Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone has floated the idea of splitting the current ninety minute race on a Sunday into two smaller races to increase the engagement of the audience.
CHanges of the Formula One weekend format have been talked about for years, and were in the media spotlight again earlier this year as the sport understands what the fans want to see from a race weekend. The latest idea as seen in Auto Motor Und Sport, has seen Ecclestone propose that there would be two forty minute races on a Sunday, with a short break inbetween. This is a format which has already been deployed in the World Touring Car Championship, which has two races run consecutively.
“People have a much shorter attention spans and a lot of sports are looking at introducing shorter forms of their games,” he told the Sunday Times.
“The television audiences went up for Brazil,” he revealed, referring to last week’s race which saw two race stoppages due to crashes caused by the poor weather conditions. “We had a long race with the heavy rain and a couple of crashes but that meant we had two starts because of the red flags and people tuned in.
“We need to look at the traditional concept of one long race,” he admitted. “Two 40-minute races with a 40-minute break in the middle when the drivers could be interviewed, and the cars worked on, would be attractive to viewers, the TV companies, the sponsors and advertisers would love it.
“Cars would qualify on a Saturday as usual for the first race and that (the result of the first) would set the grid for the second,” he continued. “It would shake things up with lighter, faster cars.
The F1 boss believes that the gap in-between will give chance for the drivers to talk to the media, with the first race determining the grid for the second. It could be difficult though for cars which retire from the first race, with the inability to be able to make substancial repairs before the main race.
Other ideas recently floated included a qualifying race on a Saturday, as well as shortening the whole weekend down to just two days given the introduction of more races.