F1 urged ‘to get rid of Friday practice’ and switch to two-day format

Thomas Maher
Fernando Alonso leads a Ferrari and Mercedes. F1 Bahrain March 2023

Fernando Alonso leads a Ferrari and Mercedes. Bahrain March 2023

Sky F1 broadcaster and former race strategist Bernie Collins has pinpointed an area she’d make major changes if she made the rules for Formula 1.

Collins, who worked with Aston Martin and, previously, Racing Point, as a race strategist, has swapped from sitting on the pitwall to being on the microphone for 2023 after joining the Sky F1 broadcasting team.

Joining the Sky F1 podcast during the lengthy break between the Australian and Azerbaijan Grands Prix, Collins was asked about what changes she’d like to see being made to Formula 1, if she had the authority to do so.

Without hesitation, Collins revealed that she could like to see Grand Prix weekends shortened to just two days of track action – not only just to shorten the event, but to introduce a lot more uncertainty for the teams.

Bernie Collins: Get rid of Friday practice!

“I am just gonna say I would get rid of the practice,” she said when asked what rule changes she’d introduce if she could.

“I would get rid of the standard weekend and get rid of Friday. I’d just have the FP3 practice, quali, and race – a two-day weekend. I know why we do the Friday and I get that it’s like more running for everything.

“I think the Friday is probably good at the minute because we give the young drivers an opportunity throughout the year to drive in that session, but I would quite like to see less [practice] and more reaction on the ball during the race to what’s going on.”

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Bernie Collins: Less practice makes for more interesting races

Having made the switch from working with a team in a highly competitive setting, to now offering her punditry and analysis as an external observer, Collins said that she also always found reduced practice time to be more interesting while worrying about race strategy – even if her colleagues didn’t always agree!

“I would really like to see one practice session and straight into qualifying,” she said.

“On the other side [of the fence], I always thought it was more interesting from a strategy point of view because, actually, it’s the team that does the best analysis, the best setup, the drivers that are more on it when they get to the first session – that’s going to be interesting.

“But, from an engineering point of view, you always want more data – the more that you have a tyre model, the better nailed on your race is going to be. So I find it really good when we have like a wet Friday, nobody gets a good amount of data. Then you go into Saturday, and it’s really like everyone’s reacting live to what’s going on, reacting live to the tyre model.

“Those, I think, are much more interesting races. So I would quite like to see less of a practice session, but all of my engineering colleagues will say, ‘Please don’t take away the practice sessions. We love data!'”