Formula One president Stefano Domenicali 'in favour of' scrapping Friday practice: Report

While the casual fan might be okay with doing away with practice, hardcore fans will have a massive problem.

Stefano Domenicali in a file photo (image credits: twitter)
By Nilavro Ghosh | Mar 28, 2023 | 3 Min Read follow icon Follow Us

Formula One president Stefano Domenicali raised quite a few eyebrows when he said that he was in favour of scrapping the free practice sessions that might benefit the engineers but does not really interest the fans. This is a big statement coming from the president of the biggest motorsport event in the world, especially since free practice is such an important part of the race weekend.

While the casual fan might be okay with doing away with practice, hardcore fans will have a massive problem. Not to mention the difficulty which will be faced by the teams not having the time to strategize and fine tune the car as well as possible.

“I am a supporter of the cancellation of free practice sessions,” he reportedly told Portuguese broadcaster SportTV. “Which are of great use to the engineers but that the public doesn’t like.” Three practise sessions are typically held over the course of an F1 weekend, stretching from Friday morning to Saturday afternoon, but the introduction of sprint races in 2021 changed this schedule.

The number of practise sessions is reduced to two during a sprint weekend, which will feature a record six of them in 2023, with qualifying for the sprint race taking place on Friday afternoon. Since there is usually no racing on Friday, hosting the first day of a grand prix can be expensive for promoters. F1 is one of these this season with the Las Vegas Grand Prix.

Hamilton ‘not planning on going anywhere’

For the past couple of years, Mercedes have been in a spot of bother. Ever since Max Verstappen edged Lewis Hamilton to the driver’s world championship in 2021, the team has simply not been the same dominant force fans have been used to. This fact rings true even for Lewis Hamilton. The seven-time world champion failed to win a single race in 2022 and has had a lackluster start to the 2023 campaign as well. Hamilton has finished fifth in both the Bahrain and Saudi Arabian GP.

Read More – Fernando Alonso compares Aston Martin rise to Brawn GP success in 2009

Earlier, team principal Toto Wolff said that he would understand if the motorsport legend chooses to leave the team if they do not improve within the next couple of years. When asked about the same, Hamilton said that he was not bothered about the comments. “I’m not focused on that,” the Brit said as per “I love this team. I’m so grateful for everyone that’s been on the journey with me with this team. I don’t envisage being anywhere else. I don’t see myself quitting. I don’t feel like I’m a quitter.”

However, the second oldest driver on the grid in 2023 has also acknowledged that Mercedes’ performance this season has been below par and that it has not given him a lot to be positive about. “I wouldn’t say that it’s giving me a lot,” he said.

“I’ve been there and done that and bought the t-shirt many times. But I am trying to be patient and work with the team to get us to a good place. That’s all I can say right now. I’m not planning on going anywhere.”