Autosport have recently reported that a potential shake-up of the way a race weekend is structured is being discussed. The newly-formed Formula One Team’s Association have been looking at a lot of aspects relating to Formula One, and as usual when these kind of discussions happen, the age-old Friday’s aren’t particularly interesting line comes out. Martin Whitmarsh appears to have been the most vocal on this, but his idea is just plain silly.
Of course, many Formula One fans will not even realise the cars are running on the Friday, completely unaware that there are two 90 minute practice sessions. And why would they be aware? The practice sessions accounts for no part of the result and they merely allow the drivers a chance to fine-tune their set up for qualifying the following day.
At the moment we formulated a Friday testing format, but in reality no one is doing the normal disciplined testing. We are preparing for the race [instead].
If you give a race team the chance to go on the race track where they are going to race at on the Sunday on the Friday before, then we must have been nuts to think that we will be doing engineering testing. So we are all as bad as one another. Martin Whitmarsh.
That’s a fair statement, I think. Whitmarsh has essentially stated that although the original plan was x, everyone is in fact doing y. So they realise that perhaps there is a problem, and now FOTA intend to find a solution…
So we say, is this good value? Does it help the show? Or do you perhaps do something where you say, let’s cut it down to 45 minutes only, maybe you give a completely different specification of tyres, a really hard tyre, and you create a mini competition where everyone tries to set the fastest time and you give a million dollars to the winning driver?
It means there would be something to write about and it introduces the weekend. It is separate from the race. So there are all those sort of ideas about. Martin Whitmarsh.
What!? While giving away vast sums of money for setting the fastest lap on a Friday will give people like myself something to write about, I do not see how that, in any way, shape or form, adds value to a racing weekend; something Martin Whitmarsh asked at the very beginning of his statement. Saturday is interesting because it contributes (indirectly) to the final race result. Qualifying – in it’s old format (sorry, couldn’t resist) – was a competition to get the fastest lap, and at circuits like Monaco, it is pretty important to qualify as high up the grid as possible. But a shoot-out competition? That is completely separate to the end result and the reason why 20 drivers race every other weekend of the season.
Instead, FOTA need to find a way of incorporating Friday into the weekend. Perhaps it should be a sort of pre-qualifying event? The positions of the drivers at the end of the session determines how many laps you will be allowed to use during a newly revised one-hour/x-laps qualifying session. Say, the top five can use 12 laps, the next five can use 9 laps, then 6 laps and the bottom five only get 3 laps, an out-lap, a quick-lap and an in-lap. Or better still, if there was a way to police it, reverse all that.
Admittedly, that’s a crazy idea that I came up with in about 30 seconds, but in my humble opinion, that is miles better than watching a race which has nothing to do with the grand prix or the championship. How is what Martin Whitmarsh suggested going to make me tune-in on a Friday?
So, dear readers of BlogF1, what would you do to add interest to Grand Prix Fridays? The comments are open, so get the brains in gear and let us know…