Luca di Montezemolo, Ferrari, Monza, 2012

Montezemolo says F1 races should be shorter

F1 Fanatic round-upPosted on | Author Keith Collantine

Luca di Montezemolo, Ferrari, Monza, 2012In the round-up: Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo wants shorter F1 races which start later in the day.


Top F1 links from the past 24 hours:

Shorten F1 races – Di Montezemolo (BBC)

“How long is the race, an hour and a half? Maybe this is too long for young people. Maybe I’m wrong but we have to look at how we can improve the show.”

Montezemolo suggests shorter and later F1 races (Reuters)

“I don’t think it’s good to race in July and August at two o’clock in the afternoon, when the people are at the sea and on vacation. If you look at a sport like soccer, they play six o’clock, seven o’clock, eight o’clock.”

Vettel rules out Monza victory bid (Autosport)

“I think it will be a pretty difficult race. In terms of strategy I think everyone is looking at the same thing. Therefore it is difficult to do something, or try something different.”

Alonso: Fault cost me ‘easiest pole’ (Sky)

“It’s a shame because it was the easiest pole position for us. We did a [one minute] 24.1 in Q2 with an easy lap and looking at it they [McLaren] did 24.0 in Q3.”

Button’s manager to look after Di Resta (The Telegraph)

“[Richard] Goddard, who takes care of Button’s financial affairs and will perform a similar role for di Resta, added that the Scottish driver was ‘a serious talent and a star of the future’.”

Ferrari F2012 – revised front wing (F1)

“In Italy Ferrari are again using the new front wing introduced at Spa, different in all its components and not – as one might expect for Monza – simply a standard wing with the upper flaps removed to reduce the downforce level.”

Sir Jackie Stewart believes Lewis Hamilton should spurn Mercedes (The Guardian)

“I personally would have stayed with McLaren. They have the resources and the money. They have the commitment and also have huge experience. He would not be here today without McLaren, so there is a degree of loyalty that I think you should always have.”


Comment of the day

After all the slipstreaming we saw in qualifying, could McLaren be planning more of the same for the race?

I’d like to see that – a positive example of teamwork, which has gained a negative reputation in F1 with team-mates in front being moved over, lapped cars holding up leaders and so on.

It’s a good old oval racing tactic – two team mates were putting it to good use to pull out a gap near the end of this year’s Indy 500 (Dario Franchitti and Scott Dixon). That’s proper drafting, though – not the artificial DRS kind, but no doubt they did it at Monza too, back in the day.

The McLaren drivers are skilful enough to make it work – even if Hamilton’s recent actions out of the car have suggested he’s not the sharpest tool in the box, once the visor’s down he’s been impressive this year (I’m thinking of his tyre conservation).

From the forum

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On this day in F1

F1 returned to a remodelled Spa-Francorchamps for the 2007 Belgian Grand Prix, five years ago today. Kimi Raikkonen led home team mate Felipe Massa for a Ferrari one-two.

As ever there was no love lost between the McLaren team mates who vigorously disputed third place at the start. Fernando Alonso came out on top, Lewis Hamilton accepting fourth.

Off the track, McLaren had been stung by the FIA’s verdict in the Ferrari spying row, which excluded them from the constructors’ championship and fined them $100m.

87 comments on “Montezemolo says F1 races should be shorter”

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  1. Isn’t this the same proposal made by Flavio Briatore some years back? I don’t know, I don’t mind a shorter race duration, but I don’t like the idea of splitting them into two. It’s too foreign to me.

  2. “How long is the race, an hour and a half? Maybe this is too long for young people. Maybe I’m wrong…”

    I’m young-ish (21) and I think the hour and a half race is the perfect length. So yeah, I think Luca is wrong.

    1. Same.

      I’m 21 and infact it is the ‘we need to make it a show’ thing that is putting me off F1.
      I don’t like the DRS, 1.5 hours is a lovely length for a race (AFL [australia], tennis and cricket are the sports most popular here nad they go for well… afl is 30 mins x 4 (20 min quarter + 10 over) + 30 mins of breaks pretty much so 2.5 hours. Tennis is a lot longer and everyone watches the Open in January and Circket is either half a day and night or 5 days.

