DTM demonstrates benefits of Friday practice sessions – Wolff

by Findlay Grant

Team principal for Mercedes AMG Motorsport, Toto Wolff, says that the DTM demonstrates the benefits of Friday practice sessions, with Formula 1 looking to amend how weekends are run for future seasons.

There is the potential of a much more exciting race if Friday practice has been plagued with inclement weather, as the teams are only able to collect a limited amount of data, but Wolff does not see this as a good enough reason to axe the session altogether, referring to an occasion where the same thing was done in the DTM during the 2013-14 season.

“We did that in the DTM many years ago, and it felt like the weekend was not spectacular and special anymore,” he said.

“If it’s cut short to two days it takes some value out of a race weekend and Formula 1 is the pinnacle of motor racing, and it’s the world championship among engineers, drivers and the best teams. Therefore, that is a thing I wouldn’t change – I would leave it on Friday.”

A notable example of rain mixing things up and increasing the level of excitement surrounding a race was last year’s United States Grand Prix, which saw drivers from three different teams finish a few seconds apart while running different strategies.

Wolff said that it was possible in this instance the lack of Friday running spiced up the race on Sunday.

“When you’re not able to tune your car that well, then you have more gaps.

“Whether that is the reason why some teams are falling away and others are doing better, I’m not entirely sure, but it could well be the case.”

Even though Wolff is keen that the sport keep Friday practice sessions, he would not object to a change in format.

“What we can think about is cutting a session short on Friday or reducing the running time to 60 and 60 minutes rather than 90 minutes.”

He added: “These are things that are worth considering but I wouldn’t go for a radical cancellation of the Friday.”

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