‘Get rid of practice’ – Jenson Button calls for major F1 format shake-up due to predictability problem

Michelle Foster
Max Verstappen with the Ferrari drivers

It was another Red Bull-Ferrari result in qualifying in Miami

After a Sprint qualifying that almost ended in a pole position for Lando Norris but did see Daniel Ricciardo qualify P4, it was business as usual in qualifying for the Miami Grand Prix with a Red Bull-Ferrari mix.

It had Jenson Button calling for Formula 1 to “get rid of practice” to shake up the pecking order.

F1 urged to drop the practice sessions

Taking to the track for the second successive Sprint weekend, Norris almost made it two poles from two for the shorter race as the McLaren driver surged ahead on the medium Pirellis.

But swapping to the mandate soft tyres for SQ3, the McLaren MCL38 lost its impetus and he finished down in ninth place with Max Verstappen taking the pole.

Ricciardo was the big surprise as he put his VCARB01 up into fourth place, a starting position that allowed him to put in an epic defensive drive in the Sprint to finish fourth and claim his first points of the season.

However, hours later, with the teams having more track time and more data under their belts, the Aussie dropped to 18th in qualifying proper before Red Bull and Ferrari went to lock out the front two rows ahead of the McLaren team-mates.

It was business as usual.

It had Button suggesting Formula 1 should drop the three practice sessions in a traditional Grand Prix weekend and jump straight into qualifying as that could shake up the grid thus leading to exciting races.

“I just think we need to get rid of practice,” the 2009 World Champion told Sky Sports.

“Let’s get rid of practice, straight into qualifying because you see in Sprint qualifying it’s always mixed up.

“I think Lando had a really good chance putting it at the front, but once they get a few more laps under their belt, data information comes back to the team, setup tweaks, and they just go out there.

“Even though that it was a little bit scruffy out there, they’re still kind of in team order.”

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Button is not the only person who would like to see Formula 1 ditch practice sessions with Pedro de la Rosa revealing Fernando Alonso would like the weekend to start with qualifying.

The Aston Martin ambassador told the F1 Nation podcast: “Fernando actually what he would like is to go directly into qualifying.

“He sometimes mentioned it. He doesn’t need to warm up, he doesn’t need another set of tyres to go faster, it’s just bang, the first lap, that’s it, that’s the fastest he will be the whole weekend because he doesn’t need to get up to speed.”

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