Skaife fires up on formats

  • Virgin Australia Supercars Championship
  • |
  • 12/05/2015
  • By V8 Supercars

V8 Supercars Hall of Famerand FOX Sports expert analyst Mark Skaife entered into a heated debate with Lee Holdsworth on tonight's episode of Inside Supercars, around the speculation that Saturday race formats could change this year.

Skaife - who is a five-time Champion, former V8 Supercars Commission Chairman and former board member - believes altering the racing format mid-year is "fraught with danger" and said no serious sport would make such a drastic change during a season.

Current driver and Inside Supercars panelist Lee Holdsworth disagreed, saying the 60km races are not working for fans and drivers, and the two entered into a head to head debate outlining the positive and negative sides to the suggested 120km race on Saturday, which would combine the two current 60km races.

"I think we've got to be very careful with our sport, it's a very technical sport," Skaife began on Inside Supercars.

"But we all know the rules at the start of the year. If you start changing format rules - that's like the NRL saying we'll change the half lengths or serious sports, as in the AFL, making proper format changes in the middle of the season - the clubs would not stand for that.

"So I agree that the format is not the best format, but changing it mid-season is fraught with danger."

However, Holdsworth believes that if the racing is not entertaining, it should be tweaked - as soon as possible.

"It's an entertainment sport in the end and we want to please the fans - they're all saying they want to see the longer races - the 60km [races] aren't working I don't think," the Walkinshaw racer said.

"We've seen in Perth and a number of times ... we need to mix it up a bit, and get onto itnow."

While Skaife argued that a poor qualifying for the race would hugely set a driver back on Saturday, Holdsworth used other panelist Fabian Coulthard's drive from 24th to third during Sunday's 200km race in Perth as an example.

Holdsworth put it down to strategy, tyre life and pace, as Skaife cut in with, "luck of a safety car".

Host Greg Rust moved the conversation on when Skaife added: "Sensible people have sat around and decided not to change the format for this weekend... and I agree with that."

However, it seems a number of current drivers agree with Holdsworth, that a shift to a longer 120km race would work on Saturdays, with experienced hand Jason Bright reiterating that the 2015 Champion would be the one that best dealt with the challenges the year serves.

"It's the same for everyone, that's how I look at it," he told v8supercars.com.au.

"It's not like you can say 60km races are working better for me or another guy. We're all a team, we have to do a good job and make sure we do a good job for one race.

"It really doesn't change things that much. At the end of the day the guy who does the best job [throughout] the Championship is the guy that's going to be standing up there at the big awards night."

The Team BOC driver didn't think it was an issue to change at the this time of the season, particularly if fans and teams feel the format isn't working.

"Making changes mid-year in any category is not that big a deal," Brighttold v8supercars.com.au.

"At the end of the day we're about making sure the racing is entertaining and sometimes we have to make changes through the year. It's not like you've planned the whole year out as far as what you're going to do in the races."

The V8 Supercars Commission this week granted an additional set of hard Dunlop tyres for Friday practice for Winton after ongoing debate about tyre allocations, but did not make a decision on a change of format.

Stay tuned this weekend for all the V8 Supercars action:

Saturday -Race 10: 13.50, Race 11: 16.20, FOX SPORTS 506
Highlights: 20.30 ONE, 24.00 Ten.

Sunday - Race 12: 13.15, FOX SPORTS 506
Highlights: 16.00 Ten, 20.30 ONE.

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