McLaren Against Holding Qualifying on Sunday Mornings in Formula 1 – Seidl

by Paul Hensby

Andreas Seidl says his McLaren F1 Team would not support any move to condense a Grand Prix weekend that would result in Qualifying and the race being held on the same day, like what happened in the recent Japanese Grand Prix.

All track action was cancelled at the Suzuka International Racing Course as typhoon Hagibis hit Japan, with Qualifying moving to Sunday morning, but Seidl says problems, such as what befell both Robert Kubica and Kevin Magnussen during the session, would put too much onto mechanics and engineers with limited time to repair any damage to components.

“I wouldn’t be in favour of that, because I think it is good to have qualifying on Saturday,” Seidl is quoted as saying by Motorsport.com.  “[Then you have] all the reporting and discussions about it internally and in the outside world.

“I am more in favour to look if you could compress the race weekend a bit more, which is a discussion we are having anyway. I don’t think it is the right thing to put everything just on the one day with the highlights.

“I think the biggest issue is the time limit you have if you have a big problem and need to change components.”

Ross Brawn, Formula 1’s head of Motorsport, says there are no plans to compress a race weekend into a two-day event despite the success of the Japanese Grand Prix weekend, but there are still plans to alter the schedule going forward, particularly what happens on Fridays.

“It was a Super Sunday in Suzuka and that naturally reopened the debate about the shape of an F1 weekend,” said Brawn in his own Formula 1 column. “This is an aspect of the sport we have focused on in some detail as we work towards the rules that will govern F1 over the coming years and we have taken into account the voices of all of the key players – the promoters, the teams and last but not least the fans.

“I’ll be honest and say that there has been strong consensus, especially among the organisers, for maintaining the three-day format of track activity, although with a different timetable.  It’s true that a day like Sunday in Suzuka offers a great show in just a few hours but it would confine the feeder series races to the previous days.

“After careful analysis we have concluded that the best solution is to keep the event over three days, revising the Friday format but leaving the rest untouched, with qualifying on Saturday and the race on Sunday.”

Whereas Brawn and Seidl are against the move to a two-day weekend, Renault F1 Team’s Cyril Abiteboul says it would be worth considering changing the format to include Qualifying and the race on the same day, despite his team having to change components between the sessions in Japan.

“I quite liked it,” said Abiteboul to Motorsport.com. “Why I am saying that is because in the end it was not so bad and was all positive. 

“But, having said that, we saw with the struggles we had in qualifying and what it meant between qualifying and the race, specifically our team has been stress tested to what it means.

“I can tell you that when you go out immediately for qualifying and you have an issue, your qualifying session is ruined plus with the parc ferme rules there is little you can do.

“With the problem we had, we were allowed by the FIA to fix them, but the time was limited and the race crew were amazing. We showed that it is creating some pressure, it is creating a bit of chaos, so frankly it’s interesting.”

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