Brawn ponders change to GP weekend format

09/01/2018
NEWS STORY

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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Published: 09/01/2018
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