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By John Floyd

Motorsport columnist

FLOYD ON F1: Shape up or ship out, boss warns circuits

Domencali under pressure to drop existing races as wealthier countries are lining up to host F1 races.

With the concept of encouraging new teams into F1 somewhat in abeyance, Stefano Domenicali has turned his attention to the future of the circuits.

The FOM chief recently warned the classic circuits their history will not assure them a place on future calendars.

During a recent media briefing, he was reported as saying: “It’s true that we are working and discussing with other promoters to see if they are ready for a full commitment.

“There has been always a point that we have discussed to find the mix of the races where we will have at least one third in Europe, one third in the Far East area and the other in the Americas and Middle East.

“So we want to be balanced.”

F1 boss adamant

He continued: “We are talking about a business where investment, the financial contribution, is very important, but we have always said the traditional races, that cannot bring the money that the others are bringing have a full respect from us.

“So you will see that this will be respected also, not only this year, but also in the future.”

Unfortunately it is F1’s iconic, historical circuits and all are in Europe. France is no longer on the calendar, costs have prevented a German grand prix for some time and Spa Francorchamps is reprieved for just one more year.

As Monza celebrated 100 years recently, Domenicali warned it could possibly be the last, unless upgrades are carried out as “Formula One is a different experience now”.

He intimated he was under pressure to drop existing races in the future, as wealthier countries are queuing to join the circus.

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His statement “Formula One is a different experience now” is unfortunately very true.
I have no issue with the objectives aimed at improving the racing with a subsequent increase in excitement, but recent suggestions from the Italian regarding the structure of a F1 weekend, I find very disturbing.

Practice makes perfect

His concept of cutting the free practice to just one session over the weekend is incredible. Domenicali is reported as saying: “Free practice is very interesting for the engineers and the drivers, but at the end of the day, in sport, you need to fight for something.”

I am not sure the teams’ engineers and drivers would accept one session to set up the car for qualifying and the race.

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Domenicali goes on to suggest: “One free practice in the morning on Friday and then every time we go on the track, something must be awarded.

“Because in that respect, there is some action going on, people are always connected to understand what is happening.”

Spanner in the works

To me, this would add yet another complication in F1’s points structure. Add to this the recurring concept of reverse grids and night street races, which he is still mooting, and one must wonder what happened to the real Domenicali, the man born in Imola with a passion for motorsport and team principal of Ferrari.

Obviously the corporate world is a powerful mistress.

To see the rest of the 2022 F1 calender, click here.

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