Haas team principal Guenther Steiner says he expects Formula 1 to apply a two-day format at some races in 2021 providing this weekend’s trial at Imola is successful.

Noise restrictions around Imola mean that this weekend will be a test of F1’s possible future two-day race weekend format, with no Friday practice sessions taking place.

Instead, a single 90-minute practice will happen on Saturday morning ahead of the usual qualifying session, before Sunday’s grand prix.

While F1 was already provided a glimpse of a slimmed-down weekend format at the Nurburgring when poor weather conditions forced Friday’s running to be abandoned, this is the first planned two-day event.

With F1 planning on a 23-race 2021 calendar featuring two triple-header events, Steiner believes it is likely that the format will be carried over into next year at some races if it works well at this weekend’s Emilia Romagna Grand Prix.

“There was no talk about formats [in Monday’s F1 Commission meeting] but I think there will be, like we are doing here, a two-day format to see how that works,” Steiner said.

“That could be made into the outcome if we agree on it, we could apply this format - if it works - through to some races next year, for example if there are triple-headers it could be a two-day format.

“I do not know all the contracts with the local promoters with the FOM so it’s maybe not right for me to say what they can and can’t do but I think we just need to be trying to be creative and apply what we learn.

“If we learn this weekend that this two-day format works well, why wouldn’t we apply it if it is legally possible with the contracts.”

Asked how likely he feels it is that F1 will be able to pull off a 23-round calendar considering the tightening of restrictions due to a rise in coronavirus cases across Western Europe, Steiner replied: “If you start off with compromises you never get anything done.

“F1 is working diligently to get a full race calendar in and if a few drop out, it’s never good, but it’s not as bad. If you wait until everything is 100 percent sure with this pandemic, you will never be until it’s over and that could be years away.

“But we will get smarter with how to work with it and maybe there is a vaccine. There are a lot of maybes out there which I am not able to answer but I think it is the right approach. Go wide open as if it would be normal and then go back from that one rather than build it up slowly.”

 

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