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Financial incentive for fastest F1 Friday time?

In a proposed radical shake-up of Formula 1's Friday free practice sessions at grand prix weekends, it has been suggested that drivers be given the incentive of a $1 million prize for setting the fastest time of the day.

The utility of F1's officially-designated 'practice day' has been the topic of debate for some time, with fans and the media alike finding little merit in tuning in when drivers and teams are conducting what is essentially a glorified test session and little to be able to be read into the eventual timesheets.

That has prompted the teams to ponder one of two options – jazzing the day up or, in a time of ever-greater belt-tightening necessity in the top flight, doing away with it altogether. Friday qualifying was last run in 2003, in order to determine the running order for Saturday's one-hour session.

“The teams are looking at the whole format of a race weekend,” McLaren chief executive Martin Whitmarsh is quoted as having said by international news agency Reuters. “We have formulated a Friday testing format, but in reality nobody is doing the normal disciplined testing – we're preparing for the race.

“So we say: 'Is this good value? Does it help the show?' Or perhaps you say 'Let's cut it down to only 45 minutes'. Maybe you specify a really hard tyre and create a mini-competition where everybody tries to set the fastest time and you give a million dollars to the quickest driver.

“It would be a good start to the weekend, give the press something to write about and be completely separate to Sunday's race. There are all those sorts of ideas around.”

Whitmarsh is in charge of the working group of the new Formula One Teams' Association (FOTA), which has been tasked by FIA President Max Mosley to come up with ideas to spice up the sport's spectacle, improve energy efficiency and cut costs.

More discussions are due to be held during FOTA meetings at the upcoming two grands prix in Japan and China, before the teams' recommendations are submitted to the governing body.

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Mark - Unregistered

October 01, 2008 8:17 PM

Suggestions: - Friday practice -- one additional "Manufacturer Point" to the fastest manufacturer. (no driver standing change) A LOT of the smaller teams would benefit from this. - Saturday qualifying -- One additional "manufacturer point" / "driver point" for qualifying fastest. It would motivate a lot of the smaller teams to go for this point (and publicity) that they might never get while actually racing. It would also move backmarkers further up teh field which would affect "race strategy" - Sunday race -- One additional "drivers point" for "fastest lap" during the race. Motivation for the backmarkers or top drivers who had race problems to continue racing at full speed.

Nosebleed - Unregistered

October 01, 2008 11:28 AM

Paying a bonus of any amount to the driver will absolutely not make F1 more relevant to this fan. The drivers are already being paid to win, and qualifying is part of the winning process. $1m is just an obscene amount of money. I''d much rather the team and/or driver nominate a charity and the money go to the charity. But I suppose greed will win out in the end. Greed seems to be the only motivation for F1 at this time.

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