LEWIS Hamilton reckons the “incredibly boring” practice sessions for the Russian GP highlighted how F1 could improve its race weekend format.
Friday running in Sochi was severely limited after a diesel spillage and then persistent rain frustrated drivers, teams and fans alike. Bad weather had also affected Japanese GP practice a fortnight earlier.
“I’m sure it was (boring) for whoever tuned in — and if they did tune in and nothing happened. And for you guys and for us, the mechanics, engineers, it’s dull,” said Hamilton, who could win his second straight world title in Austin next weekend.
“It’s one day less of Formula 1 driving for me in my life, so trust me I’m not happy about it. I count every day as a real blessing and when you don’t get to utilise it, it sucks.”
Of course, no change in format can ensure blue skies and sunshine. But Hamilton still thinks a shake-up would be for the better.
During the summer, the FIA announced that “several exciting and innovative changes to the qualifying and race weekend formats have been discussed” for 2016, with a Saturday sprint race believed to be under consideration.
Asked whether he thought a format change would improve things, Hamilton replied: “As a Formula 1 fan, 1000 per cent. It’s been the same Thursday, Friday, Saturday pretty much and Sunday for the whole nine years that I’ve been here.
“Qualifying might have changed a little bit, but generally the format’s been exactly the same.
“I think it would be kind of neat if one weekend’s going to be “super weekend” and then the next weekend’s going to be something different, it’s going to be alternated grid positions, I don’t know.
“But it would be neat if, each weekend, you knew you were not going to do the same thing.
“I think that would be pretty cool. But I don’t think it’s ever going to happen.”
Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff said that while talks are ongoing, a solution is proving hard to find.
“There are discussions. I’m honestly not sure what the right way forward is. Do we want to have qualifying races, reverse grids and then whatever is discussed ends up in public and there is a big backlash of people saying, ‘These guys in the Strategy Group are insane,’” he said.
“It’s probably worth exploring what we all think would be right to develop the sport and make it more attractive.”