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F1 to cut Friday practice for 2015?

2014-05-05 11:41

ONLY TWO PRACTICE SESSIONS? F1 grands prix weekends could see one less practice session in 2015 if a proposal by teams is implemented by the FIA. Image: AP/Alexander Yuan

LONDON, England - Formula 1 could axe Friday morning practice sessions in 2015 as teams consider how to cut costs in the absence of a mandatory budget cap.

Although supported by small teams and championed by International Automobile Federation president Jean Todt, the 2015 budget cap was vetoed by the 'strategy Ggroup' teams, among them Ferrari, Red Bull and Mercedes.

Smaller teams are furious but in a crisis meeting in London in May 2014  teams were asked to provide cost-cutting proposals.

F1 COST-CUTTING

Germany's Sport Bild claimsone measure being considered is reducing grands prix weekends by one 90-minute practice session from 2015. Another proposed rule change is the extension of the current 'parc ferme' regulations. Currently, the specification of the cars is effectively “frozen” after qualifying, meaning that until then new parts are constantly flown in from teams' European factories at great expense.

It is now proposed that, for 2015, 'parc ferme' will come into effect immediately after a single practice session on Friday afternoon.

Sport Bild reports that, at Biggin Hill, London in May 2014, teams also discussed limiting aerodynamic updates, for example a maximum of four front-wing specification changes per season but could not unanimously agree.

'COSTS MUST BE DRASTICALLY REDUCED'

Mercedes' Toto Wolff confirmed: "There was a meeting last week and costs were discussed.  It is the unanimous opinion of the teams that costs must be drastically reduced."

Wolff defended the decision to veto the budget cap: "We have to be honest. There are big differences in the agendas of the teams. If you think about Red Bull, Mercedes, Ferrari and McLaren, with Honda from 2015, the main objective is to represent a multinational global brand. That is of course very different from the small teams who are simply there to race in F1.

"F1 is all of these teams together, the big and the small, and you have to respect that and find solutions that will help everyone in the long term.

"The budget cap is a difficult one.There are some teams which do not want it. By its very design it would be very difficult to control, such as for Ferrari which has the F1 teamunder the same roof as the major global company."
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