McLaren boss Andreas Seidl says shortening grand prix weekends to two days would be a “positive” move – but not as a lever to introduce more races.
Abandonment of both Friday practice sessions at the Eifel Grand Prix because of weather conditions meant that event was limited to two days of track running, albeit the drivers and teams were still in the Nurburgring paddock rather than being off site.
But the upshot of what happened in Germany was that many F1 personnel spoke in favour of restricting race weekends to two days, as will be the case for the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix at Imola on October 31-November 1 seven days after the previous event in Portugal.
Seidl, the McLaren team principal, has revealed he can also see the benefits – as long as it does not encourage Formula 1 to further expand what is already a jam-packed calendar.
Before the global health pandemic, the 2020 F1 schedule was due to comprise 22 races – and there are suggestions that even more could be shoehorned into future campaigns.
Already looking ahead to next week. pic.twitter.com/3o5xtxsmUm
— McLaren (@McLarenF1) October 16, 2020
“Shortening the weekends to Saturday and Sunday will have a positive influence,” said Seidl, quoted by Motorsport-total.com.
“But it doesn’t affect how many races you can do. I would not justify that we can then use more weekends.
“The problem for me is that you are away from home on these weekends and that is not sustainable for our team members.”
The German’s comments are in spite of the fact that the new Concorde Agreement says a season can be increased to 25 races.
Seidl added: “In the end we were happy with the overall result, but that doesn’t mean we have to make 25 races.
“I am sure there will be further discussions between all parties as to what the right path looks like.”
Seidl’s counterpart at Mercedes, Toto Wolff, can see arguments both for and against two-day weekends, from the contrasting perspectives of the sport itself and race promoters respectively.
“Personally, I like it very much,” said Wolff of two-day weekends. “If you have less practice and data, there is greater variability. In the end, it is not the strongest team that wins but the one that can adapt best and is the most innovative.
“But you have to ask the question to the promoters because they sell tickets for Friday. A lot of people can’t afford weekend tickets and can still see Formula 1 cars on Friday. That’s something to consider.”