Should F1 races be shorter? (Poll)

FOTA and Massa have called for short F1 races

FOTA and Massa have called for short F1 races

The F1 teams’ association has recommended that F1 race distances should be cut from 320km (200 miles) to 250km (155 miles).

Should F1 races be shorter?

  • Yes (9%)
  • No (89%)
  • Don't know (2%)

Total Voters: 1,655

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Earlier this week Felipe Massa suggested pretty much the same thing when he suggested F1 race distances be cut by 15 laps. The response on this website was overwhelmingly negative.

I am very disappointed to see FOTA call for pretty much the same thing and I expect most of you are too.

Whatever FOTA’s rationale for cutting races distances is, they haven’t explained it. They have revealed a marketing survey which acknowledges that most F1 fans don’t want the sport ‘dumbing down’. Making the races shorter, and better suited to the short attention span of the casual viewer, would be a classic example of ‘dumbing down’.

Cutting race distances would be meddling with the DNA of F1 unnecessarily. It would make Grands Prix scarcely any longer than GP2 races. It would undermine the physical, mental and technological challenge of racing at up to 200mph for up to 200 miles.

Television companies would be forced either to use fewer advert breaks, meaning less money for them and, ultimately, the teams, or subect viewers to the same number of breaks in a shorter length of time, meaning they see even less of the race. A lose-lose situation.

Shorter F1 races ultimately means less Formula 1. It would be like demanding smaller grid sizes or fewer races.

I cannot see how any F1 fan would like this idea. But whatever your point of view is, do share it in the comments.

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70 comments on Should F1 races be shorter? (Poll)

  1. dmitri said on 5th March 2009, 19:38

    Cars are slower this year so they are making track shorter to compensate.

  2. Jess said on 5th March 2009, 19:45

    Two hours is not that long of a race. Leave it be, they already run for less than two hours of racing. Leave it be.

  3. scunnyman said on 5th March 2009, 19:52

    NO NO NO NO NO NO NO….. and just to make it clear


    to shorter races.

    We should be having proper length races and more races as well. Also more tracks and varied types of tracks in my opinion.

    I wouldn’t advocate 4 hour races but around 2 hrs is about right. Like someone said f1 races are some of the shortest distances already. And it would really be dumbing down the sport for those people with very short attention spans. I agree a lot of races are processional, but that’s down to the bad aero packages and circuit designs. And i wonder if Keith could let Fota know our thoughts and opinions on the matter and find out what their actual reasoning is for the crappy idea please.

  4. Arthur954 said on 5th March 2009, 19:55

    If I can eat a triple cheeseburger,there is no reason to eat a double cheeseburger.
    I love every second of watching a race and the more I get the better !

  5. Damon said on 5th March 2009, 19:57

    A short event is not a ‘big event’, it loses prestige.
    A football game lasts 2 hours on tv.
    A basketball game – up to 2 hours.
    A boxing event – about 3 hours.

    On fasts tracks, like Monza, there would be only 1 hour of racing. Sounds very unexciting.

    The races being boring is no argument for making them shorter. A long boring race at least feels like it’s something important. A short and boring race, however, would make the sport completely irrelevant.
    Also, the occasional interesting race would not be very memorable if it was short. Perhaps it would finish just before the tables are turned (as it so often happens in rainy GPs) – which would have made it exciting in the first place?

  6. If we were guaranteed that they would race twice has hard I would support a reduction of say 10%. But they won’t, so I won’t.

  7. Lotas said on 5th March 2009, 20:05

    Yeah right…
    No way we need shorter races …
    I can understand Massa – he still has nightmares about brazil 2008.. but he also has Spa 2008 .. easy come – easy go

    I love races like last years spa, and brazil.. no way we gonna give this away

  8. TWO quick short races would be better.

    2012 AD = 1433 H

  9. Hounslow said on 5th March 2009, 20:10

    Surely one of the reasons for cutting the length of the race is so that the cars (which will not be able to refuel, remember) won’t have to carry so much fuel at the start (and possible in Qualifying too).
    Another reason to try to limit the race to 1 hour 40 minutes is to make it fit into a 2-hour TV slot.
    So yes, I’d support shorter races, but only the boring ones ;)

  10. Woffin said on 5th March 2009, 20:16

    I whole heartedly say that race lengths are great the way they are. The major costs are in the logistics so it seems, so why spend all that money travelling to the other side of the planet to race for even less time? 90 minutes is perfect and now us uk viewers have the bbc (and no adverts) then we can get properly involved instead of being interrupted every 15 minutes with adverts.

    Maybe it would help if FOTA explained their reasoning.

  11. Matt said on 5th March 2009, 20:17

    If Massa wants shorter races he should try GP2.

  12. Owen said on 5th March 2009, 20:17

    It would be interesting to see a comparison of how this would affect each race on the calendar. Eg how long a typical dry race lasts now and how long it would last if reduced to 250kms.

    It’s a ridiculous suggestion for whatever reason they come up with to justify it. If they want to cut costs why don’t they start with organising the calendar so races in far flung locations aren’t months apart – China/Japan, Malaysia/Singapore, Bahrain/UAE. ie something that doesn’t negatively impact on the enjoyment of F1 fans.

    • Gman said on 5th March 2009, 23:38

      Exactly- pair up Abu Dhabi with Bahrain, and Singapore with Malaysia. As for that argument about it decreasing attendance, give it a rest- less than 1/4 of the grandstands at those events are full as it is.

  13. Pete Walker said on 5th March 2009, 20:21

    No. Just no.

    As much as I am looking forward to the refuelling ban, I’d not welcome it at the expense of race length.

    By all means work on improving the product. Just don’t give us less of it.

  14. Matt said on 5th March 2009, 20:22

    We need an F1 supporters association to challenge these kind of proposals. Or maybe we should rely on the FIA or FOM to look after the interest of the fans…hmmmmm

  15. Jon Finn said on 5th March 2009, 21:06

    let’s be honest – the readers here are hardcore F1 fans. Asking them if they want shorter races is like asking a crack addict if they’d like to smoke a little less today. fact is – that poll on this site is an exercise in futility and tells us nothing. Do one entitled “hands up who likes F1″ :)

    Point we should be discussing really is – why does FOTA want this and are there advantages to the sport.

    I agree with DC that it must be rooted in another cost cutting exercise – it would surely have quite a reasonable impact there and i can’t, offhand, think of more than the reasons given by DC.

    The other aspect that Keith touches on is appealing to the casual viewer. Personally, I wholeheartedly disagree that reducing race length is ‘dumbing down’ the sport in any way. They could run i over 50km and the cars, drivers and teams would still represent the pinnacle of motorsport. Simple facts are – if they reduce the race length, us hardcore fans will *not* lose our passion for the sport. At the same time it *will* appeal to a wider audience. Easy to see that this equates to more revenue – and that’s what drives the teams as much as anything.

    If they replaced the lost race time with increased coverage of the activity *around* F1 (the politics, tactics, drivers techniques, the specifications etc) I’d still be a happy bunny

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 6th March 2009, 18:55

      I think that’s a fair and well-argued defence of shorter races – kudos for standing up against the majority!

      But I don’t agree. Shorter races equals dumbing down because it lessens the challenge. The cars won’t have to be as durable and the drivers won’t have to sustain concentration for as long, or be as fit.

      I don’t agree that casual viewers turn off because the races are long. I think they turn off because (for most of them) they see the start, the race settles down for a bit, an advert break comes on, and they channel-surf off to something else.

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