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Sebastian Vettel wants F1 weekend format to remain unchanged

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Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel has called for Formula 1’s weekend format to remain unchanged as the sport’s new owner, Liberty Media, considers ideas to improve the racing spectacle.

Liberty completed its takeover of F1 in January, and has been discussing ways in which to make F1 more entertaining, with one idea raised being a change in the current weekend format.

Three-time world champion Lewis Hamilton has been one of the leading voices in the call for change, saying there should be shorter sprint races on certain weekends, such as Monaco, where overtaking is notoriously difficult.

The loss of practice to the weather on Friday in China re-ignited the debate about how weekend schedules should run, but Vettel said he was wary about F1 making changes for no reason, and stressed that the current grand prix format should remain untouched.

“I’m maybe very old-school on many things, and I think that some things we shouldn’t change. The way people look at it now after one race, after a couple of races, they would like to see a change, but I think it’s wrong to change too much,” Vettel said.

“I think it’s important to keep a certain framework consistent throughout time, so I think every now and then it’s important to listen to people, but I think with surveys it’s always difficult to get a very clear picture. I think too much change, equally, is wrong.

“Just to give an example, when there was talk about the race format, I think it would be quite bad to get rid of one race, one grand prix.

“I think it would take away the highlight of the weekend by putting two races, for example, or to make the race shorter because they say it’s too boring and lasts too long.

“I think that’s the grand prix: that’s how it’s always been. It’s been even longer in the past, if you look a long way back, and it should remain a challenge. Making it shorter, more exciting, whatever, I think it’s not a grand prix any more.

“I’m a bit skeptical to have change for the sake of change.”

F1 2017 driver review: Lance Stroll

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Team: Williams

Car No.: 18
Races: 20
Wins: 0
Podiums: 1
Best Finish: P3 (Azerbaijan)
Pole Positions: 0
Fastest Laps: 0
Points: 40
Championship Position: 13th

Lance Stroll’s arrival in Formula 1 at the start of the 2017 was a far from smooth one despite a significant private testing program being undertaken in the months leading up to his grand prix debut.

Even with older hand Felipe Massa at Williams, Stroll looked uneasy behind the wheel of the FW40 car through the opening run of races as he failed to reach the checkered flag in any of his first three starts.

The Canadian was left deflated after his first decent effort in Bahrain was cut short after a clash with Carlos Sainz Jr., calling it his “rock bottom” moment – but things would turn around on home soil.

Stroll produced a stunning fight through the field to take an excellent P9 in Canada, proving his talent seen in Formula 3 the previous year and shushing many of his critics.

Better would follow two weeks later in Baku when Stroll became the youngest rookie in F1 history to score a podium, dodging a crazy race to finish third. It would have been second had he not lost a drag race against Valtteri Bottas to the line.

Stroll’s form then fluctuated greatly. He was sublime on occasion, the best examples being Monza, when he started a remarkable P2 on the grid and ended as the top midfielder in P7, or Mexico where he took a brilliant sixth.

But there were too many weekends he was a little anonymous. Sure, Williams didn’t have the best car this year, but perhaps a little better was expected from Stroll.

2018 will be an even bigger challenge as he looks to the lead the team when a new teammate arrives – and at only 19, it is a lot to handle. Nevertheless, there are positive signs to be found; you just need to look for them a little.

Season High: Taking a shock podium in Baku after dodging chaos in front.

Season Low: A poor opening two races in Australia and China.