Start, Interlagos, 2019

How can Formula 1 make Saturday sprint races a success?

2021 F1 season

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Since the Formula 1 world championship began over 70 years ago, two aspects of its race weekends have remained fundamental.

The grid is set by a contest to see which driver can set the fastest individual lap time. This establishes the starting order for a single race: The grand prix.

Departures from this formula have occurred only rarely. F1 experimented with aggregate qualifying times of multiple laps in early 2005, but binned the scheme after six rounds.

There was a single occasion where a multi-race format was used for a championship round. The 1959 German Grand Prix was uniquely run over two 30-lap heats due to concerns over tyre failures on the steeply banked corners of the AVUS circuit.

So if F1’s latest sprint race plan revealed today by RaceFans does go ahead, it won’t be the first time we’ve had two races in one weekend. But compared to the 1,034 other grands prix which featured a single race , it would be a revolutionary change to the structure of a Formula 1 weekend.

Will tyre strategy play a role in sprint races?
There are economic reasons for the sprint race plan, as covered here. But what’s the sporting case for the change? How might sprint races improve the competition?

The fact these events are being pitched as ‘sprint’ races says something about the nature of modern F1. Grand prix racing is supposed to be a sprint format, as distinct from endurance races which run up to 24 hours.

Why the sudden need for even shorter races? Grands prix have arguably become more akin to endurance races in recent years: With multi-race engines and gearboxes, plus high-degradation tyres, it’s become commonplace to see drivers backing off to preserve their hardware.

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Many details of the sprint races are yet to be confirmed. The exact plan will be thrashed out in an F1 Commission meeting on Thursday before a vote is taken on whether to trial them at three rounds of this year’s championship. If sprint races are to live up to their billing and provide flat-out action from start to finish, a format must be devised which gives drivers and teams an incentive to attack throughout.

Formula 2 weekends already feature sprint races
It’s surely no coincidence that Formula 1’s three-race Virtual Grand Prix series, which concludes this weekend, features a sprint race as part of its structure. Nonetheless F1 is likely to arrive at a sprint race format somewhat different from this one, where the starting grid is decided by a five-lap race involving the Formula 1 teams’ Esports drivers.

Don’t expect to see anyone other than the regular race drivers at the wheel of their cars in the real world. Nor are F1’s sprint races likely to be as short as five laps, as it would short-change broadcasters who originally expected one-hour qualifying sessions to take place at this time (even though those sessions will move to Fridays).

Formula 2’s race weekends already feature longer ‘feature’ and shorter ‘sprint’ races. Their longest races are much shorter than grands prix to begin with, and the sprint races around 30% shorter still. Therefore F1 sprint races of one-third to one-half grand prix distance seem realistic.

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Red Bull Ring, 2020
Why Formula 1 won’t give up its Saturday sprint race plan
How long the races are will influence whether drivers and teams have free choice of tyres, or are restricted to certain compounds. Giving them free choice could pose teams the question of whether to start on the softest tyres for an immediate grip advantage, at the risk of suffering degradation towards the end of the race.

But the spirit of a ‘sprint’ race would surely be that drivers are expecting to push flat-out from start to finish, in which case the rule makers may specify they cannot fit softs. That may well be their preference, while the existing ‘Q3 tyre rule’ remains in place for the grand prix.

Should points be awarded for sprint races? If there’s nothing on the table on Saturday besides starting position, drivers may be more motivated to protect their existing positions than attack. But it’s clear that offering two points-scoring rounds per weekend would be a huge break with convention.

F1’s latest sprint race proposal is a watered-down version of its earlier concept which involved using reverse championship standings to set the grid for the Saturday race. While that gimmick has thankfully been discarded, what remains is a plan which looks unlikely to add much extra drama to race weekends.

Sergio Perez, Racing Point, Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, 2019
Canada has been tipped to hold F1’s first sprint race
Having two standing starts instead of one (restarts notwithstanding) will of course add a potential for changes of position. Otherwise drivers will face exactly the same problems racing each other in sprint events as they do in grands prix: Chiefly, the difficult of following other cars closely due to aerodynamic turbulence, which the new regulations coming for 2022 are intended to correct.

