Call to scrap Friday F1 sessions - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Call to scrap Friday F1 sessions

By Robert Grant 31/03/2006 05:36:03 PM Comments (0)

Formula One's leading teams called for two-day Grand Prix meetings as the new Farcical Fridays were underlined by test drivers setting the pace at Albert Park.

Not one of the top three drivers on Friday's practice session timesheets will race in Sunday's Australian Grand Prix.

Honda's third driver, Anthony Davidson, headed the field from Williams test drivers Alex Wurz and Robert Kubica while the stars cruised around saving their engines from unnecessary stress.

World champion team Renault later suggested that Friday practice be scrapped - an idea supported by Mercedes, Honda and Williams.

Renault technical chief Pat Symonds agreed the sight of no-name drivers and big names running a long way off the limit was pointless and gave little to the fans.

"We should think more laterally and ask ourselves, do we need a Friday session?" Symonds said.

"I am personally more in favour of having a two-day Grand Prix event and use Friday for testing.

Symonds said the sport should not be afraid to abandon its traditions in if it meant providing genuine entertainment.

"I think that all too often in Formula One there's too much heritage, too much tradition and the idea that we have to have three days of running...

"It took us ages to realise we didn't actually need two qualifying sessions, things like this," Symonds said.

Honda chief Nick Fry called for the first day to be used as one for fans to interact with the teams.

"The teams would actually be there but it would be much more outward facing, giving members of the public and fans in general more access to the teams," Fry said.

"I think we're all in favour of racing more and testing less and doing things which have got wider appeal than what we do at the moment."

BMW principal Mario Theissen said that the frequent testing done by teams between races "hid part of the show from the fans" and was costly in an era when the sport was trying to save money.

"Each test kilometre costs the same as each racing kilometre," Theissen said.

Mercedes chief Norbert Haug said Fridays should be used to encourage young people to take an interest in the sport rather than having anonymous drivers collecting tyre, temperature and track data for the team.

Williams' technical head Sam Michael said that at the moment the team's two race drivers would not risk adding mileage to their engines before they had to.

"It could be a free test day with two two-hour sessions or something like that or you could have a test engine and put your race engine back in on Friday night," Michael said.

Honda's Jenson Button was the leading race driver in Friday's second practice session - he was fourth behind the testers and led world champion Fernando Alonso of Renault and Ferrari's Michael Schumacher.

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