After a 2017 Formula One championship in which the number of overtakes dropped by half, the sport’s new owners opted to “inject fresh energy and innovation” with a new logo. Now, with minimal regulation changes, Formula One’s powers that be are looking to make another radical change, to the race weekend format. Thankfully, while the sport has considered shortening races and even having a Grand Prix consist of two shorter races or even following the F2 format, Formula One Managing Director of Motorsports Ross Brawn, admits race day looks safe, at least for now:
“I think the length of a Grand Prix is about right.” – Ross Brawn said, as reported by Sky Sports. “It’s not too long, it’s not too short, it engages you. We want a grand prix to evolve and have its highlights and come together at the end,” he continued. “So I’m not sure that we should be thinking in terms of changing a grand prix length. I think we have other things we can do to enhance grand prix racing rather than changing around the format. Qualifying works fairly well. I think practice on a Friday is open to discussion. Whether we need two sessions, whether we move to just an afternoon session, because another factor in all of this is the number of races we have. If we have an increased number of races, do we change the format to put less pressure on the teams to be able to do those races?”
Fact is, fans want to see the cars on track doing what they do as much as possible, not less, and as Christian Horner has previously argued, if the teams are travelling to a destination spending less time on track will not make any difference in terms of cost effectiveness. Ross Brawn also suggests that Formula 1 would benefit from Le Mans-style open scrutineering:
“The fans always come first.” – Formula One’s Managing Director of Motorsports adds – “What do the fans want to see in a grand prix weekend? Getting close to the cars and getting close to the drivers is something we always get feedback on. It’s an essential part for the fans. So over a race weekend, could we do more to let the fans get closer to the cars? One proposal is to have open scrutineering, so the cars literally have to go out into the field to be scrutineered so the fans can come and see them. It happens at Le Mans and is a great event. All the fans come, the cars are lifted up and you can see underneath them. So we’re exploring things of that nature. But I’m fairly conservative about the format of the racing, and I haven’t got any major plans on that at the moment.” – Ross Brawn concluded, as reported by Sky Sports.