Lewis Hamilton’s ever changing accent isn’t the only bit of
Americanisation going on in Formula1.
New owners, Liberty Media, are looking for new ways that
they can alter the race weekend format, chopping and changing sessions in an
attempt to make the sport more appealing to American audiences. This, paired
with Hamilton’s suggestions for the sport to be more like the Superbowl, means
the current season has left us viewers with a strong sense that the world of F1
is about to get like, totally radical dude.
This season’s pre-race showbiz shenanigans at the US GP only
added to this. Although, Michael Buffer’s seemingly endless driver
announcements left those of us watching at home feeling like we were about to
watch 20 guys go toe-to-toe in a ring for 12 rounds.
Then suddenly we had Usain Bolt pulling that iconic pose in
front of the grid before lights out. Not before a hot lap of the circuit in a
Mercedes AMG road car, piloted by Lewis Hamilton, of course. It all seemed a
Regarding F1’s transformation; Hamilton recently said in an
interview with Time Magazine that, “The way Formula One is run is not good
enough at the moment. The Super Bowl, the events Americans do, the show they
put on is so much, so much better. So if you were to mix in a little bit of
that template through there, I think we’d be more inviting to the fans.”
This personal infatuation with the United States Hamilton
has adopted means that his views actually carry a lot of relevance and if the
rumours around the paddock are true, we could be looking at a drastic change to
the race weekend format in a bid to make the Championship more appealing.
The proposal under serious consideration reduces the
traditional three-day race weekend into two days at the cost of Friday
Practice. Surely Liberty Media can’t just scrap the sessions, given the team’s
heavy 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 sent
into 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, the
Friday practice sessions would possibly run on Saturday at the expense of a
support race series. The biggest proposed change is to introduce a sprint race
on the Saturday too, along with a shortened race on Sunday. These changes would be the biggest in recent
times and might create a more entertaining format, albeit one that initially
alienates those who have followed the sport for a long time.
But if this is the cost of putting the sport in a better
position on the stage of global sports and particularly the American Motorsport
scene, maybe these changes should be embraced. Although the superior NASCAR
scene shouldn’t quake in its boots just yet.