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Liberty Media considers dropping Friday practice sessions to add more F1 races

The new owners wants to expand the Formula 1 race calendar.

3y ago

The new owners of Formula 1, Liberty Media, is considering to drop the two Friday practice sessions from the race weekend to make it a two-day affair in the future.

According to an exclusive report on Forbes, the idea is to make it logistically possible for teams to run without an extra pressure in terms of finance and manpower, if the calendar is expanded to 25 races per season.

There has been talks within the F1 management to add more races, especially in America, to make the sport more popular in the country, as well as the world, in general.

More so, reports in September had Sean Bratches saying that since the takeover from Bernie Ecclestone, they have been approached by at least 40 new potential venues, who wants to hold a F1 race.

"The teams have logistical issues the more races we add," he said in Austin. "One of the things we are doing is looking at the format of a race weekend to see if we need to change that to make it logistically easier for them to do more races.

"So we have got a very open mind about how we go forward. I think the core race is still, for me personally, very important. We are not looking at changing the core event, but open question, do we need Friday running?

"Because if we didn't have Friday running, we could do more races because logistically it is better for the teams. But Friday running is important for the promoters and the broadcasters. How do we find the right solution?”

For years now, F1 has had a three-day weekend with two practice sessions on Friday, followed by the third practice session and the qualifying on Saturday, with the race on Sunday.

The Friday sessions usually offers the teams to run a younger driver - which does benefit the teams in multiple ways, more so financially - along with the normal preparation for the weekend, trying out various different set-ups on the cars.

Meanwhile, hosting fees has been one of the biggest sources of revenue for F1 and so it is no surprise that they want to add more races on the calendar - which also in some ways helps few of the bigger teams, with the dedicated profit share for them from the profit pool of F1.

However, teams have been vocal about the aforementioned pressures on them, which is a big issue in the calendar expansion - and as Brawn alluded to, making it a two-day affair will affect the promoters and the broadcasters financially, considering the amount they pay to host and televise the sport respectively.

[image courtesy: Ferrari] #F1 #Motorsport #Formula1 #LibertyMedia

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Comments (15)

  • Do we really want more races? I think we risk saturation. A GP should be a special event, not every week

      3 years ago
    • Maybe 22 races is a tipping point or if we want a whole number, then 20 is fine. Adding races maybe fine, depending on where - if Europe, it is easier, if anywhere else, it is then for them to reshuffle. Although, I quite like the idea of a 2-day...

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        3 years ago
  • One practice doesn't seem enough time for the teams to set up and test the cars. At least have two practice sessions.

    But dropping Friday will also cause venues to reduce the offerings. Abu Dhabi puts on concerts from Thursday to Sunday (the weekend in the UAE is Fri-Sat, so Thurs is like a Friday), so cutting out one day will reduce the amount of merchandise and other stuff they can sell.

    If you keep the next race in the same region it isn't that hard to have back-to-back weekends like we do now. Take 6 weeks or more to do each region. Transportation costs wouldn't increase too much, revenue should increase and fans will still enjoy all 3 days.

      3 years ago
  • Why not run Friday as a young driver day? Each team gets 1 car that they have to run. No driver can have over 10 F1 starts or a full time drive in F1 and must be under 23.

    They get a 45 minute test, followed by a 45 minute qualifying with a top 10 shootout 5 minutes after that.

    Follow that with 2 x 25 lap races were the finishing position of the first race is grid place for race 2.

    End of the year, the team with the most points wins an extra 2 days winter testing.

      3 years ago
    • An extra 2 days testing, having had to rebuild the car every single round after some young hotshot trying to impress totals it.

      Yeah I think the teams would pass on that one.

        3 years ago
  • It is a special sort of arrogance that take the most advanced form of racing that has been tried and tested for decades with a huge global audience and think you can make it better by making rash changes...

    The Indy 500 is a lengthy oval race that goes on and on lap after lap of more of the same I would dare to suggest the American system could learn from European formats as much as the other way round

      3 years ago
  • No, just no! Some innovations from Liberty were good, but this would be terrible

      3 years ago