      What younger people want is something honest and enjoyable. If F1 tries to be something it isn’t and tries to appeal then it is going to come off really poorly.

      The biggest thing something can do to turn me off is trying to be ‘be more youthy’, and anyone from teenagers to 30odd can smell that from a distance.

      Don’t make F1 old and boring, however don’t like to appeal. That is just stupid.

      1. I think de Montezemolo’s comments show that he’s losing touch with what people want. As well as enjoying the wheel to wheel action, I enjoy watching the strategies play out and feel that the current race length is just right for this.

    2. For me his comment is the epitome of what is wrong with this “sport”. It’s all about entertainment and less and less about competition. The race distance was set to be a true test of machine and driver. Races have gotten shorter in time as the cars have improved. If anything the race distance should be increased to make up for that performance gain.

      1. It’s reality vs life, in real life Di Montezemolo kind of makes sense, but Ferrari is all about racing at least it was, maybe it’s reverse psychology no one seems to really care about what Luca wants, it puzzles me to hear an Ferrari president sounding like that.

        Races too short? Ferrari won several 24 hour races in the past.

        1. I dont think he wants shorter races.

          He never said “I want shorter races”. He said “maybe they are too long”, in what should have been interpreted as him suggesting he does not know and is willing to keep an open mind about it.

    3. They have already adapt some sports to give more show and most of the time it’s less entertaining because you lose of the initial spirit and that’s what could happen to F1. Instead they could find new ways to make it easier to follow and understand, just to come with an example : putting the names in different colors according to the tyre used for FP and quali.
      To compare to another sport, it’s nice to see what they did for “America’s Cup” (Sailing boat race), I love the sport but that’s pretty slow and very hard to understand for someone not in the sport. And they made lots of visual help to a beter render on screen and the result is just amazing (they also chose to race closer to shore to be more visible and attract people and that’s working for the oldest trophy in sport)

      So why not for F1, instead of modifying the whole sport and lose long time fans to some new one …

    4. davidnotcoulthard
      9th September 2012, 11:45

      Well, I’m 13 and I don’t think that 1 hour +30 is enough!

    5. @julian I am 21 too. Decreasing the race length will just make it too short

  3. Montezemelo is right, who needs 90 minute races when you could be swimming in the turquoise water around Sardinia ? Better still do we really need actual races, video simulation is so realistic nowadays and computers could assign performance characteristics and race strategies with randomly generated accidents and technical faults that could guarantee multiple contenders for the championship right up to the last lap of the season. Not only could we save billions of dollars we could save the planet!

    1. @hohum Brilliant idea! And the way hologram technology is improving you could do realistic driver appearances and press conferences too. Or even holographic mechanics so out of control cars would drive right through then in pit lane incidents saving life and limb!

      Seriously though, a soccer or a rugby match is 80 mins without over time, and the Olympics go for 2 weeks.. If there’s usually a fortnight between races, then a shorter race would be an anticlimax. Bad idea.

      1. @nackavich, that’s the spirit, who should we get to replace Bernie now that he will be redundant, James Cameron or maybe Trey Parker ?

    2. I think younger people don’t want to waste time with that, they have little time to live.

  4. Montezemelo, more is better!! Do you, comprehend.. understand this message? :)) Why? Because, for example, Alonso needs more time tomorrow to finnish in front.

  5. thatscienceguy
    9th September 2012, 2:26

    F1 race – 90minutes
    Football – 90 minutes
    Australian Rules Football – 2.5 hours
    Baseball – 3 hours
    American Football – 3 hours
    Cricket – 3 hours, 7 hours or 5 days
    NASCAR – the entirety of human history.

    Seems to me F1 races are probably about the right length, they are already one of the shorter popular sports in the world. Few movies are shorter than 90 minutes as well.

    1. Trust a scientist to talk sense !

    2. Road Stage Cycling 4 – 5 hours

    3. Finally, someone to drill sense into Luca

  6. I disagree with the race length, I think it’s fine and actually often think ‘if only it was another 2 or 3 laps and we’d get a real fight for the win!’. But I must agree with the timing; I’m often busy or out in the afternoon and would like nothing better but to sit down and enjoy the F1 in the evening. I can understand that’s impossible for the far east races, but I remember from an article earlier in the week that Canada drew easily the highest peak audience last year (mostly due to the incredibly exciting prospect of seeing last place Button get the win) but also because it was on at a later time. I often record the afternoon race and watch it back in the evening, which of course means I run the risk of hearing the result and also missing out on live timing and the live blog on here.

