A regular Formula 1 weekend kicks off on a Thursday afternoon. The fans with their tickets get a chance to get close to the action on the pitlane as teams prepare for the rest of the weekend.
Following Friday, track action begins with two practice sessions. Except in Monaco, where practice sessions are on Thursday with Fridays off.
A third practice session takes place on Saturday morning to warm the cars up, which is followed by the qualifying session to decide the grid position for the race on Sunday.
The Nurburgring situation led to discussions about cutting back on the hours of training. However, Sebastian Vettel was very vocal about his stand against such a short weekend without Friday.
Sebastian Vettel was doubtful about the proposition. He said, “If no one drives on Friday, then people have no reason to come to the track on Friday. And there is less program on the weekend.”
He further proposed, “So I’m not sure what the plan for the future looks like. I’d rather cancel Thursday than Friday.”
The drivers are more united in their opinion regarding canceling Thursdays instead of Fridays. Like Max Verstappen, Sebastian Vettel also believes that Friday allows a team to prepare in the best possible way.
If canceled, one no longer has the opportunity of overnight setups and alteration. He said, “This engineering power is then taken away.”
The Eifel Grand Prix 2020 was an exception to a regular Formula 1 weekend. The weather conditions allowed only 60 minutes of training on Saturday to gather all info.
Drivers such as Lewis Hamilton, Valtteri Bottas, Alex Albon opined that two-day weekends, as experienced in Nurburgring, were better and more exciting.
However, Max Verstappen had a contradictory opinion. Criticizing the tight weekend plan, he said it is a bit stupid to shorten the weekend.
He said, “If you have problems, you can deal with them all night. You can send feedback to the factory and test changes on the simulator.
“We have a lot of training and we can take our time. This time it was it’s just one session, so you’re more involved than at the beginning of a normal FT1.”
Lewis Hamilton does have similar concerns. In general, however, he feels positive about shortening the weekends for the sake of environmental sustainability.
“That is 22 days less, in which 20 cars drive around the track and pollute the air and the planet,” said the World Champion.
From a business perspective, a shorter format allows for more attention; the teams are under more pressure and people are more excited.
The 2021 season is getting rid of Thursdays; although it is the day where the sport gets ticketing revenues. An ideal way forward would be to shift all sessions that are held on Thursday to Friday and shorten the practice sessions. This ensures the ticketing revenues and makes the weekend more exciting and compact.