Teams considering GP weekend shake-up

Formula One teams are considering a radical shake-up of the race weekend format as part of their plans to revitalize the sport

Teams considering GP weekend shake-up

The new Formula One Teams' Association (FOTA) is evaluating all aspects of Grand Prix racing, and autosport.com has learned that part of the discussions revolve around a total overhaul of the way weekends are structured.

In particular, the focus is on ensuring that Fridays deliver more for fans - and one proposal being floated is for the current extended practice sessions being replaced with a special, shootout-like, timed session for a cash prize.

McLaren F1 CEO Martin Whitmarsh, who heads the sporting working group of FOTA, told autosport.com that discussions had already taken place about changing the structure of Fridays.

"We are looking at the whole format of a race weekend," he explained. "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.

"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.

"The good thing is that people now realise that we do have to do something and I think (we are having) quite a creative open discussion. And I hope over Japan and Shanghai that we will reach some conclusions.

"We then have to make recommendations to FOTA and that has to then go through the FIA, but hopefully we can do that."

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