Stefano Domenicali speaks again about limiting practice sessions in F1 weekends during his visit to MotoGP’s opener in Portugal.
Even during a non-F1 weekend, Domenicali kept the sport in news after he was seen at Portimao for the first MotoGP weekend of 2023 season. The two-wheel championship started a new era with its own ‘Sprint’ race on Saturday.
They are not limiting to few events but the whole season in a new weekend format. It is partly a leaf out of F1’s books who already initiated the sprint events couple of years ago. It started with three events, but 2023 will see six of it after much deliberations.
The sprint weekends cuts one practice session, something that Domenicali likes as he reckons the practice sessions are not value to public but more to teams, engineers and drivers. Several discussions have taken place regarding the same in meetings.
Last year, Domenicali suggested radical changes which even floated the idea of points for topping practice which will increase interest. But so far, nothing has been decided as yet, even though the Italian sticks with the idea of trialing a new format.
“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,” said Domenicali when speaking to Portugal’s SportTV. “I think to see from a fan perspective that every day there is something to fight for on the track is very important.
“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. There are already limitations on the calendar to have free practice out of the racing weekend. So I will be very aggressive to have one free practice in the morning on Friday and then every time we go on the track, something to be awarded.
“Because in that respect, there is some action going on, people are always connected to understand what is happening. So this will be my input for the discussion on the future. 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,” summed up Domenicali.
F1 trialed a 3-day weekend format last year but it didn’t affect the on-track running. It was more pushing media day into a busy Friday. It didn’t work out as they reverted back to Thursday being the media day due to extra load on Friday.
The outcome of any discussions remains to be seen but considering the talk, F1 could eventually drop a practice session and retain two for a weekend. That is a compromise that could be adopted if teams and drivers put up a resistance to not cancelling sessions.
With sprint sessions not likely to be a full calendar thing, F1 – in the writer’s opinion – should think of having FP1 on Friday evening after media sessions in the afternoon, followed by FP2 on Saturday morning with qualifying in evening and race on Sunday.
A pleasure to have very special guest @F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali waving the chequered flag yesterday! 🏁
We hope you enjoyed the racing, Stefano! 🙌#PortugueseGP 🇵🇹 pic.twitter.com/uPtRy3B48o
— MotoGP™🏁 (@MotoGP) March 27, 2023
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