Why shorter now?

siffert_fan

Too old to watch the Asian races live.
Contributor
With the vast improvements in car reliability and performance over the years, I have long pondered the following question: Why are race distances frequently shorter now than in earlier years?

Most Formula 1 races now are approx. 200 miles in length. The 1954 British GP, held at Silverstone, was approx 264 miles long, and that was fairly typical of the time. With the car improvements over the years, shouldn't the races be longer now than they were then rather than shorter?

The same trend is found in the WRC, where the "special stages" of today are roughly half as long as in the 80s!

Is the reduction due to catering to television's demands, the reduced attention spans of today's fans or some other reason. I truly cannot fathom a sensible reason for the trend.
 

The Pits

Harumph. Again.
Valued Member
I think that there is a much broader spectrum, and we live in a world of instant gratification, and the general attention span has shortened significantly.
 

FB

Not my cup of cake
Valued Member
You've hit the nail on the head siffert_fan, it's all about what TV has to cater for. Look at cricket, test matches "too boring" so they create a one day game. Still too long so now we have the cricket equivalent of rounders in Twenty:20.

Don't the rules state 200 miles or 2 hours, which ever is sooner though? Looking at the stats F1 Shift.net posted, the British GP 1:25 is a bit of a rip for the paying fans, although if they could get any race at Silverstone in about 20 minutes I for one would be grateful.
 

cider_and_toast

Exulted Lord High Moderator of the Apex
Staff Member
Premium Contributor
Yeah, it's all about producing a nice easy to sell package to the TV companies for mass consumption. You only have to look at Bernies recent comments in the press that he would like to see a 20 car grid because that in his mind, is the ideal number of teams for promoters to handle. Apparently if you dig deep enough, there is a sport in there somewhere.
 

Galahad

Not a Moderator
Valued Member
I think the changes to F1 and rallying may be due to different considerations; the rally teams have pushed for central servicing parks for over a decade, resulting in "cloverleaf" stages with serious constraints as to how far the rallies can go from home base - and therefore how long individual stages can be. Todt has made encouraging noises about allowing organisers to return more endurance elements - but he isn't writing the cheques, so we'll see.

As far as F1 is concerned, the specified distance hasn't been changed for a long time, has it? Was it even in the FOTA period, or before? The races are shorter mainly because the cars are completing the distance quicker!
S'pose if you want value for money Le Mans is the place to go ;)
That would be true even if it were the Le Mans 2h, FB!
 

Bushi

Pole Sitter
Just looking at the results of 1954 and those races don't seem very exciting to be honest.
Except for France and the UK where the diff. between 1st and 2nd was 1sec.

That's probably why they reduced the length of a race. Some races just are to boring to watch for 3hours and even 2 hours in this day and age. I think Montezemolo even asked to shorten the races this year, so did Briatore a few years back. Which isn't a bad idea for some tracks.
 
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