Haas team principal Guenther Steiner believes Formula 1 is right to look at condensing the first two days of a race weekend to allow for more events.
Key meetings took place in Paris last week aimed at finalizing the 2021 regulations that will be published at the end of the month, and potential race weekend schedule changes were among the topics discussed. While teams did not unanimously back a trial of qualifying races, the lead proposal for a schedule change involves all practice taking place on a Friday afternoon with media and PR on Friday morning – an idea that Steiner is a fan of.
“The talk is to just do running on a Friday afternoon, with all the other PR activities taking place in the morning. I think that would be a good way forward, especially with an extended calendar,” said Steiner.
The plan is borne from Liberty Media’s desire to add more races, as evidenced by a record 22 grands prix being schduled for 2020. However after Formula 1’s Ross Brawn ruled out holding qualifying and the race on the same day – as was the case in Japan due to a typhoon – Steiner agreed that to run both a few hours apart on a regulr basis would be asking a lot of the teams.
“I think to do it like this, it made for a very busy Sunday,” he said. “The day flew past very quickly, you’re all very busy and everything needs to be done a lot quicker. I don’t think it had an effect on team personnel, they just had to adapt, and our guys adapted pretty well. I would just say it was too much for one day – having both qualifying and the race on one day – but in those circumstances, it was the right decision. Everybody coped and I think it was an interesting race.”
Despite such a schedule appearing to be off the table as a permanent option, Romain Grosjean said it worked well to do both qualifying and the race on the Sunday from a driver’s point of view.
“I actually enjoyed it quite a lot,” Grosjean said. “Having qualifying and the race on the same day – yes it was a busy Sunday, but it was pretty cool. For me, it was quite a good Sunday. I enjoyed the schedule. I thought it was cool. For the crew, though, it was hard work having to jump from qualifying debrief straight into the race.”