Formula 1 has clarified a comment from CEO Stefano Domenicali’s in which the Italian hinted at a possible “cancellation” of practice sessions in the weekend format.
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Speaking to Portuguese broadcaster Sport TV while attending a round of the Moto GP at the Autodromo do Algarve, Domenicali said that he supports “the cancellation of free practice sessions” in F1.
“I am a supporter of the cancellation of free practice sessions, which are of great use to the engineers but that the public doesn’t like,” he said.
Cutting free practice from F1’s weekend schedule would not only deprive teams of important track time, as Domenicali alludes to, it would also take away three hours of track action for the sport’s fans.
On Monday however, according to RaceFans, an F1 spokesperson clarified Domenicali’s comments, saying that the sport was looking at ways to make the practice sessions more engaging, not at crossing them out altogether.
Ideas such as offering rewards or points have allegedly been tabled, although no clear plan has yet emerged.
In 2021, Formula 1 tweaked the duration of its practice sessions, reducing the latter from 90 to 60 minutes, while the introduction of Sprint qualifying at selected venues reduced Friday practice to a single session.
Read also: Domenicali expects ‘a lot of attention’ on F1 budget cap issues
Last year, Domenicali had already touched on the possibility of adding some competitive value to F1’s practice sessions.
“Free practice is very interesting for the engineers or for the drivers, but at the end of the day, in sport, you need to fight for something,” he said.
“Every time we will be on the track – with the respect of the race on Sunday, that has to be always the most important part of it – there should be something to fight for in terms of points, in terms of awards. That’s my opinion.”
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