Nico Hulkenberg, Force India, Monte-Carlo, 2014

Dropping first practice won’t cut costs – Force India

2014 Canadian Grand Prix

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Nico Hulkenberg, Force India, Monte-Carlo, 2014Force India say a plan to reduce costs by scrapping the first practice session on race weekends will not save them money.

A proposal to the F1 track activity to a single session on Friday afternoons has been proposed, which could allow teams to save money by arriving at the tracks later and running their cars less.

However Force India’s technical director Andrew Green said it would not help their budget.

“First of all from Force India’s perspective we don’t see this as a cost saving at all,” said Green during today’s press conference at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve.

“For us we’ve always looked to use the FP1 session to blood in some new drivers and that was an income stream for us. And if we lose that, that’s going to be a relatively severe blow. Which in turn will have an impact on our technical ability. So in that respect I don’t think it’s a cost saving.”

But Green accepted that the technical challenge of halving the amount of preparation time on Fridays could be met. “I think we’ll get used to it with just one session,” he said, “we’ll condense our programme which was FP1, FP2 and just do it all in one session. Not a big issue”.

Mercedes’ executive director for technical Paddy Lowe said the plan had been conceived with the smaller teams in mind and had not yet been approved.

“I think the rationale is to reduce the workload on the car significantly through the weekend and also to reduce the consumption of parts, particularly power units, which is one of the major costs for the teams but a particular burden for the smaller teams. So that was the concept.

“It’s still to be finalised, by the way, so there’s a whole month in order to determine the small print and to finally approve it. But the concept was to save money. If teams are feeling it isn’t going to save money then of course it could be reviewed.”

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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25 comments on “Dropping first practice won’t cut costs – Force India”

  1. I’m glad that the teams would save money, but the fans would be getting even less value for their ticket money and I doubt the prices would drop in reflection of this.

    1. I agree. Ticket prices are already through the roof. Any less value would make it totally unacceptable (at least for me).

    2. @magnificent-geoffrey would they really save money though? My guess is most teams would still choose to travel on the same day they do now making it completely pointless.

      1. I seriously doubt it would save them much money @us_peter. As you mention teams would still start building up stuff on monday/tuesday, then build up the car on wednesday/thursday to get it scrutineered on thursday or maybe friday.
        In theory they would save a bit of engine time, on the other hand, as FI rightly mentions, for the smaller teams that FP1 session has long been more of a cash cow and also an opportunity to reward/acknowledge the locals by having a local driver in the car.

  2. Formula 1 : The pinnacle of Motorsports (on a budget)

    1. The pinnacle of Motorsport is an unjust title if there is no efficiency. Redbull spends 4 times the money spent by FI and yet are only a few tenths ahead. So, there is no efficiency whatsoever!! Not exactly something that deserves to be called a pinnacle of anything.

      1. Those “few tenths” made them champions four times, almost five.

        1. @austus fact that they were 4 times the champs has nothing to do with the comment. The comment is just a reflection to how they have performed this year with respect to FI who has 4 times lesser budget.l. The main point is that there is a lack of efficiency. If having money was the case then it is unfair to then smaller teams who can’t afford to spend that much amount.

          While everyone can say that “if u don’t have money then don’t compete.”

          Well, them you will try hard to enjoy a race with only 6 cars on the grid.

  3. This is a very bad idea.

  4. Samuel Beach (@)
    6th June 2014, 22:22

    Another ill-conceived idea from the big wigs in Formula 1. Do they ever think of the fans? This represents another blow to the already strained value for money for the fans, in addition, the plan to start practice late in the afternoon makes no sense. Very few people are going to think about going after work to watch f1, especially when most fans aren’t located near to every track and generally plan a weekend trip to see a grand prix as a special occasion, not a whim. With every change that is made, Formula 1 fans become more and more allienated and what ever happened to the push for more fan surveys? We are constantly told what we want with no consultation whatsoever. Formula 1 is a business, we all know that, but the fans are what pay for it and how does limiting the very show that is being sold and promoted encourage fans to follow the sport? Where is the evidence this would even cut any costs? The teams are already at the circuit anyway, and surely the cost of more running is off set by more fans attending the track and watching on tv. Why not make Friday more of a spectacle? As discussed on Sky, a return to pre-qualifying? Formula 1 should focus attention on cutting costs on areas such as the technical regs and engines, the constant rule changes end up costing teams more and more money and while I’m all for the new power units, was this really the best time to introduce them? Lastly, I really hope the people who make the decisions start listening to fans and embracing social media. Formula 1 is supposed to be the pinnacle and while I never expect them to pander to all the demands of the hardcore fans (especially when the casual viewers are louder in their criticism) surely listening to the people Formula 1 makes money from, would enable more funds to be raised through greater trackside, TV and online revenue? I love F1 and have been watching since 2006, but I do despair sometimes. Rant over.

