Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen have no troubles to have the Friday run cut-off if it helps F1, but Sebastian Vettel would like to keep it.
With the idea of having nearly 25 races in a F1 season, the organisers are mulling to cut short the weekend, which includes removing the Friday practice sessions or keep them but push all the Thursday work to Friday.
It is a work in progress with 2020 to be an unofficial litmus test with the calendar probably increasing to 22 races after fresh deal with Mexico and one to come for Spain as well along with Italy.
The F1 Hungarian GP saw a disrupted Friday run, where many couldn’t complete the programme they set out for, especially the long runs which is crucial for teams to determine their Sunday strategy.
They went with a bit of an unknown as there was more risk taking with the strategies without knowing how far the tyres will go on that particular track. Mercedes eventually got it right as Red Bull Racing missed the trick.
It wasn’t the latter’s fault as they would have done the same, had they been in the reverse position. Nevertheless, the situation was tricky still with drivers contemplating how much to push due to lack of running.
When asked Hamilton, Verstappen and Vettel about their thoughts regarding the idea of removing the Friday practice, to add an extra unknown element for Sunday, the former two felt OK with it.
“I never really thought of it,” started Hamilton. “I mean, if it can help with racing, sure. I don’t think the Red Bulls did a long run in Hungary, we did a long run in FP1. I think only one of few that did it.
“I don’t know how much difference that made. It’s just that we did have an understanding of how far we thought we could take the tyres but somehow the other teams are able to do something similar with their strategies.
“It definitely does help when you go into a race and you don’t know how far the tyre’s going to go. I think that is not a bad thing and I think that can add to the spectacle [on a Sunday].
“If you put on a medium tyre or a hard tyre and don’t know how far it’s going to go, none of us do, it definitely makes it more questionable, the strategy. But we’ve got more, bigger problems, fish to fry [at the moment].
“Like the way the car’s designed and things like that for the future.” Hamilton found support in Verstappen, whom he beat after getting the two-stop strategy work in a thrilling Hungarian GP.
“I think anyway, this year already quite often you go into the race on a tyre you haven’t driven on in practice – because you only select one,” said Verstappen. “I think it’s not bad. I like also sometimes the challenge of not knowing what’s happening.
“I mean, the problem is most of the time, you put that tyre on, if the balance is bad it’s hard to pass, for the guy behind. So it’s more about the following where we need to work on. If the guy behind is faster, he should be able to get by. So that’s all in relation to the tyres as well.
“Sometimes, of course, on purpose we don’t select the hardest compound more than once because that’s mandatory. Because you know if you stick it on, even without any knowledge, you can stay ahead and just get to the end.”
While the two agreed, Vettel was orthodox with his answer as he felt that the racers are there to drive. “I actually like driving, so it would be quite bad to get rid of some,” said Vettel. “I don’t think it’s a lot of driving anyway.
“We do a lot of races but overall I don’t think we drive very much. So, it would be a pity, I think. If you want to address the racing then there’s other things to focus on other than adding or taking away a practice session.”