Wolff: Parc Ferme plan will "open can of worms"


In their grand plan for the sport from 2021, F1 bosses are looking at all aspects of the sport that in their opinion would benefit from change.

One of the more radical proposals to be put to the teams is moving scrutineering from Thursday to Friday morning.

Ostensibly, this is in a bid to shorten race weekends from the current four days to three. However, with scrutineering taking place on Friday morning, the plan is to hold FP1 and FP2 in the afternoon, with parc ferme conditions coming into effect before the cars have even hit the track.

As a result, this would mean that no significant changes could be made to the cars from the time they arrive at the track, a move in the wrong direction according to Mercedes boss, Toto Wolff.

"I think if you can compress (the format) without reducing the show, then that is something we should look at," said the Austrian. "I believe that for the promoters it is not great. Friday is an important day when they are able to generate some revenue and attract some audiences.

"We are not keen on the parc ferme format from Friday to Sunday," he added. "There is no motor racing formula out there that doesn't allow the cars to be touched over the weekend and I don't think we should start with Formula One, the pinnacle of motor racing.

"You open up a can of worms with penalties because cars will end up in the wall and they will need to rebuilt and I think from the sheer idea of how we can add more variability, more unpredictability, have more cars braking down, I think we will achieve the contrary," he warned. "We will spend more time and resource in the virtual world, run cars harder on dynos to make them last, because we know we can't take them apart over three days, so I don't think this is something we should touch.

"There are many other areas that make sense, but this one, not for us."

The thinking behind the move is that as the sport's powers that be seek to expand the calendar, doing away with the need to be at the track on the Thursday would ease the strain on personnel, though as Christian Horner has previously pointed out the personnel still have to be at the event, whether they are working at the track or off duty at their hotels.

"I'm not a big friend of this solution to be honest," admitted Toro Rosso's Franz Tost. "As Toto mentioned, Friday is an important day also for the organisers from the financial side. Whether we are now here one day earlier or later at the track, I don't think this makes a big difference.

"We have to increase the show, we have to reduce the costs, we have to distribute the money in a fair way. I think these are the most important points.

"The parc ferme story is absolutely secondary. OK, it's being discussed now among the teams but I don't think these changes are important. I think we don't need to change anything in this way."

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Published: 07/06/2019
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