It’s therefore doubtful sprint races will introduced much more variety into the starting grids for grands prix, barring a couple of obvious exceptions. Any driver unlucky enough to suffer a car problem in a sprint race, or go out in a collision, will pay the price with a poorer starting position on Sunday.

It isn’t clear exactly what F1 hopes to achieve or improve by making this break with decades of its history, other than making more money. Perhaps more imaginative ideas will surface when the proposal is debated by the F1 Commission on Thursday. But to do that would risk it falling victim to the same backlash which prevented the reverse grid scheme ever seeing the light of day.

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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  • 48 comments on “How can Formula 1 make Saturday sprint races a success?”

    1. Not bother.

      1. I was thinking the same thing, vote no on Thursday.

      2. 1st thoughts were no no no no no…..however the last time they tried to shake up quali it was a disaster and they quickly changed back. As 2021 is a nothing season (a season that should not have been) they should try it. If it works then great if it fails they go back to what we have and this idea can be put to bed forever. I would rather they experiment with the race though, things like no compulsory pit stop but if you do has to be different tyres or you have to use all 3 compounds.

    2. But compared to the 1,034 other grands prix which featured a single race

      But let’s not ignore the races with a SC, which in effect are two or more races as well.
      And a SC 2nd race is even less ‘fair’ as it can be significantly impacted by who is on which tyres (compound and age).

      I know we are not discussing SC, but I’d rather see the full SC disappear than denying a test of a sprint race.

      1. You can’t get rid of the safety car. There are situations like Sakhir last year where it is necessary to close the entire field up so that marshals can get onto the track for long enough to remove something, like a piece of debris or an entire car.

        And I think that safety cars bring a lot of excitement to a race. I know it can be considered unfair because of tyres, but that makes the strategists more important, which I think is a good thing. The only time it is actually unfair is when the leaders have already passed the pitlane by the time the safety car is called, but if the safety car always came out around ten seconds after it was called, it would pretty much eradicate that problem because the leaders who had passed the pitlane would also be ahead of the safety car and going at the same speed as the drivers who had pitted, and could then pit the next time around without getting any unfair disadvantage. The only time I’ve seen safety cars actually bring an unfair advantage to a driver was in Monza, because the pitlane was closed, but that is extremely rare.

        1. There are situations like Sakhir last year where it is necessary to close the entire field up so that marshals can get onto the track for long enough to remove something, like a piece of debris or an entire car.

          I prefer they’d use a Red Flag in those situations, @f1frog.
          – safer for the track workers;
          – no loss of racing time;
          – all cars can fit the best tyres;
          – and for those who want an artificial way to close up the field, it provides the same ‘excitement’ as a full SC.

          1. @coldfly whilst you state that there is “no loss of racing time”, that is potentially not strictly true.

            When you look at the process of initiating a red flag, the drivers are meant to return to the pit lane, where the mechanics can then start working on the cars. Race control is then required to give a minimum notice of at least 10 minutes before the drivers then return to the circuit, with the drivers then undertaking a formation lap before the race resumes.

            Practically speaking, the process of getting the cars back into the pit lane, the temporary cessation in racing and then the additional formation lap before they can resume the race could quite easily take up 15-20 minutes. With the absolute limit on the maximum length of time that a race can be being reduced by an hour, the time limit on races could soon result in races being timed out – especially if, as has sometimes happened, you have multiple different incidents within a race where a safety car would have traditionally been used.

            There is also the question if, paradoxically, you might actually make it less safe for marshals if you removed the option of a safety car and only gave the option of either double waived yellows or a red flag and a full race stoppage. Given how disruptive throwing the red flag would be, there is a possibility that a set of circumstances might arise where race control feels under pressure to keep the race going (e.g. because there are commercial considerations, or they might be forced to stop the race early if factors such as lighting conditions become a problem) and thus decide that, where they might have put a safety car out in the past, they would use double waived yellows instead of the more disruptive red flag.