    1. @cornflakes i for one love the idea of the later races too. it wont happen though. formula 1 is always playing second fiddle to more popular sports then football. that and the fact that while places like singapore can make a night race work, places like silverstone and spa would be choas if the race ends to late. its usually coatic already leaving the venue after the race at those venues

  7. Attention seekers have too much power lately. For fresh view check out Kimi’s interview on

    Q: But the consequence is that now everybody is talking about closed cockpits? Do you have an opinion on that?
    KR: I think this sport is dangerous and if you are not happy to take the risk then you should do something else. I am sure there are plenty of drivers who are willing to take the risk driving a Formula One car as it is now.


    1. i love Kimi. F1 is and has always been the best because we love how they flirt with dangerous speeds and passes. Good answer kimi

    2. I totally agree, Horses for courses they call it! If they close the cockpits, I might have to do something terrible like watch Nascar for entertainment. Change the wheels, the colours, the shape but don’t change the concept.

      1. im imagining what F1 cars would like like with closed wheels, and its not pretty. isnt this open wheel racing after all?

      2. @FunkyF1 But why? What actually changes about the sport if canopies come in, other than the fact that cockpits are covered? It’s just a cosmetic change. You still have the same teams, drivers, circuits, rules, nuances. It’s still F1 – but safer. I don’t quite understand why having cockpit canopies changes anything substantial about the sport.

        1. davidnotcoulthard
          9th September 2012, 11:56

          Well, one of the great things about open-wheel racing is that we can see drivers celebrating, unobstructed. We can also see the steering wheel turn, plus all those things-without the roof making them difficult to see (I just hate the cockpit view of touring car races). I also like the fact that the lack of canopies make the racing cars look a lot less like a box, and that I can see the helmets clearly. The thing is, an F1 car without a canopy looks a lot better, and the audience get more sense of freedom.

          Besides, why are Convertibles so attractive even though then cabins of Convertibles flood in the rain? Not to mention the safety concerns surrounding Convertibles.

  8. Race length is perfect for me, i don’t like short races because i think they don’t give enough time to catch up whit another driver up front, 2 short races is perfect for gp2 because almost all of the cars are the same, and in f1 they aren’t, but i would really like more later EUROPEAN races, here in mi town in Mexico races are Sunday at 6:00 am, its almost impossible to wake up or watch the race live after a hangover. sorry for bad English..

  9. JimmyTheIllustratedBlindSolidSilverBeachStackapopolis III
    9th September 2012, 2:56

    Has someone hit the repeat button on monte? he made these exact suggestions last year as well.

    p.s go michael win 92!

    1. just goes to show how much crap he talks…. hes starting to recycle himself

  10. All these dinosaurs think they know what is best for F1!? How about keep your opinion to yourself, and actually ask fans what they think!? Its not like F1 is what it is because of TV now is it………geez, lol. But in all seriousness, a shorter race may attract the more casual viewer, but what is the point? The casual viewer still takes no interest in spending any money towards F1, I mean I don’t know a single friend who only watches a few minutes of F1 who has ever been to a race or purchased any F1 merchandise.

    1. @ivz – For Luca, the Italian Grand Prix is a lot like the President’s “State of the Nation” address. It’s very important for him to be seen at Ferrari’s home race, and it is very important for Ferrari to appear as being at the cutting edge of the sport, influencing its future – even if they have no real power to do so. Any changes they want need the unanimous agreement of the teams, which means it is unlikely to get discussed among them, much less approved.

  11. Monti, please shut up, please

    the ferrari slip alonso to pole left me in tears, monti keep it up please.

    lets see if they dont use massa as a guided missile……..hmm we shall see.( nusience at least)

    1. All communities have to have a village idiot, who would replace Monti at Monza.
      And at least he didn’t make the call for three car teams this year, or was that bit missed out in the reports.

      Wouldn’t two shorter races be more expensive?

