F1's top trio say no to Friday qualifying

Grand Prix racing's three leading drivers have given the thumbs down to plans to re-introduce Friday qualifying in 2001.

F1's top trio say no to Friday qualifying

Mika Hakkinen, Michael Schumacher and David Coulthard reacted in Belgium to proposals being discussed to bring back the hour-long session that was a fixture of the sport in the 1980s.

Whether the times will count individually or the times will be aggregated is to be agreed by team bosses at a meeting in London next week.

Neither of Friday's two sessions currently count towards a driver's grid position and with testing between races on the increase and tyres limited at race weekends, teams are reluctant to waste rubber on Friday unless they absolutely have to.

"From the drivers point of view there is already enough pressure on the driver for Saturday and Sunday," said world champion Hakkinen. "So I wouldn't really like to do it on Friday as well, I wouldn't find it exciting."

Speaking a little tongue in cheek, Coulthard said he was all in favour of scrapping the day entirely and cutting each Grand Prix back to two days.

"I would like to arrive Friday, qualify Saturday and go home Sunday. It would make the weekend shorter," he said with a smile.

Schumacher was equally mischievous: "David's suggestion is quite nice;
arriving Friday makes it just a weekend event, there would be less practice and it would give journalists more free time and less work."

Team boss Alain Prost says there has to be change because Friday has become irrelevant.

"My suggestion last year was to have qualifying on Friday and Saturday and combine the two so that the session still counts if it rains," he said. "I don't think things should stay as they are.

"It is possible at the moment for a team to take out the fuel and put on a set of fresh tyres [and set a good time] just for the publicity."

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