Formula One weekend format to be discussed

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The Independent Online

The future of Formula One's Grand Prix weekends will be discussed at a meeting of team officials and the sport's leading executives in London today. The International Automobile Federation president Max Mosley and vice-president Bernie Ecclestone are expected to attend.

The future of Formula One's Grand Prix weekends will be discussed at a meeting of team officials and the sport's leading executives in London today. The International Automobile Federation president Max Mosley and vice-president Bernie Ecclestone are expected to attend.

An FIA spokesperson confirmed that the meeting would involve initial discussions on Grand Prix events, adding: "It will maybe develop an agenda for the future of Formula One."

Several team leaders, including McLaren's Ron Dennis and Ferrari's Jean Todt, have discussed shortening the three-day Grand Prix weekend to just Saturday and Sunday.

Proposals for a ban on testing at Grand Prix circuits, and a total testing ban during August, will also be discussed. Teams are currently able to test at tracks up to one week before races. This has led to them finding the ideal set-up for their cars before arriving for events, thus rendering Friday's practice pointless, with cars kept off the track to conserve the limited number of tyres allowed over the weekend.

A ban on testing at Grand Prix circuits would make Friday sessions relevant again. Mosley, however, argued: "Two days is adequate for a world-class sporting event. But I expect it will be far too radical for the competing teams to accept."

Alternatively, the FIA could make both Friday and Saturday's times count for qualifying. Saturday's current one-hour battle for pole position, however, draws big television audiences and the organisation may not want to risk altering it.

The Frenchman Alain Prost, chairman of Prost Grand Prix who will be attending the meeting, said: "My suggestion last year was to have both qualifying on Friday and Saturday, and to combine the two sessions. It could be quite interesting.

"There might be some fresh ideas put forward, but I don't think we should keep the situation as it is."

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