          2. Coventry Climax
            9th February 2021, 23:12

            Agree, @ColdFly, mostly, that is.
            The, in my opinion, most fair way of resuming the race after a red flag, would be restarting using the time intervals that the cars had when the red flag came out.
            Also, yes, let’s get rid of the SC, but also let’s get rid of the ‘unlapping’ nonsense and the blue flags. Backmarkers? Show your skills and pass them, instead of whining to racecontrol to have them out of the way.

            1. You can get rid of the safety car, make all cars use their pit stop speed limiter instead, it’s fairer. If really dangerous then has to be a red flag.

          3. – all cars can fit the best tyres

            Monaco 2011 is the counter to this argument. That had potential to be a grandstand finish as the top 3 were running nose to tail with Vettel on softs that were 50+ laps old and barely holding on, with Alonso behind on better tyres and Button behind Alonso having better tyres than both of them (15 or so laps newer). Unfortunately they came across a 5+ car train of cars a lap down and drivers attempting to move out of the way for blue flags while also not losing ground resulted in a red flag crash. The free tyre stop ruined that race.

            It’s one of the rules I don’t like – I take the view that cars should be in parc ferme conditions in a red flag and so long as the tyre doesn’t have obvious damage, they shouldn’t be allowed to be changed. Same goes for bodywork damage – if the repairs required can’t be done in the normal circumstances of a pit stop under green flag conditions, the the car should be forced to retire.

    3. I could understand the reverse championship order sprint race: it would force the development of cars that can drive in the dirty air and pass, give a good show, and the top teams/drivers would still be at the front.

      I can’t understand the benefit of this.

      1. I agree, I don’t see much point to sprint races if they’re not reverse grid — it just spreads a single long race out over two days, with a long red flag in between.

        Maybe the sprint races would be interesting if teams were forced to fit soft tyres — contra to Keith’s suggestion — and couldn’t pit. You could try to engineer those MotoGP-style epics where tyre management is key, everyone is running slowly at the start to conserve them, and then someone pulls the pin and they sprint towards the end. I’m still doubtful that it would work given it’s just so much harder for cars to follow and pass, but I’d at least be interested to see it.

        1. I agree, I don’t see much point to sprint races if they’re not reverse grid — it just spreads a single long race out over two days, with a long red flag in between.


          Exactly this, with the only difference that a driver that failed to finish art 1, gets to re-join in part 2 without any time / lap penalty (albeit from the back of the grid), which they couldn’t do in a standard red flagged race.

          Sprint race works in F2 because it is the 2nd race and not the 1st, exactly the opposite of the F1 plan. The big points are handed out Saturday, so they all push. The partially reversed grid for the sprint race does not impact the big points, but everyone can still push hard cos the best from Saturday are fighting thru the field for extra points, while the middling from Saturday are pushing because the reverse grid gives them the sniff of a podium, which is just as important if you’re not competing for the championship.

          None of that dynamic is present in the F1 plan so it will fail.

    4. More money is a second-order effect, derived by making the Saturday event more appealing to new audiences and therefore advertisers.

      The problem is that this sort of gimmick won’t help, not least because the drivers will not be driving flat out.

      Why? Because points are awarded on Sunday, and they only have three engines for the whole of the season.

      Instead of seeing a “flat-out” sprint, there will be lots of “save the engine for Sunday.”

    5. As to the last paragraph of the article, I thought, according to SD, what they want to achieve was simply as he stated which is to explore and see if there is a more exciting way to qualify. And sure if that extends to then having a race weekend that is more action packed and enthralling, Friday through Sunday, and therefore can help grow the sport? Make them all more money and make it all more sustainable and attractive to new fans and new teams? Bonus.

      But as per the article above, yes of course there is the problem of following in dirty air, but this is the last season for that. The new gen cars, assuming once they race in anger they will indeed lose far less performance while trailing another car, will lend themselves even moreso to a sprint type qualifying race in that there wouldn’t be the ‘unfairness’ of a bloke being faster but stuck in dirty air but with fewer laps to do much about it.

