‘Really bad idea’: Fans react to F1 CEO’s desire to change grand prix weekends

·2-min read

Formula 1 fans have reacted online after the prospect of practice sessions being altered in the future was raised by F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali.

A normal race weekend consists of three one-hour practice sessions, two on Friday and one on Saturday prior to qualifying, with the race on Sunday.

But Domenicali, with a view to attracting more competition when cars are on track and making the action more exciting and entertaining for fans, says the current format of three practice sessions could be changed in the future.

Six of the 23 race meets this season are sprint weekends where the schedule will consist of one hour of practice on Friday, followed by qualifying, with a second practice on Saturday prior to the sprint race – a race one-third the distance of the usual number of laps for that circuit – and the normal grand prix on Sunday.

“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,” Domenicali told Portuguese outlet SportTV at the opening event of the MotoGP season on Sunday.

Reaction on social media from F1 fans has been mostly negative, with one noting: “Really bad idea. Asking for reliability issues during races” while another simply quipped: “Devastating.”

Changes to the format of practice sessions have been positively discussed in the F1 Commission recently.

Last year, Domenicali elaborated on discussions taking place surrounding the structure of a Formula 1 race weekend.

Stefano Domenicali supports the cancellation of free practice sessions (Getty Images)
Stefano Domenicali supports the cancellation of free practice sessions (Getty Images)

“In a normal weekend, consisting of free practice one and two on Friday, each session should put up for grabs either points, or single qualifying lap – qualifying for a different, shorter Saturday race, instead of the third free practice, perhaps with the reverse grid mechanism," the ex-Ferrari chief said.

"We are putting a lot of things on the table. A lot of people say no, but we have seen on some occasions the beauty [of mixed grids], more overtaking."

Sprint races were first introduced in Formula 1 in 2021. The Baku City Circuit in Azerbaijan will host the first sprint weekend this season at the end of April.

Meanwhile, the 2023 season rolls into Melbourne this weekend for the Australian Grand Prix at Albert Park.