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Brawn ponders change to GP weekend format


For reasons known only to itself Formula One Management (FOM) continues with its own version of rearranging the deckchairs on Titanic.

After a season in which the number of overtakes dropped by half, the sport's new owners opted to "inject fresh energy and innovation" with a new logo.

Now, with minimal regulation changes, and therefore the genuine fear that Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton will cruise to another brace of titles, F1's powers that be are looking to make another radical change... to the race weekend format.

Thankfully, while the sport has considered shortening races and even - God forbid - having Grand Prix consist of two shorter races or even following the F2 format, FOM's sporting boss, Ross Brawn, admits race day looks safe… for now.

"I think the length of a Grand Prix is about right," he told Sky Sports. "It's not too long, it's not too short, it engages you.

"We want a grand prix to evolve and have its highlights and come together at the end," he continued. "So I'm not sure that we should be thinking in terms of changing a grand prix length. I think we have other things we can do to enhance grand prix racing rather than changing around the format. Qualifying works fairly well.

"I think practice on a Friday is open to discussion," he admits, "whether we need two sessions, whether we move to just an afternoon session, because another factor in all of this is the number of races we have. If we have an increased number of races, do we change the format to put less pressure on the teams to be able to do those races?"

Fact is, fans want to see the cars on track doing what they do as much as possible, not less, and as Christian Horner has previously argued, if the teams are travelling to a destination spending less time on track will not make any difference in terms of cost effectiveness.

Laughably, Brawn also suggests that F1 would benefit from Le Mans-style open scrutineering.

"The fans always come first," he insists, "what do the fans want to see in a grand prix weekend? Getting close to the cars and getting close to the drivers is something we always get feedback on. It's an essential part for the fans. So over a race weekend, could we do more to let the fans get closer to the cars?

"One proposal is to have open scrutineering, so the cars literally have to go out into the field to be scrutineered so the fans can come and see them. It happens at Le Mans and is a great event. All the fans come, the cars are lifted up and you can see underneath them. So we're exploring things of that nature. But I'm fairly conservative about the format of the racing, and I haven't got any major plans on that at the moment."

The idea of any F1 team allowing fans to look underneath their cars in an open field is risible, and the mere suggestion would send shockwaves through the paddock.

Getting the teams to take down the screens at tests is hard enough, allowing the great unwashed to get up close and personal with their mobiles doesn't bear thinking about... as Mr 'double diffuser' Brawn well knows.


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1. Posted by FormerF1Fan, 11/01/2018 10:35

"Agree with Canuck. Without testing, the idea that F1 is the pinnacle of motorsport engineering and development is a bad joke. We have had to pay a very high price indeed to get Mercedes to come in. Full marks to them for getting down to work early and producing a good design when the engine regs changed. But everything else after this looks first and foremost to be aimed at no-one else ever catching up. Like running through tereacle, then adding more treacle to fix it."

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2. Posted by ryanhellyer, 10/01/2018 14:10

"The only ones who will care are the ones at the front. The rest of the teams, and the fans will benefit from open scrutineering."

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3. Posted by Motorsport-fan, 10/01/2018 9:56

"Fully agree with race day warm up, is there a case for Friday engines / tyres, so teams can run fully without having to juggle mileages on qualifying / race engines-tyres. "

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4. Posted by Canuck, 10/01/2018 1:42

"I agree with 2 of the posts - get rid of park ferme. One other point if we are to call Friday a practice day, then let them practice. Not only to gain a knowledge of the track, but of new components. Let then use NON-RACE PU. That will greatly reduce the stress on the teams and on the PU that now have to last 7 race weekends. Let them try anything they want. This will make up for the loss of the old test days. Will also enhance the show. Let the morning be 60 min so that new upcoming talent can be tested and 2 hr in the afternoon for the team to really test. Work with the FIA to test new ideas on track limits, like sensors that deactivate the PU for 1 sec when exceeded, or sprinklers that wet the tires so traction is lost.
I think with all the supposedly intelligence that is supposed to exist, some bright ideas should come out, not buy constant changes to regulations and stupid penalties"

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5. Posted by NS Biker, 09/01/2018 18:05

"Finally .... someone else (V10s4Me) with a view on Parc Ferme. Love it.
Yes, ditch it and let the teams Qalify and then Race. This alone will highlight differences between the race pace of different cars. Under the current system, it pretty much dictates a procession based on a single (qualifying) set-up.
While we are dreaming, let's bin the concept of mandated tyre compounds. Let the teams pick and choose, or alternatively, just give them one or two compounds to work with. Again, let them decide and there will be differences in performance.
An amazing aspect of F1 is the collective intelligence of the technical folks that make it happen. They usually have all of the nuances and options worked out (in detail) prior to the first race. They know what will work and also what won't, and why. Giving them fewer rules and requirements will give us, the fans, more to get excited about."

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6. Posted by BrightonCorgi, 09/01/2018 14:52

"The one thing I feel F1 really needs to spice up the weekend is points for Qualifying. If they awarded some points for Qualifying, mid & back running teams could set their car up just for Qualifying to get a few points and the start of the race would be all that more interesting.

As it stands, Qualifying and the pre-race grid are entertaining than the race after lap 4."

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7. Posted by Ro, 09/01/2018 14:30

"Sorry Mr Brawn, but you are losing the plot. Dont change things for the sake of change. leave F1 as it is!"

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8. Posted by V10s4Me, 09/01/2018 12:28

"Get rid of the Parc Ferme restrictions so teams can set the cars up specifically for qualifying. Reintroduce the 30 minute race day warm up so teams can confirm and test chosen their race setup on Sunday mornings. This will improve the show for track side fans."

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