BLOOMINGTON, Minn. — The rookie drivers — such as Yuki Tsunoda at AlphaTauri, and Haas drivers Mick Schumacher and Nikita Mazepin — and those drivers who do not have years of Formula One experience will be at a disadvantage this season because of the new rule that has shortened the practice sessions on Friday.
There are two 60-minute sessions instead of two 90-minute sessions.
So the drivers and teams have 60 fewer minutes to set up their cars for qualifying and the race. And this will benefit the experienced drivers who know what fine adjustments best suit their cars.
Another change this year is that the maximum time for a race is reduced from four to three hours. This total includes rain delays and red flags for accidents.
The “four-hour race rule” was introduced after multiple red flags for rain caused the 2011 Canadian Grand Prix — won by Jenson Button in a McLaren — to last four hours, four minutes and 39.537 seconds.
The new three-hour rule will give Formula One and the circuit organizers a little bit more flexibility when they determine what time the race should start relative to sunset.
Finally, the teams have welcomed the new rule that the start of the races will no longer be at 10 minutes past the top of the hour, but instead start at the top of the hour as in past.
Ten minutes does not seem like a lot, but it just means that at the end of the race the team personnel are 10 minutes later in their work to pack up all the equipment and then head home or to the next race.