Teams could skip FP3 to preserve cars
13 March 2014 – Formula 1 teams could skip final practice at this weekend's Australian Grand Prix to ensure that their cars are prepared to take part in qualifying, given the problems thrown up by the 2014 regulation overhaul.
Teams quickly discovered during the pre-season test period that problems with their new cars, powered by turbocharged 1.6-litre V6 engines, take far longer to reach and ultimately resolve than their predecessors.
And the FIA's Charlie Whiting says teams have mentioned the idea of carrying out all of their work during Friday practice and completing only an installation lap on Saturday morning to guarantee involvement in qualifying.
"As we know, there's a two-hour gap between P3 and qualifying and it would be very unfortunate if a team had a problem at the end of P3 that they couldn't fix for qualifying," Whiting explained. "It's not without precedent as we've seen it happen in the past – Fernando Alonso having a shunt in Monaco a few years ago, for example.
"Teams are worried that it's going to be more common, and I've even heard teams saying that they will skip P3 to make sure that they've got the car ready for qualifying. But we'll see, everyone's got their own way of going about things. Some teams tell me it will take seven hours to change an engine, some say it will take three and some say it will take an hour and a half. We don't know whether such difficult situations like that will actually arise.
"It will be different to what we're used to for the first few races, but I have no real feeling for what will happen."