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How Long is an F1 Race?

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Twice half its length. Witty, i know.

Anyway, it's a Tuesday afternoon, and I am sitting just outside Plaza Mayor in Madrid, Spain at 3:32pm according to my iPad. Just had a great, albeit interesting roast duck cannelloni and about to have a third glass of Estrella cerveza. This is fairly a normal day in Spain and although likely more people if it were a Sunday, it is warm and sunny. I like this.

Now, before you think my F1 blog has gone all Travel themed instead, I'm trying to see things from the perspective of Luca Di Montezemolo, the Ferrari CEO. At the weekend it was the Italian Grand Prix (excellently won by Lewis Hamilton) and Di Montezemolo quite publicly said that F1 needs to appeal more to the younger generation. At 32 years of age, and still feeling like I did at the age of 18, I seriously question the mentality of not only Di Montezemolo but also of our younger generation. He said that F1 races need to be shorter - in fact, two shorter races, to "improve the show". Luca, perhaps you and Bernie [Ecclestone] should venture off into retirement together. Di Montezemolo claims races are too long - Sunday's race was 1 hour 29 minutes long, close to the length of a football match (excluding half-time) and just two minutes longer than the first set of Andy Murray's winning match in the US Open Final. The match went on for close to five hours, yet I don't see interest in tennis dwindling.

I'd really like to know where Di Montezemolo gets his research from. An F1 race is limited (baring any weather delays) to two hours - if they haven't had time to complete the number of laps set, they bring the chequered flag out as the clock strikes two hours. He claims that F1 races should be run in the evening, "like football does". Erm...aren't most played in the afternoon around 3pm? Perhaps all he wants is to enjoy sitting outside in a bar, eating tapas (or Italian equivalent) then watch F1 later. Easy, he has the money to travel the world and be in a country where he can watch a race at 8pm in the evening. F1 is a WORLD sport - by holding European races late in the day on a Sunday will mean anyone living in Dubai and eastward will be either fast asleep or on their way to work when the race is on. That is probably why we only have one true night race in Formula 1. Thankfully.

But going back to reducing race length. No. Shut up you old man. The younger generation need to learn that you get a reward through hard graft. An F1 race is called a Grand Prix - grand prize. A sprint race isn't grand to me and by making it in my eyes, more mickey mouse would do the opposite and make viewers switch off. I cannot help but think that he comes up with these crazy ideas in order to ensure that Ferrari are regular championship winners in Formula One. They are without a drivers title since 2007 (Kimi Raikkonen) and a constructors title since 2008. A team that thrives on the success in F1 more than any other team needs to find ways of winning. Is there a sniff that Di Montezemolo sees the McLaren threat in 2012 more than anyone else?

Anyway, the beer is starting to get to me and I'm signing off on this blog - but I do expect Bernie to mention his 'Olympic medal' points system again before the year is out. Senility is alive and well in Formula One.

Time for a siesta. Adios!