The oft-considered, but never actioned, suggestion of running grands prix weekends over just two days has resurfaced in the wake of the Japanese Grand Prix, which saw qualifying rained off until raceday.
Ironically, it was the same event, back in 2004, that last raised the possibility of the traditional three-day weekend being condensed into just two days, when Typhoon Ma-on swept close to Suzuka, postponing the then two-legged qualifying session until Sunday morning. Although talks to consider the format as a permanent switch took place, they were quickly dismissed.
Now, with the same scenario occurring exactly six years on, and with the F1 calendar set to swell to 20 races next season, discussions have re-opened in a bid to ease the load placed on race teams across the campaign.
“Discussions on the weekend format have indeed taken place in Japan,” a FOTA contact told GPUpdate.net
, “The first step was a preliminary exchange of ideas but the debate is, however, ongoing. Provided that it is not a decision pertaining only to the teams, more details will be made available in due course.”
The biggest opponents to the plan are likely to be the circuits, which claim to derive a substantial proportion of their F1-related income from the tickets sold for Friday's action, even though it is of little consequence to the weekend as a whole. They could be sated, however, by making the former practice day one for testing, albeit with restrictions placed on teams, such as the use of young drivers not yet involved in F1.