At today’s Driver Q&A from Melbourne Formula 1 drivers say they should be given less time to practice at race weekends, following recent comments by the series’ CEO Stefano Domenicali.
George Russell agreed F1 could cut practice to a single session “to dial in the car, to test things for the future.”
“We obviously have no testing at all,” he pointed out. “I think one session is good enough for all of us to do the various things we need to try to help develop.
“This is still the pinnacle of the sport. You don’t want to be just left with the car that you created at the start of a year with no opportunity to trial new things. That is sort of the beauty sometimes, you’ve got this 60-minute session, you can try new things, develop, improve further.
“Whereas if you’re going straight into a session that is points-worthy or there is a reward, you’re less likely to trial new things.”
“Obviously the more practice you do, the more up to speed you’ll be, the more comfortable you’ll be with the car. I don’t think it’s right that Formula 1 has three times the amount of practice that you have in a F3 and F2 categories. They should be the ones getting more practice also because they’re doing less races, they don’t get to test that often.
“No practice would be too little. I wasn’t in favor of the sprint races initially, but having done [six] in the two years, I really enjoy the sprint races. Having action on a Friday I think is vital for all of us and also for the entertainment factor.”
Other drivers echoed Russell’s view. “I agree with George,” said Pierre Gasly. “Definitely three’s not needed.
“As a driving point of view it’s always nice, you can work on fine details on the car and really try to nail that car balance for the weekend. But generally speaking I think one, two maximum is more than enough for us.”
Nico Hulkenberg said “It comes down to bit your personal opinion and preference,” he said. “I think we have a good amount of practice now.
“Thinking back to what George said to junior series, I quite enjoyed it at the time, having only 30 minutes like in F2 and then getting thrown into quali.”
It would hurt rookies
Rookie Logan Sargeant, who moved up to F1 from the series this year, said having three hour-long practice sessions “is definitely a lot, especially coming from F2 where you just have to take risks a lot sooner than I currently have to.”
“So as a rookie, I don’t mind having two or three, but going forward, I don’t think three is necessary.”