F1 drivers and team bosses speak on how the current format of weekend is and if the changes is working well in 2022 or not.
With the expanding calendar, F1 decided to cut down on Thursday media day and push it into Friday running with FP1 starting slightly later than its scheduled time. This was done to curtail the travel day of teams, drivers, and the media.
Despite this change, few teams do keep media sessions for Thursday still like the previous times along with the usual media work for Friday, Saturday and Sunday. This is what some of the drivers think is not right for them as they are still doing the same.
What drivers aren’t liking is the same number of questions asked by media to them and that they have to repeat the answers multiple times. There will be discussions from GPDA side with F1 and the FIA to see how they can go ahead with it.
F1 drivers –
Russell: “Obviously with the GPDA, I’ve only been around for three years, but I think between all of the drivers we are incredibly united and we’ve got a constant communication with Formula 1 and FIA to try to improve our sport in every single aspect. It’s forever developing, forever changing and I don’t think there’s anything more to elaborate at the moment. I think it’s important that between the drivers, F1 and the FIA, we’ve all on the same page and we’re all pushing in the same direction.”
Leclerc: “On the format, I quite like the Friday, to be honest. Just because a normal Friday is normally pretty boring: we have FP1, FP2, FP3, lots of practice. Now, it’s straight to the point so I quite like this. Then, for the Saturday I believe we could do something better. Either having a standout race that doesn’t affect Sunday’s race, to have a bit more action on the Saturday and people taking a bit more risk, but yeah, apart from that, for the Friday itself, I quite like it.”
Bottas: “In a way, it’s nice to get going immediately. Like qualifying already today and everyday there’s a session that is crucial for the weekend. I have a feeling with the current cars, with definitely being able to follow closer, I think maybe we have a chance to get a bit more out of the sprint and hopefully see a bit more action.”
Verstappen: The format, I think it’s more about how we are doing the press conferences and the media activities. I think it was better before, because now, our Thursday is very long, which officially is not really a day any more but actually for us is the same – or even more on a Thursday, and even more now on a Friday when you come in early. Coming in early is not a problem but your whole day is longer. So, I… with going to more races you would like to have a shorter weekend – but actually now with more races we are also having longer weekends, or at least more days that we are actually at the track and doing stuff. So, yeah, that definitely needs to change. I think it doesn’t matter if it’s all on Thursday or all on Friday.
“It’s more about… we do this, then we go outside, then we have to speak to all the individual medias… but they all ask the same question, and you’re basically repeating yourself six or seven times. And you try, of course, to keep it interesting, to try to word it in a different way – but at the end of the day you say the same thing, right? So, we see in other sports as well, when they have a press conference, there are a lot of mics just brought together and, instead of giving the broadcasters, like two questions each, they all have, basically, whatever, six, eight, ten questions, just in one go and they can all broadcast it.
“So, I think that’s also way more efficient and nicer for everyone. It doesn’t matter if you have 20 mics lined-up all from different companies. You get a lot more out of the drivers. We already know that, if we leave here, we have to go outside and we have to repeat ourselves at least six to eight times. And it’s just… when you start, it’s exciting, the first two, when you continue to the other ones, it’s going to be boring. It’s not nice for them, it’s not nice for us. So, I think we can be a lot more efficient with that.”
Ssainz: “It’s something that we are discussing with FOM and FIA to maybe spice up a bit the Sprint weekend. I think there is good potential there, and obviously on a standard weekend, I agree with Max, we are going towards more number of races but for some reason that maybe we didn’t expect this year, both Thursday and Friday have become a lot longer for the drivers and the amount of media that we are facing every day, and the amount of time that we are spending at the track in meetings and activities has increased a lot, even as we are going towards a higher number of races. So, we are going to need to find a way to control this in a more efficient way, let’s say.”
Albon: “I think we should consider it [going back]. We’ve done what we’ve done to reduce the load on everyone. But at the same time, it seems that we’ve created more load. And it does seem on Fridays, especially right now, we would love to be talking with engineers and getting ready for a very busy weekend. But instead we have media duties, which is fine. But then on Thursday we were also pretty busy. And it hasn’t really changed Thursdays. So I think, for us, we will have a discussion and see where we can improve things. I think it benefits everyone as well for it to happen.”
Guanyu: “Yeah, obviously, I haven’t experienced the old one, but I was there as like a test driver for the other team in the past. But it seems to be like was the new format, it didn’t really increase our time to be spending with the engineers. It’s just more that we do more media activity, so that we don’t get to finish on Thursday earlier. I think if anything we finish the same time but then we start Friday, the same or earlier than before. I think Max already mentioned. So I think it’s something that we can take into consideration. Maybe try to, you know, do some changes. That would be nice.”
Magnussen: “Well, if the reason for the change was to make the weekend shorter that certain certainly hasn’t worked. But, you know, for me, that’s okay. My problem with it is that you go through a lot of interviews in a weekend. And it’s hard because you’re answering the exact same question. So although it’s about the subject that you’re very excited about, that wears off, through Thursday and then into Friday, and you know, it becomes a bit hard to be authentic at the end, when you’ve answered the same question 30 times. But you know, it’s not really up to me.”
Vettel: “I think Kevin hit the nail on the head. So the incentive was to make it shorter, it hasn’t worked. So I think we need to improve. We can improve. The main thing is you want us to be excited if you have the same questions for an hour, it’s not going to be. I think we’ve been all been to the TV and basically our excitement is not at its peak. I don’t know I think we need to find a better way.”
F1 team bosses –
Tost: “What the media wants: to have them here on Wednesday, Tuesday, Thursday, whatever, no problem, just let us know. Drivers will be here.”
Binotto: “Obviously, when you’ve got such a change, I think you need to go through the experience and judge it after few appointments, and few events. I think certainly we can try to collect the feedback and together with FIA and F1, F1 Commission, we can certainly try to discuss and try to review if there is anything that we can do to improve. But I think it doesn’t mean that implies that we need to change.
“I think it’s only a matter that, at first, we need try to collect information, collect experience. If you look at the overall schedule of the calendar, a number of races, I think it’s important still to try to reduce the length of the weekend and that was the attempt. I think that was an important attempt, if I look at the mechanics, certainly they are resting more today. And for us, that’s a key element. But certainly, open to discuss.”
Steiner: “Yeah, it is coming up now we have done three races, so this one is the fourth one with the different schedule so I think we have to sit down and see what works and what doesn’t work. As I always say you have to do it and then see what you can do better. I think some things are better, some things maybe are not as good but I think it needs a bit of discussion and then maybe we have to readjust it. But in general, I think it’s not a bad thing what we are doing, but we need to look into how we can make it even better and to make the savings in our time work for everybody even better.”
Capito: “Yeah, that came up also last night when we were talking about… mainly who goes to bed, at what time and who wakes up at what time and how to physical proof… physical practice at what… it was quite interesting. What we also discussed, that came up a bit in discussion and said we should do it a couple of more races, and then discuss together and analyse what’s better, what’s worse. And then yeah, make changes if we think we can do better.”
Krack: “Well, I cannot really compare to how it was before. So yeah, I think you know, it’s never easy to make a schedule that suits everybody so I think we all pay to do a job and everybody tries as best as he can to accommodate. So as the two guys before said, we wait a couple of races and adjust when needed. But yeah, I think it’s secondary priority.”
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