Lewis Hamilton’s ever changing accent isn’t the only bit ofAmericanisation going on in Formula1.
New owners, Liberty Media, are looking for new ways thatthey can alter the race weekend format, chopping and changing sessions in anattempt to make the sport more appealing to American audiences. This, pairedwith Hamilton’s suggestions for the sport to be more like the Superbowl, meansthe current season has left us viewers with a strong sense that the world of F1is about to get like, totally radical dude.This season’s pre-race showbiz shenanigans at the US GP onlyadded to this. Although, Michael Buffer’s seemingly endless driverannouncements left those of us watching at home feeling like we were about towatch 20 guys go toe-to-toe in a ring for 12 rounds.
Then suddenly we had Usain Bolt pulling that iconic pose infront of the grid before lights out. Not before a hot lap of the circuit in aMercedes AMG road car, piloted by Lewis Hamilton, of course. It all seemed abit much.Regarding F1’s transformation; Hamilton recently said in aninterview with Time Magazine that, “The way Formula One is run is not goodenough at the moment. The Super Bowl, the events Americans do, the show theyput on is so much, so much better. So if you were to mix in a little bit ofthat template through there, I think we’d be more inviting to the fans.
“This personal infatuation with the United States Hamiltonhas adopted means that his views actually carry a lot of relevance and if therumours around the paddock are true, we could be looking at a drastic change tothe race weekend format in a bid to make the Championship more appealing.The proposal under serious consideration reduces thetraditional three-day race weekend into two days at the cost of FridayPractice. Surely Liberty Media can’t just scrap the sessions, given the team’sheavy reliance on these sessions to develop, set up and fine-tune the cars.Without practice who knows what kind of mechanical meltdowns teams will be sentinto on race day.
But hey, we already know that Liberty love a bit of drama.If Liberty were seriously looking into a two-day spread, theFriday practice sessions would possibly run on Saturday at the expense of asupport race series. The biggest proposed change is to introduce a sprint raceon the Saturday too, along with a shortened race on Sunday. These changes would be the biggest in recenttimes and might create a more entertaining format, albeit one that initiallyalienates those who have followed the sport for a long time.But if this is the cost of putting the sport in a betterposition on the stage of global sports and particularly the American Motorsportscene, maybe these changes should be embraced.
Although the superior NASCARscene shouldn’t quake in its boots just yet.