Alfa Romeo boss Frédéric Vasseur says that F1’s forced reduced schedule at Suzuka may turn out to be “a good exercise” for the future.
With the threat of Typhoon Hagibis looming, Japanese Grand Prix organisers wisely decided to scrap Saturday’s running, postponing qualifying to Sunday morning.
The change also meant the cancellation of FP3, leaving teams with just two 90-minute practice session to sort out their cars for the remainder of the race weekend.
Amid discussions about the future of Formula 1’s weekend format and the possible reduction of free practice track time, Vasseur suggested that there may be some lessons to take away from the Japanese event’s disruption.
“I think that it’s safety first and probably it makes no sense to ask the spectators to come on track and then to be in a big mess,” said Vasseur, who fully supported the organiser’s decision to dismiss Saturday’s proceedings.
“In terms of schedule and programme for the team, we already thought about this yesterday evening honestly.
“Okay, it will change the programme but I think we can afford the weekend with two free practices. Perhaps it will be a good exercise for the future.”
Renault’s Cyril Abiteboul said Saturday’s cancellation and the subsequent changes have put Formula 1 on a similar schedule to Formula E.
“It has happened before and it will happen in the future,” said the Frenchman. “There is enough time on Sunday to conduct both qualifying and the race.
“I think maybe it will give us an impression of Formula E, maybe a little bit, so not a bad thing.”
As for Ferrari boss Mattia Binotto, the Swiss admitted the disruption complicated the team’s affairs, but ultimately the absolute priority was the safety of all those present at Suzuka.
“First, I think it’s a shame for the fans but it’s a fully respectable decision, safety is first,” Binotto said.
“In terms of programmes, certainly it’s a lot more intense now. We are certainly skipping one session, which is FP3.
“Things are more complicated but certainly a great challenge but I’m pretty sure it should be a good show and spectacle on Sunday.”