George Russell sends a warning to Stefano Domenicali

Formula 1 CEO Stefano Domenicali has argued that less time should be given to practice sessions during race weekends.

A debate has broken out in Formula 1 over whether practice sessions should remain, be reformed or be removed entirely.

Formula 1 CEO Stefano Domenicali has been clear that he is a “supporter of the cancellation of free practice sessions,” saying they are “of great use to the engineers but that the public doesn’t like [them].”

With Formula 1 keen to make the sport more engaging for owners Liberty Media, a new weekend format is being introduced in Azerbaijan, which will see FP2 replaced by a qualifying session for the Saturday Sprint race.

Practice sessions have already been reduced from 90 minutes to 60 minutes, with further limitations potentially on the way.

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Mercedes driver George Russell believes that the reduced time for practice sessions is “enough” for teams but eliminating the sessions all together would be problematic.

“I think, just practice to dial in the car, to test things for the future (we need a practice session),” Russell said.

“We obviously have no testing at all. I think one session is good enough for all of us to do the various things we need to try and to help develop.”

The on-track practice sessions allow teams to refine their set up and test new parts, as testing is not permitted outside of race weekends and the limited wind tunnel/CFD time they are allotted.

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“This is still the pinnacle of the sport and you don’t want to be just left with the car that you created at the start of the year with no opportunity to try out new things,” Russell explained.

“And that is sort of the beauty, sometimes; you’ve got this 60-minute session, you can try new things, develop, improve further. 

“Whereas if you’re going straight into a session that is points-worthy or there is a reward, you’re less likely to trial new things.”