Should F1 races be shorter? (Poll)

Posted on | Author Keith Collantine

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)”

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  1. I think that FOTA are proposing a race distance cut because they know Bernie won’t buy it and FOTA are prepared to negotiate it away.

    1. That could make sense. Shorter races would presumably mean less television revenue for Ecclestone so I can see why he might not go for it.

      My concern is that FOTA representatives like Flavio Briatore have argued in favour of shorter races in the past, so I think they might actually be sincere…

  2. Was there no journalist at the press meeting to ask why they wanted the races shorter…

    1. Not from what I’ve seen. Maybe they’re all hoping they’ll be able to get earlier flights home?

  3. I can’t see any logical reason for wanting shorter races- the drivers should be the last people wanting it, so I have no clue why Massa would be in favor of such a move.

    I know Flavio and the rest want F1 to be more of a spectacle- more of a TV drama. How, then, dose making a GP shorter make it more dramatic? There are fewer position changes, overtakes, strategy battles…the whole idea makes no sense to me. F1 is supposed to be the best, and the FOTA shoulden’t be trying to move back towards race distances seen in GP2 and other junior series.

  4. I really really hope not..

  5. Hey keith!!!

    maybe once this latest poll is done you could do another one asking who has taken part in the FOTA survey?

    maybe they didn’t ask any of the 17 countries to be america or britain

  6. “Shorter races would presumably mean less television revenue for Ecclestone so I can see why he might not go for it.”

    The RACE may be shorter, but that doesn’t mean the whole “show” would be. Think NASCAR. They have a great deal of pre-race activity on the television. Interviews, discussions about technology, etc.

    Did you read what the statement said about all the new access television crews would get? I think the actual “show” combined will be the same length, but the amount cut from the race will be made up for in pre-race programming. They specifically looked at how local broadcasters worked on race weekends – the release mentioned this several times.

    So I think there will be shorter races but more off-track broadcasting for the same amount of time. No ad revenue lost.

  7. How many ‘casual’ fans have said, “I’d watch F1 if the races were shorter?”

    I’ve never heard it said. People don’t watch F1 because they don’t like F1, it’s nothing to do with the length of races.

    And another thing, does ‘casual fan’ really exist? or is he the figment of someone’s imagination?

    Is anyone here a ‘casual fan’? Please come forward, and tell us why you describe yourself as a ‘casual fan’.

    I’m genuinely interested to hear from you, because personally, I’ve never met a ‘casual fan’ of anything.

    And why would you change the rules of a sport to make ‘casual fan’ happy? It’s bizarre. It’s like asking someone who watches football twice a year what they would prefer to see at football matches:”we would like to see two balls and three goalkeepers”.”really?”. “yes”.”consider it done then”. ????.

  8. I went karting last week. We only raced for half an hour. yes I ached when I stepped out of the kart, but all I wanted to do was get back in and race for another half hour.

    I can’t see how any of these guys, who have made a life from racing, would want to go for any less than they currently do.

    Maybe they do do it too often, maybe they’ve decided they’ve got too much of a good thing. In which case, sack ’em all, and get in some drivers and teams who do want to race for longer.

  9. Shorter races, absolutely no. I am surprised that at the moment only 89% have voted no.
    As noted in the article this is dumbing down F1, something their survey said shouldn’t be done.

    I would like FOTA to explain why they feel races should be shorter. If they think it would and improve the show for TV or casual viewers then they are going against their own survey. If they think it will cut costs I am sure most people wouldn’t mind them getting rid of some free practice sessions.

    The length of the races is part of the challenge of Formula 1, what if someone suggested changing Le Man so it only ran in the day time or shortening the length of the Indy 500, people wouldn’t accept it.

  10. Certainly would start to reconsider whether it would be worht the ticket cost. leave it how it is 90 mins is not that long.

  11. This would be the worst thing to happen to F1 since the one tyre rule.

    F1 is grand prix racing. It should really be 2 hours every time of racing. That’s what distinguishes it from the other formulae. It’s why every driver strives to be in F1.

  12. this is stupid! why on earth would FM or any driver want shorter races… he wouldn’t like it if he was on the back of lewis and just about to take him on and then opps the flag goes down lol.

    is it just me or does mclaren seem to be lacking in pase? i’ve made a bet with friend that a red bull will be on the front row on race day!!! just hope i’m wrong…. on and also i’d bet a weeks wages that it wont be MW!

  13. I think Massa lost his mind after losing his Champ by a single point.Coming up with crazy ideas like shortening race distance and scraping Friday’s practice for tests.I thought drivers like races rather than test and hre is a exception….Massa the Test driver……

    1. That’s because that’s all he his. A test driver what got lucky.

  14. so the f1 on sunday is down to less then 2 hour of interesting show? 30′ min buildup and then a race of about 1’15”? i just think of motogp were eurosport had a 5 hout show that kept my interest all the time… heck, f1 doesn’t even package the support races with the main television rights!

    the season is about to start and i don’t even feel excited… f1 need am MAJOR overhaul or it will be gone in a few years time.

  15. Shorter? If anything, longer!

  16. marvin guillen
    21st March 2009, 17:53

    F*** No. I love F1. I have upgraded MY Tv and Sound to get the Best Race Sound ever.I Fu**** hate Nascar SH**.
    Look i love this Sh**.

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