The sprint format has already undergone some changes this year compared to last year, it is now a separate event on Saturday with a shootout qualifying that determines the starting grid for the sprint race that follows later on Saturday. F1 team bosses now agree that it is not yet perfect and that it needs to be updated to make improvements.
Several ideas are currently being considered. This ranges from converting Saturdays into a standalone sprint championship, introducing a reverse starting grid or awarding a large cash prize for the sprint winners.
According to Mercedes motorsport boss Toto Wolff, during discussions with F1 president Stefano Domenicali, a proposal was made to move the sprint shootout to Friday, with the sprint race held on Saturday morning and qualifying for Sunday’s Grand Prix postponed to later in the afternoon.
We have already spoken to Stefano Domenicali about it, Toto Wolff tells Sky Sports this weekend in Brazil. The idea is that it would cause less confusion. We may have to change the designation to sprint qualification and GP qualification. I’m not a fan of how things are going now, but if they make sense from the audience’s point of view, we should just do it.
Aston Martin performance director Tom McCullough also gives his view on it: From a technical point of view it gives us a headache. After just one practice session the car is already in parc ferm conditions and that’s what we’ll have to do for the rest of the weekend. From a commercial point of view and from the fans’ side, I think it could be exciting.
However, it is still a bit too complicated for the normal fan at the moment, according to McCullough. My father is a die-hard and ardent F1 fan, even he finds it confusing how things are going now. So our job is to make it easier, but still keep the excitement of two races.
Ferrari sporting director Diego Loverno emphasizes that no definitive proposal is yet on the table.
The sprint weekend certainly has advantages, with more competitive sessions you can generate more interest. Once F1 and the FIA have determined the format, it is up to us the teams to implement this as best as possible. It remains quite difficult now, we will certainly have to work together with all the teams.
That’s the ultimate goal, to make it as good as it can be for the fans.
Written by Vincent Bogaerts