Today was the final of the snooker World Open which has been a trial for a new format of the game, with every match bar the final being the best of 5 frames, the hope being that the short matches would provide competition, the chance for lower-ranked players to make it into the televised stages, the prospect of players dramatically coming from 0-2 behind to win 3-2, the players being a little more aggressive in the need to win individual frames, and also giving paying spectators the chance to see multiple matches between multiple players in a day.
A few have rubbished it as “Twenty20 Snooker”, but the experiment has actually been a huge success. So it got me thinking, what fresh and potentially controversial changes could be made to F1 that would improve it whilst keeping the same high standard of sport? I’m not talking about Bernie’s Mario kart shortcuts or Luca di Montezemolo’s “let’s have short races so we can all go to the beach afterwards”, points for qualy might give us a world championship on a Saturday and the idea of reverse grids would cheapen F1 in my opinion. But I think there are a few things that can be done.
The first in my opinion is to limit the races to 1 hours and 45 minutes, or perhaps even less. I love F1 but I have never seen a race that could entertain me for 2 hours, especially when those races are usually the likes of Monaco and Singapore (yeh, we had a good race today but it wouldn’t have been that good without the two Safety Cars). A few races brush near that limit and so it would be exciting to see teams shift their strategy if the race was delayed by long SC periods or a brief weather interlude. We could go even further and say they must all be 1:45 even if the race is currently shorter than that, leading to an interesting mix with teams planning to run 50 laps at Spa and then having to only go for 45 because a SC slowed things down; but I’m not sold on that idea just yet.
What do other people think can be done to change the format of F1 to make it more exciting but not cheapen it? I don’t mean changing the cars because we’ve all been down that discussion a million times!
- Change the format of the races. Martin Brundle commented that Monza goes for 1hr15min and Singapore runs 2hr. So pick four races in the year and run them to two hours rather than 300km. They could be worth double points. And if you ran with races like Silverstone and Spa, you could retain their importance on the calendar by elevating them above the standard races.
- Change the format of the circuits. Spa is 7km. Monaco is 3.7km. The average for a new circuit seems to be about 5.5km. There’s been calls for Bahain to run the petimeter circuit after the extension failed; who wouldn’t mind seeing a one hundred lap dash around it?