F1 CEO Disagrees with Lewis Hamilton’s Stance on Two-Day Formula 1 Weekend

Published 04/14/2021, 3:00 PM EDT
NOIDA, INDIA – OCTOBER 26: Ferrari Team Principal Stefano Domenicali attends the official press conference following practice for the Indian Formula One Grand Prix at Buddh International Circuit on October 26, 2012 in Noida, India. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)


Ever since the new owners, Liberty media, took over the sport’s control from the hands of Bernie Ecclestone, there have been consistently healthy discussions regarding the future of F1. One of the things that’s being discussed in the boardroom is expanding the number of races.

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The 2021 season alone will feature a record-breaking 23 Grand Prix weekends in the calendar. But the FIA wants to add more. And to do that, one of the options is compressing the qualifying, practice and race over two days than Friday, Saturday and Sunday to save running time and costs incurred for more race weekends.

MONZA, ITALY – SEPTEMBER 01: Former Ferrari Team Principal Stefano Domenicali talks in the Ferrari garage during final practice for the Formula One Grand Prix of Italy at Autodromo di Monza in Monza, Italy. (Photo by Lars Baron/Getty Images)

This idea had its litmus test in Imola last year when the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix took place over two days. It was a relative success and ignited a debate over whether the FIA should make it a permanent thing.

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Lewis Hamilton also threw his support behind the shortened race weekend idea. However, F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali is pouring cold water over this suggestion. He believes that a three-day event allows to maximize the revenue and ticket sales.

“All the organisers really wanted to have a full experience for the people and for the crowd, so we need to respect that,” said Domenicali.

Environmental concerns motivated Lewis Hamilton to support a two-day F1 weekend

The Mercedes ace thinks that a benefit of a two-day Grand Prix event is multi-fold. It helps in reducing the carbon footprint while also creating more uncertainty over the results.

“There’s 22 days less of 20 cars bombing around the track and polluting the air, the planet, so that’s a positive. 

“I think it just made it so much harder for us. Normally you have two sessions on the Friday, you get time to make tons of different set-up changes and, if you’re on the back foot, you’ve got time to catch up,” the Knight said.

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Formula One F1 – Bahrain Grand Prix – Bahrain International Circuit, Sakhir, Bahrain – Race winner Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton during the press conference FIA/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS – THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. NO RESALES. NO ARCHIVES

“When you start on a Saturday, you’ve got no time. You’ve got that one session to really get on top of it and the set-up between practice and qualifying.

“It made it so hard.”

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Hopefully, the sport reaches a solution that is fair to all the parties. Maybe the new sprint race format will allow for a more exciting Friday.

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Bharat Aggarwal

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Bharat Aggarwal is a sports analyst for EssentiallySports, covering Formula 1 and NBA. A Delhi University graduate, Bharat has multi-year experience in sports writing, having closely worked with the content strategy aspect as well. Bharat Aggarwal supports Manchester United, Lewis Hamilton, Cristiano Ronaldo, Rafael Nadal, Dirk Nowitzki, Sachin Tendulkar, Ayrton Senna, Kristaps Porzingis, and Dallas Mavericks.

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