    2. This is Massa’s chance to keep his drive. Win at Monza with Alonso nowhere to be seen and the Tifosi support will keep him at Ferrari for the rest of the year at least.
      If I was Massa I’d be putting my head down and going for it, and if I got an order otherwise I’d ignore it. Winning is the only thing that will restore his confidence now.

  12. Monti an hamilton an alonso remind me WWF, sad but par of the course, I for one is getting sick of it since watching since 88

  13. i believe the idea of shorter races was shot dead in 1 of the ING fan surveys, and rightfully so. shorter races would destroy the value for me, particularly with the frequent and protracted breaks in action.

    i would be very receptive to more states-friendly timing of races. at least move forward or back a couple hours to avoid 4 AM for half of the us fans.

    1. Sure, just force half of all the other fans to watch it at 4am.

      1. The world is a globe, you can’t please everyone with times, but not always making it about Europe would maybe help the rest of the world feel more like it is a sport for them too.
        Perhaps a World Championship should have an even spread of races that are convenient to watch. It’s not like there aren’t enough of them.
        PM, we’re both Australians, I would prefer 4 a.m. to 10 p.m. because I could get to be a bit earlier, get up early, watch the race then go to work, instead of staying up late to watch it, and getting hardly any sleep for work on Monday.

        1. +1
          Us old blokes have to get up to pee at 4am anyway. May as well watch a race while we’re at it.

  14. I would rather see races long enough where reliability becomes a question again. The cars are so reliable now that if they are more than a few seconds apart there’s no drama of whether or not the leader will complete the race.

    Add another 100 km to the races and another hour to the potential race time.

  15. The length is fine, with the price of tickets these days I can’t see people spending that type of money to see an event that might not even span 60mins.

  16. IMHO the races aren’t long enough. Monza is almost a sprint now…a bit over an hour if all goes well. I think the perfect time is two hours. The rules don’t need to be changed, but races should be planned to last as close to two hours as possible.

  17. Jackie Stewart’s comments seem to suggest Hamilton has already moved.

    1. They do, but I don’t think he knows something that we are unaware of. He specifically suggests that Hamilton has cut ties with McLaren, but adds nothing to indicate that he has already decided to go to any other team, be it Mercedes or HRT or whoever. And separating himself from one team without being able to step straight into another is the kind of thing Stewart would criticise a driver for, because there is no guarantee that there will be a seat waiting. Nick Heidfeld made this mistake in 2009 – he left Sauber and had rather tan talk to other teams with vacancies, he had his heart set on Mercedes. But then Michael Schumacher got the second Mercedes seat, and Europe shut down for the Christmas-New Year break. By the time things started up again, it was mid-January, and Heidfeld had no time to arrange a new deal in time for the season to start.

      If things have gotten to the point where there are irreconcileable differences between McLaren and Hamilton, then Hamilton doesn’t really have a choice but to become a free agent. He certainly won’t have the problem Nick Heidfeld had, since he is practically assured of finding a seat somewhere. But there has been nothing to suggest that the relationship between McLaren and Hamilton has crumbled so much that Hamilton would step out into the paddock without a safety net. Why take a chance on doing that when he would make life easier for himself by staying with McLaren until he knows he has a contract elsewhere, and then making the transition across without having to resort to being a free agent?

  18. Today it was the 2007 Italian GP:

  19. We should be making the races longer not shorter.

  20. Races should actually be longer. Not just because I’d like them to be, but because races have been roughly 300 km in length for ages, but the average speeds have gone up. So I think we now need 325 or 350 km races to keep in line with history. That means longer races: 1 hour 45 minutes or so.

    1. @lustigson – The only problem with that is that the circuits differ wildly. Compare Monza to Singapore, for instance: Monza is 5.79km long, whilst Marina Bay is 5.07km in length. In terms of the total race length, there is less than three kilometres’ difference between the two; Monza is 306.72km, while Singapore is 309.08km. But more important is the time difference. Despite the races being held over very similiar lengths, Sebastan Vettel won the 2011 Italian Grand Prix in one hour, twenty minutes and forty-six seconds – but he won the Singapore Grand Prix in one hour, fifty-nine minutes and four seconds.

      Making Monza a 350km race will certainly push it closer to one hour and forty-five minutes, but adding another nine laps to the Singapore Grand Prix to dial it up to 350km would mean adding almost twenty more minutes to it.

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