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F1 could reduce practice sessions to help cut costs

Jun 6, 2014, 1:15 PM EDT

Canadian F1 Grand Prix - Practice Getty Images

Formula 1 is expected to scrap one of the Friday practice sessions in an attempt to cut costs and financially help the teams that are further down the grid.

Currently, there are two practice sessions held on a Friday lasting 90 minutes, with a third one-hour session taking place on a Saturday morning before qualifying in the afternoon. However, the parties running the sport are now looking to remove one of the Friday sessions in order to reduce running and cut costs, according to reports.

It is expected that the earlier session on Friday would be scrapped, with the second session being held later in the afternoon to allow people to attend once they have finished work, thus aiding ticket sales.

This move would essentially condense the formalities from an F1 weekend from four days down to three, meaning that those travelling to the race could leave one day later. In turn, this would help to reduce costs.

According to the BBC, the plans have been approved by the three major bodies running the sport – the FIA, the commercial rights holder, and the F1 Strategy Group – and could be put in place for the 2015 season.

Currently, Thursdays are dedicated to previewing the race and media interviews. However, under this plan, these would take place on a Friday morning ahead of practice.

This would also ensure that some of the sessions are not wasted, as we see in Singapore and Abu Dhabi. FP1 usually takes place in the daytime, while all of the other sessions are at night, making it far from representative and not very beneficial.

The changes are yet to be formally confirmed, but with the major power players in F1 approving of them, a first step – albeit a small one – towards cutting costs may be taken.

  1. testover6370 - Jun 6, 2014 at 1:45 PM

    This makes sense given the limited running we see in practices due to unrepresentative conditions and the need to preserve equipment. It should be balanced by increased in-season testing though. Let that single Friday practice be preparation for qualifying and the race, not validating developments. That should be done in testing away from race weekends.

  2. techmeister1 - Jun 6, 2014 at 6:22 PM

    F1 racing should not be determined based on teams that lack the resources to compete in F1. As noted above the only rationale for cuttting Friday by one practice session would be if more in-season testing is allowed.

    Since in-season testing cost more than Friday practice sessions, it’s pointless to cut Friday practice sessions especially with tracks that need to be rubbered in to have the tires last a reasonable number of laps in the race. Some of these cost cutting ideas may sound good until you understand all of the ramifications. If the low budget teams want to save money, don’t run the first practice session on Friday. The teams who are in F1 to race and can afford to race will use both practice sessions and the fans will still get their money’s worth.

    • amcanracer - Jun 8, 2014 at 5:33 PM

      I would also add to your and the previous comments that this will likely increase the spread between the fast and the slow teams as the fast teams always seem to come to grips (haha :D) with their cars quicker (ahhh :/) than the slower teams. If they go do ahead with this (boo) it would be cool if they at least let the season’s pointless teams (or bottom two/three, whatever) still keep the old P1.

  3. worknman24hours - Jun 7, 2014 at 12:43 AM

    This constant talk of costs makes me so angry.

    Make the cars simpler.

    Take all that battery tech out of the cars.

    Use old school manual transmissions and twelve cylinder motors and let the guys actually have to display some learned driving skill instead of having everything decided by a computer.

    The cars are way too complex now.

    They cost way too much just to get to the track much less to maintain over the course of the season.

    MAKE THE CARS SIMPLER.

    THIS IS CAR RACING.

    Let the drivers skill be important in the racing equation again!

    • crunge4461 - Jun 7, 2014 at 11:32 AM

      I pretty much agree with the overall thrust of your statement, and in fact there are important people associated with F1 that have said similar things recently, referring to Patrick Head’s recent comments. Head suggested that F1’s cost problem was due to over-complicating the cars and the result of a sport dominated by Engineers not by Drivers.

      Here is what I would like to see happen, a stringent budget cap and a wide open rule book. If all the teams had less money, but could do just about anything, it would result in creative designs and approaches and less predictability as well as more entrants.

  4. krog360 - Jun 7, 2014 at 8:53 AM

    Its costing me the best part of £70 to attend this years Friday practise session at Silverstone. That cost gets me two sessions of F1 practise. So, next year we are going to get one. Will the price be halved ? I very much doubt it. Bernies comment of “the session being held later in the afternoon to allow people to attend once they have finished work, thus aiding ticket sales” is complete nonsense. Once again, F1 shoots itself in the foot !!!

  5. crunge4461 - Jun 7, 2014 at 11:41 AM

    News flash from F1! In order for massively rich racing teams to save a couple of dimes they are going to reduce the amount of racing action for fans on a given weekend, but yet charge them the same amount. The majority of those that attend F1 events buy a weekend pass, but if this goes through it will mean less racing for fans, but you better believe that the three day pass will be the same amount. This is so dumb, decreasing the amount of on track activity for fans is not the way to go. The entire reason that this is being proposed in because the really rich and powerful teams, Red Bull and Mercedes, refuse to agree to either spending caps or customer cars. The big teams, like Mercedes, represent major manufacturers that have one interest and one interest only and that is to look out for number one rather than the health of the overall sport. This means that serious attempts at cost control, like customer cars or spending caps, will always be blocked by the bigger teams own self-interest and they will instead institute changes like this nonsense, which is actually giving fans less for their dollar, pound or Euro. Total nonsense, it amazes me that the teams would rather take action away from fans then institute meaningful changes like a spending cap!!

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