Throughout a go to to the opening spherical of the MotoGP season in Portugal, Domenicali was interviewed by Portuguese channel SportTV for his ideas on numerous subjects.
But it surely was one comment that brought about a stir because it advised that he was taking a look at a daring shake-up of the F1 weekend timetable.
“I’m a supporter of the cancellation of free apply periods, that are of nice use to the engineers however that the general public does not like,” he advised the broadcaster.
With F1’s proprietor Liberty Media not afraid to push new boundaries in relation to overhauling the grand prix format – having launched dash races – Domenicali’s remarks inevitably triggered ideas of one thing bolder being deliberate.
Nevertheless, the potential for F1 eliminating apply periods fully is one thing that might be unpopular with opponents and followers.
Apply stays a vitally vital a part of a grand prix weekend, as it’s important for drivers and groups to work on set-up and tyre methods previous to the aggressive components of qualifying and the race.
Moreover, with in-season testing banned, the Friday periods are crucial for permitting groups to check out new developments within the bid to assist transfer them nearer to the entrance of the grid.
For followers too, stable attendances at occasions on Fridays present that there’s an curiosity in seeing automobiles operating extensively all through the day even when there isn’t any reward up for grabs.
Domenicali’s feedback shouldn’t be interpreted as F1 pondering the removing of apply periods fully although.
As an alternative, it’s understood that it’s extra about ongoing discussions which can be going down at F1 Fee stage relating to potential future modifications to the grand prix weekend format to assist make the present quantity of operating extra thrilling.
There may be an argument that on a typical grand prix weekend, three apply periods are too many.
Alex Albon, Williams FW45, Nyck de Vries, AlphaTauri AT04, Zhou Guanyu, Alfa Romeo C43, Nico Hulkenberg, Haas VF-23, apply their begin procedures on the finish of FP1
Picture by: Steven Tee / Motorsport Images
The priority is it provides groups nearly an extreme period of time to hone their set-ups and technique for qualifying and the race, and due to this fact take away any potential jeopardy that comes from being under-prepared.
One of many successes of the dash weekend format is that the discount in apply operating, with only a single session earlier than qualifying, has added a higher depth to the occasion.
Groups and drivers really feel extra on the again foot and meaning the possibilities of slipping up are higher, one thing that makes issues much less predictable.
What Domenicali is absolutely referring to along with his feedback is whether or not there are methods that F1 can revise its timetable to make extra periods rely for one thing over a weekend.
It’s a subject he was open about final 12 months when, in an interview with Corriere della Sera, he talked about concepts like awarding factors for topping apply periods, or introducing a shoot-out format.
“In a standard weekend, the one consisting of free apply one and two on Friday, every session ought to be awarding both factors, or single qualifying laps, or a qualification for a distinct and shorter Saturday race, as an alternative of the third free [practice], maybe with the mechanism of the reverse grid,” he advised the Italian newspaper.
“We’re placing quite a lot of issues on the desk. Lots of people say no, however we’ve seen on some events the sweetness (of blended grids delivering) extra overtaking.”
F1 has already talked about shifting the dash weekend format, to do one thing higher with the virtually meaningless Saturday morning free apply session that takes locations after qualifying however earlier than that afternoon’s shorter race.
Carlos Sainz, Ferrari SF-23, Oscar Piastri, McLaren MCL60
Picture by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images
One approach to do it could be to have Saturday’s operating as a whole standalone.
So Friday afternoon’s qualifying session would determine the grid for Sunday, whereas Saturday would function a timed session within the morning to determine the beginning order for a points-scoring shorter race later that day.
Whereas adopting the dash format in every single place just isn’t on the agenda, for the extra common weekends, F1 may take a look at providing factors for topping apply, which might assist add some curiosity for followers and make the periods extra participating.
However such a change wouldn’t be with out its critics, as it could transfer F1 far-off from the traditions of the championship.
It may additionally open up the chance of a world championship being selected a quiet Friday, fairly than on race day, if a driver wanted only a single level to place himself past the attain of his rivals.
Nothing is about in stone simply but, and the discussions about what to alter are removed from nearing a conclusion, however what is evident is that Friday operating is right here to remain.
The true difficulty is how a lot apply is the correct quantity for suiting what could be conflicting calls for between what the groups need and what’s good for the spectacle.