In Formula 1 there has been a discussion for some time about whether the training time at a Grand Prix weekend should be limited. This debate was set in motion by Formula 1 boss Stefano Domenicali personally.
“I’m in favor of the abolition of free practice sessions, which are of great benefit to engineers but are not welcomed by the public,” he told Portuguese broadcaster SportTV ahead of the Australian Grand Prix.
Many pilots could definitely get used to a reduced training time. And Williams driver Alexander Albon is even of the opinion that you could cancel the entire Friday and shorten a Grand Prix weekend by one day.
Albon cites the Formula 1 calendar as the main point, which now includes 23 races and could continue to grow in the future. “Teams now have to rotate staff,” he explains. Therefore, it is “not a bad thing” to shorten the weekend.
Is one training session enough?
“If we can get there on Thursday and do media day or whatever on Friday, that would be pretty good,” Albon says. A race weekend for drivers and teams currently begins with the media day on Thursday.
This should already be abolished in 2022 in order to reduce the burden on everyone involved. But the plan was abandoned after a few races, which is why Albon is now proposing to simply cancel both training sessions on Friday.
“We just need a workout to set up the brakes, the cooling, the engine cooling and all the things that affect reliability,” emphasizes the Williams driver and suggests: “We could maybe extend FT2 to two hours or so. “
In other words: media day on Friday, a two-hour practice session on Saturday and then straight into qualifying. This idea is not completely new, because in 2020 Formula 1 held a one-off two-day Grand Prix weekend in Imola.
Why Albon is “biased”.
Even then, there was only a 90-minute training session on Saturday morning before qualifying. Albon emphasizes that such a format would also be more environmentally friendly because, for example, you would need far fewer tires than with three training sessions.
“I’m biased, though, because if you limit testing, to be honest, the random factor increases at the weekend,” admits Albon from a sporting point of view. In other words, teams like Williams could benefit from less training time.
“I often have the impression that we have a pretty good car early on in the weekends, in FT1 or FT2,” says Albon, who explains: “You have to do a better job in the simulator than everyone else. There would be something more Work before the event.”
The last reduction in training time in Formula 1 was for the 2021 season. At that time, FT1 and FT2 on Friday were each shortened from 90 to 60 minutes. A total of one hour of training time was canceled.