  5. They sure love putting sticking plasters on this issue don’t they? What they need is a Max Mosley figure at the FIA to bash some heads together and make some major changes. Todt’s basically the opposite; Mosley focused all his efforts on F1 while Todt is fixing all the other FIA series.

  6. Why not do this properly . Decide the grid by lottery and run the cars for the race only.
    The ticket price would stay the same of course .

    1. Yea. And hire temporary mechanics from local car shops instead of flying people from one race to the next. And maybe make it a 1km lap shaped like a triangle. Then there are both straight line and corners needing down force.

  7. The FIA don’t want teams to do in season testing, and they don’t even want them to have time to test at race weekends. All to “save money”.

    Maybe the teams should just buy second hand copies of F1 2013, to fit in with the wonderful cost saving vision we’re witnessing.

  8. Paul (@frankjaeger)
    6th June 2014, 22:40

    What will they come up with next?!

  9. I’m not a fan of this idea but let’s not kid ourselves, ticket prices are not that high on Friday and Saturday, it’s the raceday itself on Sunday which costs the most. So I’m sure ticket prices, even weekend passes will become cheaper but not by a whole lot, and it’s right there the shoe stinks.

    It basically means you get a discount which isn’t a discount at all, you will in fact pay too much for what you will get. Which is probably already the situation today.

    Get real, I’m all for cutting costs but cut them where it benefits the teams and not where it hurts the fans.

    I still can’t believe that after reading all those comments on twitter where easily more then half of the fans where against the idea, both David Croft and Damon Hill continued on on how this was – according to them – a great idea.

    At least that is my humble opinion on this subject.

    1. Both David Croft and Damon Hill continued on on how this was – according to them – a great idea.

      Well there’s a very simple reason for that: as commentators they would have less work to do!

    2. “I’m sure ticket prices, even weekend passes will become cheaper but not by a whole lot, and it’s right there the shoe stinks.”

      You really think ticket prices will be cut because they cancel Friday practice? They will, if anything, increase because they have lost a days income. I don’t know whether the Friday income helps the venues at all but cheaper tickets seems very unlikely!

  10. Is it possible to just outright ban the ridiculous “team hospitality centers”? Those obnoxious, show-off palaces which surely cost a fortune? Force the teams to sit underneath their own pop-up tents on bare metal folding chairs, right out in the open. Surely that would save a good chunk of change every race weekend.

    1. On a closer look, things like the hospitality center makes money for teams. An massive business and marketing world exist inside these buildings. The spending war that has to be cut is the Aero and Development.
      When top teams spend 4 or 5 times the money spent by the bottom teams, then you know we have a problem.

  11. The more I think about this, I don’t even think they’re serious about this daft “idea”. I think it’s a way to distract us (the fans, the media, the broadcasters) so that we can scream and they’ll say: “Oh, we listen to our fans and we won’t do this”.
    Then they can claim that they listen to us because we’ve been very vocal as a fan base that they doing a terrible job of managing so many aspects of F1, especially listening to the fan base. So…they make a really bad idea public and then retract it due to our outcry…and they look like they are listening to us.

    Honestly, I can’t think of any other reason for such a daft idea.

  12. I think this is an awful idea…Just reduce the motor homes. First Pay Per View TV, now even less for the money and let alone a ticket to see reduced action…may I point out the worst thing possible with this idea…Friday Practice…Rain…No Running…not just for P1 or P2 like it usually is at the moment, but has the potential to wipe the day completely out…no chances of seeing any action…Especially in locations such as Silverstone and Spa where rain is almost a given!
    How does the 90 minuet session even cost money…in my head all they ever do is sit in the garages for 60% of the session anyway…I don’t see how this is going to save them that much money. We want MORE not Less…we have already lost the noise! Why would I travel hundreds of miles to a circuit for 90 minuets of Free Practice!?

    1. It will save $500 in fuel and that is a vast saving for teams like the top 4 !
      (Mucho sarcasmo)

      I got an idea
      Why dont the FIA pay for the bottom half of the grid to have an extra days practice each meet .

  13. Give us a second race on Saturday, then, at selected GPs – the ones with no support races. I like it in Indycar.

    Let the local/young/pay drivers qualify and race (if they’re good enough) in extra cars. Much better for them and their fans than the current token gesture, and more entertaining than watching a load of deadly dull engineers “working through their programme”.
    And if that interferes with tradition, tradition’s already been trampled and peed on by going to Korea, Abu Dhabi, Sochi and others with a planeload of gimmicks. Singapore could have a Saturday afternoon race, with the night race still the main event on Sunday.

  14. No point turning up as fan on Friday’s any more then. You’d think the circuit promoters would be up in arms ?

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