Super Formula tweaks weekend format for 2021
Super Formula has changed the scheduled for its race weekends for the 2021 season, with the same-day qualifying and race format used last year being scrapped.
Last year the Japanese single-seater series experimented with a radically-revised weekend schedule in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, with a pair of practice sessions on Saturday followed by qualifying and the race itself on Sunday.
However, it's understood that qualifying will revert to Saturday for this season, with a single 90-minute practice session taking place beforehand.
A further 30-minute practice session will then be held prior to the race on Sunday.
Qualifying itself will stay the same as last year, using a three-part Formula 1-style knockout system with Q1 being divided into two groups as it was in every race last year.
It appears likely that last year’s shortened race distances, featuring a mandatory pitstop to change tyres but no refuelling, will remain unchanged. In addition, just a single dry tyre compound - the Yokohama soft - will remain in use.
The dropped score system introduced by Super Formula last year is likewise set to stay in place as travel restrictions continue to affect several drivers on the grid.
Kondo Racing’s Sacha Fenestraz is looking certain to miss the Fuji Speedway opener on April 3-4 as his travel woes continue, with his SUPER GT team TOM’S admitting that the Frenchman is in danger of missing the opening round of that series a week later.
Meanwhile, a direct clash between the Fuji Super Formula race and the opening round of the FIA World Endurance Championship at Portimao has been relieved, meaning Kamui Kobayashi and Kazuki Nakajima should be clear to participate in the former.
However, if Japan’s current quarantine rules remain in place, it would make Kobayashi, Nakajima and Tatiana Calderon uncertain for other Super Formula races later in the season owing to their WEC commitments.
Ex-Formula 2 driver-turned Super Formula Lights racer Giuliano Alesi could stand in for Nakajima later in the year if the latter has to miss races, TOM'S has revealed.
Alesi in frame for 2021 TOM'S Super Formula outings
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