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Steiner: F1 shouldn't be "too draconian" with format changes

Haas team boss Gunther Steiner has cautioned Formula 1 against "too draconian" format changes to boost the spectacle, amid suggestions that it could find ways to reward practice.

George Russell, Mercedes F1 W14, Lance Stroll, Aston Martin AMR23, Nico Hulkenberg, Haas VF-23

F1 has long been looking at format tweaks to enhance the entertainment, particularly with regards to reducing the standard grand prix format's three practice sessions and instead introduce some form of jeopardy from Friday onwards.

It is that idea that led to the introduction of sprints and FOM is now evaluating further tweaks to make Fridays more exciting.

While Steiner is one of many supporters of the introduction of a dedicated qualifying session for sprint races to replace a lame duck Saturday practice under parc ferme conditions, he has cautioned against "too draconian" changes and doesn't think rewarding practice sessions with points or other benefits is a good idea.

"Either it's a competition or a practice, in my opinion. You cannot say whoever wins practice because then you need to make a race out of it," said Steiner. "Because if there is something at the end of it, everybody will race for it and then maybe we dilute the races and what they'll do.

"We need to be careful not to try now to be too draconian and then change everything. Let's change bit by bit, always make sure we try something and if it doesn't work, don't be afraid to do something different, not to be stubborn and stuck on it. That is always my idea.

"And that is how we came along to having this sprint weekend because in the beginning a lot of people were against it. Now I think everybody is pretty happy that we have got it.

"I think a normal race weekend we can leave that for the time being what it is."

George Russell, Mercedes-AMG

George Russell, Mercedes-AMG

Photo by: Steve Etherington / Motorsport Images

 

Mercedes driver and GPDA director George Russell pointed out that with testing as limited as it is, teams need to be able to test new items on the car without worrying about any sort of reward for topping a session.

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 "I think [it should be] just practice to dial in the car, to test things for the future," he said.

"We obviously have no testing at all. I think one session is good enough for all of us to do the various things we need to try and to help develop.

"This is still the pinnacle of the sport and you don't want to be just left with the car that you created at the start of the year with no opportunity to try out new things.

"And that is sort of the beauty, sometimes; you've got this 60-minute session, you can try new things, develop, improve further. Whereas if you're going straight into a session that is points-worthy or there is a reward, you're less likely to trial new things."

Additional reporting by Alex Kalinauckas

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