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Plans for two-day race weekends scrapped

NEWS STORY
28/08/2018

In its determination to re-shape Formula One and turn it into a media and entertainment brand, one of several ideas being considered by F1's owners has been the re-formatting of the Grand Prix weekend.

See-king to expand the calendar to twenty-five or more races, the powers that be thought that reducing race weekends to just two-days would ease the pressure on teams and their employees.

However, the idea wasn't popular with the teams or fans, the latter wanting to see the cars on track for as long as possible and the former pointing out that having made the trip to X, Y or Z it seemed pretty pointless to do it for just two days of 'action'.

As a result the plan has been shelved, though the sport's technical boss, Ross Brawn, admits that the powers-that-be are still looking at ways to revitalise the format.

"Any thoughts of a two-day event have certainly been put back for future discussion," he reveals in an interview for the Belgian GP race programme. "That leaves us with the question of how we best shape those three days for fans at the track, fans watching on TV, and for teams to operate.

"We are looking at how we achieve that and are currently in discussions with the teams on how we can configure a race weekend to make it more effective, efficient and entertaining.

"We're looking at the format for qualifying, and how the points system works," he admits. "We're in deep discussion with the teams and the FIA on how we could improve those.

"We've had feedback from the fans and they feel, below 10th, nobody's racing for anything and that teams might be preserving their cars due to constraints of PU elements and gearboxes etc.

"The teams tell us otherwise, and personally I would agree with that, but fans don't perceive it. So we're looking at whether taking the points to 15th place would alleviate fans' concerns that there is nothing to race for beyond P10.

"However, we are very sensitive to making too many changes. When you alter elements a lot it can almost become the new norm – that things get changed all the time – and I don't think that's a good thing."

Bearing in mind the adage, 'if it aint broke, don't fix it', minded of the disaster that was the last (attempted) overhaul of the qualifying format, which was scrapped after just a couple of races, Brawn insists there is still a need for change.

"Put it this way: there's qualifying for qualifying's sake, and there's qualifying for the sake of the race. What I mean by that is this: taken as a standalone event, you definitely want qualifying to be about the very best fighting at the front to see who is the quickest.

"But when you think about qualifying as an element of how the race pans out, then you want qualifying to stir it up a bit and create some disorder, so that you've got strong cars out of place. Then qualifying improves the race.

"So the level of jeopardy in qualifying is something we want to look at, where perhaps by reducing the number of runs a car does in each session, teams can't optimise everything.

"I think we'll move very cautiously, though," he admits, "because the current format is popular and successful."

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READERS COMMENTS

 

1. Posted by TokyoAussie, 29/08/2018 4:30

"I am extremely happy that the "show" is not reduced to 2-day events. I long for the days when it was a 4-day event, with much more running on all 4 days."

Rating: Neutral (0)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

2. Posted by Ro, 28/08/2018 17:04

"If it aint broke dont fix it. Great saying, but totally ignored by Media Liberty (purposely written back to front because they seem to think with their a**e and not their head...). All they want to do is "spice up the show". If thats what I want to see I would go to a concert or a play, Going to an F1 race is to see racing. Get a grip Mr Brawn, listen to the fans, or you will lose them (all)"

Rating: Positive (1)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

3. Posted by RDFox, 28/08/2018 17:02

"Better solution to making people outside the points race hard rather than try to preserve equipment: Rather than extend the points even further down the field, how about *reducing* the size of the prize payouts at the end of the season... and taking that money and issuing it as prize payouts *per race* based on finishing position, all the way down to last place?

It would give those with no shot at scoring points a reason to keep racing hard, and it would likely help the smaller teams with the seemingly regular cash flow issues, by reducing the size of the lump sum they get at the end of the year in favor of giving them a more steady trickle of revenue.

Plus, it seems to work well in just about every other form of motorsport worldwide, and worked just fine back in the old days. It might even mix up the field some, since it would encourage lower-budget teams to look at what tracks they're strong at and really push hard at them, in hopes of getting a cash prize that's bigger than the difference in championship money they get at the end of the year..."

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4. Posted by C5, 28/08/2018 16:04

"<Yelling and repeatedly banging my head into the wall>
STOP #$%@$ FIDDELING! Everyone at Liberty Media, please go on vacation to a deserted island with no cell phone and data coverage. Just for a decade or two. Please?!!
</yelling>
<Still banging my head into the wall, though...>"

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5. Posted by Canuck, 28/08/2018 13:47

"With the price hosting locations get charged, 3 days is minimum that they should put on a show. If you want to reduce the time spent in one location by 1/3, are you considering reducing the cost by 1/3? One thing they could consider for new venues is hosting every 2nd year. "

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