Several F1 drivers have suggested that the amount of free practice time during a Grand Prix weekend could be reduced.
In addition to Qualifying and the Grand Prix itself, a typical F1 race weekend also features three one-hour practice sessions, allowing drivers and teams to fine-tune their cars and run through different simulation programmes ahead of the competitive action.
F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali created a stir last month by suggesting that he would prefer to eliminate all free practice sessions from a Grand Prix.
Though he later clarified his comments and ruled out scrapping free practice entirely, the Italian said it would be wrong not to consider ways of changing the race weekend format in order to continue to engage the sport's growing audience.
Asked about possible alterations to the running order, several drivers told media, including RacingNews365.com, that the amount of practice time during a weekend could be reduced.
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Drivers offer thoughts on reduced practice
"Definitely, from a driving point of view [there’s no need for three sessions]," said Pierre Gasly.
"It's always nice, you can work on fine details on the car and really try to nail the car balance for the weekend but generally speaking, I think two [sessions] is more than enough for us."
Nyck de Vries, who is making his full-time F1 debut this year, noted that several junior formulae only have one practice session, and suggested the same could be applied to F1.
"I think in all junior series we've been used to actually only doing one free practice session, so I think we could do with less," said de Vries.
F1 returnee Nico Hulkenberg, who is a veteran of 184 Grand Prix starts, said he had enjoyed the reduced practice time allowed in junior series.
"I quite enjoyed it at the time, having only 30 minutes [of practice] in F2 and then getting thrown into qualifying. So, I think it's a matter of personal preference and opinion."
Fellow rookie Logan Sargeant was another to suggest that the current amount of F1 practice is excessive.
"I think three [sessions] is definitely a lot, especially coming from F2 where you just have to take risks a lot sooner," said the American.
"As a rookie, I don't mind having two or three, but going forward, I don't think three is necessary."
Balve Baines is joined by RacingNews365.com Editorial Director Dieter Rencken and Asia Correspondent Michael Butterworth to dissect the key talking points from the Australian Grand Prix.