UAE - Formula One drivers welcomed the decision to condense a race weekend from the 2021 season but cautioned that adding more races will prove to be detrimental to the whole idea.
The Federation Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA), the world governing body for motorsport, has made some sweeping changes to the rules and regulations for 2021, with one being shorter weekends.
The race weekend is set for a major revision, too, with the drivers' press conference and pre-weekend media interviews now set to take place on a Friday (as opposed to Thursday), before Free Practices 1 and 2 are then run later in the day, with the schedule for FP3, qualifying and the race then unchanged.
That condensed schedule, with Thursday now stricken from the skedge, will make F1 a more feasible, budget-friendly event for fans to visit, while also making life easier for everyone involved in the circus, from team personnel to the media covering the sport.
According to the FIA, during a race weekend, the drivers' press conference and pre-weekend media interviews will take place on a Friday (as opposed to Thursday), before Free Practices 1 and 2 are then run later in the day, with the schedule for FP3, qualifying and the race then unchanged.
And 2007 world champion Kimi Raikkonen, Toro Rosso's Pierre Gasly, McLaren's Carlos Sainz felt it was the perfect move.
"It should've happened next year, I mean today (Thursday) is absolutely useless for us. I think it will be a good step because people don't need to be away that many days because they spend months outside. So, it will be better for the teams," said Raikkonen before adding: "Stop wasting time."
Meanwhile, Sainz, hoped the calendar doesn't get stretched. Currently, there are 21 races but future seasons could see more races being pencilled.
"It still involves too much travelling, effort for mechanics. But I think this is a way of preparing for a bigger calendar, which is something I totally against. Twenty-one or 22 races already feels too much. So, that last extra day that we take off, that will fully compensate those 22 or 25 races that we want to have in the future," said Sainz.
Gasly was also of the same opinion. "I think everyone is happy about it because more days at home, more days with the family. I agree with what Kimi said. Not so much for us because I would say, we almost have the easiest life in the paddock but for all the guys, the mechanics, engineers, you can see by talking to them that to have a personal life in that world, working in that environment is really difficult I think it is a good thing.
"But as Carlos pointed out, if we increase the number of races, it is going to balance it. I think it is a good step for 2021. But I hope they don't increase the number of races too much," Gasly said.
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