GP Fridays set for F1 axe

(GMM) At the recent F1 Commission meeting, it was broadly agreed that the axing of third cars at grands prix would pave the way for turning Friday into a three-hour free test day.

With Friday at Magny Cours proving again that spectators get the raw end of the current three-day format, the rejuvenated GP weekend could also lead in 2007 to a new agreement that should further limit private testing and cut costs.

''It is the right way to go,'' Renault's Flavio Briatore said in France.

Ferrari, however, is likely to be hit hardest by any more reductions in testing, as it would further negate the investments made into its own tracks including Fiorano.

But the team's principal, Jean Todt, also argues that the plans to do the majority of testing on Fridays might backfire on budget-minded rivals.

''In my opinion, it will increase the costs,'' said the Frenchman, who warns that the idea is not compatible with the current two-race engine rule because manufacturers could start to produce a special engine for Fridays and then a two-day spec for the official days of the weekend.

To counter this fear, however, the FIA is contemplating a rule that would force the potential 'two-day' engines to have their mileage topped-up at the subsequent grand prix.

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