      Should points be awarded for the sprint race? No, why should they? It is a qualifying race. It is just a way to race all together for pole rather than go out and do solo individual time trials. It is still only meant to determine a pole sitter and the rest of the order for Sunday. Why would they award points just because it is a race where the winner’s prize is pole like it always is for a qualifying session? They don’t award points for pole now, so they needn’t just because pole is determined differently. It’s still just qualifying.

      And it may be doubtful that these qualifying races would change much the usual order of things on the starting grid, and I would say that is perfectly fine with Liberty…even desired. They aren’t looking to upset the apple cart here. They are merely looking for ways to see if qualifying can be more exciting. They don’t want to change the DNA of F1 and they won’t be doing that, especially if come the end of the day the top runners are still at the top and the bottom at the bottom. All they want to do is explore for a more exciting way to get to the running order for Sunday’s races.

      1. @robbie Except under the proposed format, the Saturday sprint race isn’t really qualifying — qualifying happens on Friday and sets the grid. Essentially, the sprint race becomes a Nascar-style first stage of the grand prix itself, and the break before the lights go out on Sunday is just a long competition red flag. It might end up being less of an action-packed sprint and more like that drawn-out Stage 1 where you know the running order doesn’t matter much.

        Without points on offer, I’m not sure why you would risk anything in the latter stages of a sprint race when you know you have another standing start tomorrow afternoon where you have a much better chance of making up places — especially if you’re running second or third and have a chance to get a big tow at a track like Sochi. At some tracks you might see some drivers backing off to preserve a slot on the clean side of the grid (or willingly dropping a place to get one). Of course, they can try to do that in the current format as well, but it’s a little trickier than doing so in a race.

        1. @markzastrow That is not at all how I have understood it from the article on here titled “Why Formula 1 won’t give up on its Saturday sprint race plan.” My understanding, and I think this is the only way they would or could do this, is that the Friday qualifying session taking place after practice, will be no different than what we now get on Saturday. The only difference is that they are determining the running order for the Saturday qualifying race as opposed to the running order for the race itself. It is the finishing order of the Saturday qualifying race that will determine the running order for Sunday’s race.

          So no, the Saturday race is not the first stage of a two race event, with a long competition red flag lol. It is a qualifier. So I think your second paragraph doesn’t make sense in that why a driver would ‘risk anything in the latter stages of a sprint race’ is because he is trying to start the race as high up on the grid as possible, as is always what they are trying to do now on a Saturday. I think your second paragraph is a carry over of your thinking that the order for Sunday is set on Friday, and it is not. Friday begets the order for Saturday, Saturday then begets the order for Sunday. The proposed sprint race is still qualifying and still determines a pole sitter and the rest of the order, just as qualifying always has. Only difference is they’re racing for it rather than doing solo time-trials over 3 Qs. They won’t be calling the winner of the qualifying sprint a ‘race winner’ but rather the pole sitter.

          1. @robbie No, we are on the same page on the format — Friday qualifying sets the grid for Saturday, which sets the grid for Sunday. My point is that in that format, Saturday essentially becomes the first stage of a one-race event. There’s not much distinction between qualifying and the race itself. It doesn’t sound much different from adding a sprint-race distance on to the front end of the grand prix and then throwing a red flag at the end of it, since the running order at a red flag also sets the order for the standing start after it.

            I suppose that one difference is that you can fix the cars overnight, so it might encourage drivers to take risks and potentially make last-lap contact to gain that extra place. But the flip side is that if you can’t finish the race, you’ve completely screwed yourself for where you start on Sunday. That’s what I mean about not taking risks — why risk putting yourself out of Saturday’s race over one position when you have another standing start coming on Sunday?

            It feels like a band-aid solution for not having cars that can follow closely and overtake. Ironically, if the ability to overtake improves, starting position becomes less important, meaning the stakes of the qualifying race — and the reward of a Sunday grid position — are reduced.

