others don’t. That’s why I like it when there is a little less training. “
Red Bull driver Alexander Albon refers to the lower formula classes, which have to get by with much less training time: “From Formula 2 and Formula 3, we are such a format [wie am Nürburgring-Samstag] more or less used to it. It’s not too different. It just means that you have to be quicker and you can’t waste time. It felt good – I like it. “
Pierre Gasly from sister team AlphaTauri thinks a 2-day weekend is a “good and more exciting challenge. I think we can make it more compact. I like it and would like to see it that way in the future. You only have one session and every change that you take on before qualifying is blind. This makes preparation even more important. “
Who pays for missing ticket sales?
The only one who has criticized the tight format so far is Max Verstappen. For Imola, a one-training format is planned, which he described as “a bit stupid”.
So he sticks to a descriptive description of the events: “If you have problems, you can deal with them all night. You can send feedback to the factory and test changes on the simulator. We have a lot of training and we can take our time. This time it was it’s just one session, so you’re more involved than at the beginning of a normal FT1. “
Of course, the sporting aspect is just one of many. Albon points out: “I don’t know how it looked for you, whether it was boring or not. With ‘double headers’ 100 percent. We don’t need a Friday for the second race. But I think we need the income the TV money. From that point of view, the Friday training sessions are not bad. “
The promoters of the individual races could also sell fewer tickets if Friday is canceled. This in turn would mean that Liberty Media would have to cut back on the entry fees.
On the other hand, Liberty is known to have a plan to host up to 25 Formula 1 races a year. With a two-day format that would certainly be more realistic for the teams than with the previous format.
There will be a change to the format in the near future: From 2021, the previous Thursday will be squeezed into Friday. However, the net training time remains unchanged. Perhaps the Eifel Grand Prix will give reason to think again …