F1 drivers support less practice amid shortened Eifel GP weekend

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Formula 1 drivers have supported the idea of a shortened weekend format after practice was limited at the Eifel Grand Prix.

After rain and fog wiped out Friday at the Nurburgring, teams were left with just one hour of running on Saturday morning to gather data before qualifying.

Many saw the curtailed schedule as an opportunity to test it ahead of F1's return to Imola later this month, which will use a similar format albeit with an extra 30 minutes of practice.

And in a time when teams have simulators and other tools at their disposal, the drivers feel that is more than sufficient to be ready.

"I don’t think we need to be in on Fridays, so, it was fine for me," Lewis Hamilton said, as he denied the lack of running contributed to him missing out on pole.

Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas agreed: “Currently in a normal weekend I feel like there is too much practice,” said the Finn.

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“Everyone finds their ways on set-ups and optimal things in terms of driving and the car set-up.

“Especially Friday, you have the whole night between the sessions to look at things and learn about things from the car and driver. So I think with more practice we’d have been a tiny bit quicker.

“But if there would be a bit less practice, maybe some teams can get it right, some drivers can get it right and some don’t. So I’d kind of like it with a bit less practice."

Traditionally, when drivers have been limited on running due to the weather or other reasons, it has led to a greater lottery on race day.

And that is what Ferrari's Charles Leclerc, who sees less running as "just better", is expecting again at the Nurburgring.

“I think all of us drivers are going a bit into the unknown tomorrow, which is what makes this race very interesting,” said the Monegasque.

“We don’t have any long runs with high fuel yet. We will discover how the car is handling tomorrow during the race, which will be exciting.

“It will be important to manage these soft tyres because they are pretty difficult in terms of graining, so it will be a tricky race.”

Of course, adopting the two-day weekend would upset multiple race promoters who benefit from attracting fans who can maybe only afford tickets for the Friday.

EifelGP FP2

But as Daniel Ricciardo suggested, there is no reason why at least some races could keep the current format.

“I am not against it,” the Australian said. “If someone wants my real opinion, and I would have to put everything on the table - pros and cons for a three day weekend, and pros and cons for a two day weekend - but in my head, I feel like a two day is quite cool.

“It is always good to be a three-day as far as Friday media and everything else. I feel that it could open up an opportunity for either, I will be careful what I say, more races or more time for us to prepare away from the track with training or other commitments that we have.

“Some weekends do feel a bit dragged out, so two-day weekends could be cool. But maybe the cool places like Austin and this, let’s have five-day weekends!”