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Plans to shorten F1 weekend rejected; testing set for changes

Jun 19, 2014, 10:30 AM EDT

Nico Rosberg Lewis Hamilton AP

Plans for the Formula 1 race weekend to be reduced from four to three days have been rejected as the teams discuss changes to the sporting regulations for the 2015 season.

According to German publication Auto Motor und Sport, the proposed changes were rejected at a meeting in England yesterday between the main players in Formula 1 (the teams, the suppliers, the organizers, and the governors). However, changes to both pre-season and in-season testing are set to be ratified by the World Motor Sport Council in the coming weeks.

In Canada, reports emerged suggesting that, in order to aid cost cutting, the Thursday programme for teams and the media in Formula 1 would be removed. Instead, media duties and briefings would take place on Friday morning in place of the first practice session. There would be just one practice later on Friday evening, allowing fans to come to the track once they had finished work.

This would have removed a day of travelling out for all involved in the sport, thus cutting costs. However, it would also have put an increased burden on the teams with just a single session, which, given the times that it was due to start, may not have been entirely representative. For the media, it also meant that any news broken in the morning on Friday could have been made redundant by the events in practice later that day. Instead, the weekend schedule is set to remain the way currently is for 2015.

A ban on tire warmers had also been proposed, but this too has been rejected. Pirelli will instead pay teams €200,000 each to put its logo upon the warmers. This sponsorship should ease some of the costs.

Testing has been altered, though. This season, teams had three pre-season tests (one in Spain, two in Bahrain) plus eight days worth of in-season testing, spread across four days following a grand prix. For 2015, all of the tests taking place over the winter will take place in Europe – most probably in Jerez and Barcelona, as has been the trend – and teams will get just four days of in-season testing.

The rejection of the changes made to the race weekend schedule appears to be for the best. It would have placed a greater deal of pressure on the teams and personnel travelling to races, without saving a huge amount of money. In the grand scheme of things, this approach to cutting costs was a very small-scale one.

The changes made to testing are similarly sensible. Less running in-season will aid cost cutting, as will keeping everything in Europe. The reason for holding two tests in Bahrain this year was largely due to the rain-affected tests in 2013; Bahrain rarely is affected by wet weather. Clearly, the teams are happy to accept washouts that may occur in Spain at the beginning of February.

Any possible changes made to either the sporting or technical regulations for next season will need to be ratified by the World Motor Sport Council. For now though, it appears that the routine weekend structure is set to remain in place, and other ideas will need to be put forward to address the cost crisis in the sport.

  1. ExposedCanvas - Jun 19, 2014 at 10:53 AM

    How have the teams not looked at the mansions that they bring to every race. Give each team a liveried streamliner and call it a day. Easy half mill saved.

  2. techmeister1 - Jun 19, 2014 at 12:58 PM

    Thankfully the proposed day shorter program was canned. Somebody didn’t think it throught before suggesting it.

    FYI – They are not looking to save lunch money, i.e. a half million dollars. They are trying to lower costs by tens of millions and it’s impractical for this type of motorsport. Cutting in-season testing is also dumb. This is just a concession to the smaller teams but it makes no sense at all.

    F1 is suppose to be the pinnacle of motorsport. There is no way possible to lower costs that will make everyone happy so it’s pointless to keep beating that drum. If the fans want the best racing then they need to allow the engineers to push the envelope and that costs money. The smaller teams knew before they joined F1 that they would be at a huge disadvantage without the same resources yet they chose to compete. It’s a little too late to be whining because you’re a backmarker that shouldn’t even be on the F1 grid.

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