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Formula 1 has decided that canceling Friday’s Free Practice 1 session is not something they are willing to do just yet. In a meeting this week, the F1 Commission met to discuss future plans for F1 and as AUTOSPORT mentioned recently, the notion of canceling the first practice session on Friday was one of them.

According to their recent news report, the concept was turned down by the commission as promoters feared a negative impact on ticket sales—you think? The whole notion of canceling Friday’s first practice session was to save money but there are other factors being considered although FIA president, Jean Todt, called those a “joke”.

What was left to discuss is the use of tire blankets and the group did not cancel the use of those but did suggest that Pirelli branding on the blankets would reduce their costs. Other changes discussed were expanded Parc Ferme restrictions and the number of team personnel who can attend a race—something in the neighborhood of reducing that number by two.

There was a tweak to 2015 testing, however, and now we will have two in-season sessions with the pre-season testing to take place in Europe only.

The “changes” have to be ratified by the FIA’s World Motor Sport Council in Munich next week. The timing is crucial as F1’s looming June 30 regulatory deadline is near and any changes after this date require unanimous agreement from all teams. As of now, it only requires a 70% majority via the F1 Strategy group and its representatives.

So these are the big cost-cutting ideas that F1 has come up with? Tire blankets, having two fewer people at a race and possibly looking at a simplified fuel system, braking system with reduced testing? Sometimes you simply have to shake your head and wonder what these folks are truly thinking.

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An F1 fan since 1972, NC has spent over 25 years in the technology industry and as a CTO, he focuses on technology integration in commercial workspace design, AV systems integration, digital media strategies, technology planning, consulting, speaking, presenting, sales, content strategy, marketing and brand building.
  • Tom Firth

    F1 needs someone in a authoritarian position from the outside of the teams to come and say, you have to cut X Y and Z if the sport is going to actually take cost cutting seriously.

    By leaving decisions to the strategy group to cut costs is pointless, those teams are living on a different planet to the ones that need the cost saving to survive, non of them really care about cutting costs, all of them care about there own interests over securing the future of the series.
    Three of them have seen 3/4 of the grid fall by the wayside in the past few years, will always be another billionaire to buy in and prop up the grid is what I feel the approach is from the strategy group myself.

    Whether that’s right I don’t know but that’s my opinion and this is F1 post Bernie folks, It’s starting to happen. The inevitable, when the teams been kept nearly at bay for so many years are now after the big prize.

    For the first time, I agree with Jean Todt, its a joke and it’s going to kill the series.

  • Shane

    They’re not thinking, they’re just making fools of themselves again.

    If they’re really looking for cost-saving solutions, how about repositioning the Canadian GP on the calendar? How much money does it cost the teams to go from Monaco, to Montreal for one race, then back to Europe? Wouldn’t it be more logical to place the Americas’ races together like the European races? It just looks like a logistical waste. I realize Bernie was trying to get the New Jersey race positioned right after the Montreal race, but they’d still be coming back for Austin and Sau Paulo later in the season.

    I agree with Tom, there needs to be an outside influence that exposes the areas the really impact the budgets, including the costs of the “power units” that are designed to save fuel…one of the most hypocritical policies that I’ve seen to date.

  • Andreas

    Proper cost-saving could be had by limiting the number of aero parts (for instance mandating the front wing to have two planes max) – as it is now, there’s probably 10 times the amount of carbon fibre in the scrap bin than on the car, caused by continually testing, rejecting, redesigning and retesting all those little winglets, flaps and what have you. Cutting friday practice would only end up as a loss for the race tracks, whose only source of income is the ticket sales (of which Bernie takes a large chunk) – everything else is owned and sold by FOM/CVC.

    So while scrapping that idea was good, they’re planning on going forward with standing restarts, as another way of “improving the show”. To me, that’s a really daft idea. First you trundle around behind the safety car for X number of laps (extended, to allow the lapped cars to un-lap themselves). Then you stop and do a standing start – which will inevitably result in first-corner mayhem, new safety car periods and another standing restart… If the conditions are bad enough to warrant a proper restart, just red flag the race. If not, let them race once the safety car-causing conditions are no longer there. Or better yet, try implementing the “slow zone” concept used at Le Mans this year – that way, the gaps stay the same. Unless of course F1 isn’t really interested in the sport – if all they want is short bursts of excitement, bunching the cars up (eradicating any gaps built up), re-shuffling the order and doing a new standing start makes sense. Why not just have 10 starts? First one to arrive at turn 2 wins each start, and whoever has most “wins” after start 10 gets the points, excuse me – the gold medal…

    And they’re also testing fake sparks – titanium plates underneath the car which are there solely to make sparks. It has nothing to do with function or the effect of a low-slung car bottoming out while flat out – it’s just to “improve the show”. Where is this going? I’ve followed F1 closer than ever this year, because of the racing being (to me) more exciting than it has been in a long while. But all this fakery and “show” stuff is starting to put me off. Seriously – F1 does need a re-think, but not in the sense that is proposed. Throw out all the “show” people and focus on the actual sport. Then people will follow.