Stefano Domenicali: Scrapping practice comments ‘an ant becoming an elephant’

Sam Cooper
Stefano Domenicali, Formula 1 CEO. F1 Jeddah March 2022.

Formula 1 CEO Stefano Domenicali speaks in the paddock. Jeddah March 2022.

Stefano Domenicali has rowed back on comments he made regarding practice, stating the situation was “an ant becoming an elephant.”

The F1 president caused a stir last week when he appeared to suggest on Portuguese TV that he would like to see all practice sessions scraped from the calendar, although understands he was misquoted.

With widespread disapproval of the proposal, Domenicali has stated that it was never his intention to do away with the sessions but instead to always look at how to best improve the format.

The 57-year-old said the situation had snowballed until “an ant became an elephant” but said he has been consistent with his messaging.

“I didn’t say anything new if you remember last year,” he told Sky Sports F1. “Of course, there needs to be time to practice. In Formula 1, there is no free practice outside of the sessions of the normal weekend grand prix.

“But people are coming to see performance and the more you give the chance for teams and drivers to see who they are, the better it is for the show.

“I will say on the other hand, I think that we need to not forget about the rookie, so we need to give the time for them to practice but there has to be a balance.

“We are thinking of a way to have a session where there is something to perform [for] for the better of the sport and that’s it.

“All together with the drivers and the team, we are just thinking and working out what is the best plan to try to see the reaction and go for it. No fear on that.” recommends

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It was then put to him that Formula 1 has never been more popular and, as such, Fridays are well attended across the world but Domenicali insisted the sport should be not shy to adapt.

“We have to consider that we are just at the start of an incredible period,” the Italian said. “Formula 1 is really very, very strong and I think that to keep the attention, [you have to have] no fears, to be aggressive in thinking of new formats.

“It is not because we don’t respect the traditional way of thinking about the weekend but it would be wrong, not to think about it.

“We don’t have to be shy and we can really have the time to consider that there are, like me, old fans that have a certain idea of what the Formula 1 weekend is but we also have a new generation that are coming in.

“They are more aggressive in asking for something different. So as always, it is a matter of balance and we want to work out the best way for the interest of the sport.”