            1. @markzastrow I think there is a distinct distinction lol between Saturday’s sprint and Sunday’s race. I envision that the sprint will be just that…low fuel, one set of tires, perhaps even no pitting…I’d even say they could do two 10 car races as an option. The races of course are still full fuel at the start, and the same tire requirements that exist, so in that sense not just a carry over from the sprint on Saturday. Two totally different approaches to two totally different types of races imho.

              I do take your point in your last paragraph, and I just ponder that while I think teams/drivers will always consider starting position important, you are right that it might become less so, but I think going hand in hand with the new gen cars is that qualifying sprint races would be fairer in the sense of cars not stuck in dirty air with little time to do much about it, and so the cream of the drivers will rise to the top moreso than now, and that will be the case for the race too, but I just don’t see them complacent with their starting position anyway. With the new gen cars will come more opportunities for close combat, for drivers will have more times when they will be confident in their cars in spite of another’s dirty air, but at the same time the art of defending should see a resurgence too, and so it will always be the case that the higher up one can start the better, and there will be little complacency about that.

              Will some drivers who are spread out and won’t be able to change their position as the sprint race comes to a close then back down just to be safe? I’m sure. That’s ok. We’ll have already had some great action ahead of that happening, and what’s so enthralling about watching drivers sit in their cars in their garages for the bulk of the qualifying sessions as we know them?

            2. @robbie Points taken — perhaps sprint racing will produce markedly different mentalities with different results. I’m still sceptical though that it will produce thrilling racing with any greater regularity than the typical Sunday GP format — rather, it seems to me that modern F1 cars typically require strategic variety, changing conditions, or mixed-up grids to produce entertaining races, not brevity.

              The old adage would seem to apply: you can’t win the race in the first corner, but you can lose it. A qualifying race would be the same — you couldn’t win the grand prix during it, but you sure could lose it, so I would expect the racing to be relatively tame. But I’ll be happy to be proven wrong!

              what’s so enthralling about watching drivers sit in their cars in their garages for the bulk of the qualifying sessions as we know them?

              I’d agree with you there — that’s why I really liked the Q4 proposal, to squeeze in more sessions, necessitate more runs, and raise the stakes for each run.

              But if the argument is that the product would be improved simply by having more racing on any weekend, I say, brilliant — just make the Saturday race a grand prix (with full points and its own grid) so it’s a proper doubleheader. That seems much more satisfying than a qualifying race that pays nothing except starting grid positions.

              A traditional qualifying session is satisfying to me because you’ve seen the drivers do something you don’t see them do at any other time on the weekend — show their true, single-lap pace — and be rewarded for it. A qualifying race seems to dilute both itself and the preceding “pre-qualifying” — it’s a race with reduced stakes (no points), and the (pre)qualifying reward is only for the grid for the qualifying race, not the race itself.

            3. @markzastrow I agree about qualifying showing true single-lap pace. It’s a slightly different set of skills to hone everything to create a perfect lap. OK so there’s a bit too much emphasis on tyre temperatures, and getting tows, which kind of detract from the purity. And again absurd tyre rules are counterproductive, with some drivers even trying to avoid Q3 so they can choose their starting tyres, and those getting to Q3 often going out just once to preserve a set. But still, there’s a real art to qualifying. The problem – I’m guessing – is that it’s not easily consumable by casual viewers compared to a ‘race.’ It seems to me that the problem there are the issues with the actual GP providing too little racing and the sprint race is meant to compensate. That’s working the way round. Solve the GP race issues instead. Which is supposed to be what’s happening next year…

            4. * way round = wrong way round.

            5. @david-br Yes, it does have that feeling — though to be fair to Liberty, per Dieter’s reporting, perhaps it’s also simply the commercial reality of needing a higher quantity of racing sessions to broadcast. Either way, I agree, solve the GP issues and the need for the qualifying race goes away.

              And if Liberty needs more racing sessions, I’d say just do some proper doubleheaders the way IndyCar Supercars do them. 2020 has already set the precedent for having two consecutive races at the same circuit in a year — just squeeze them into a single weekend. The drivers are fit enough. It won’t be kind on the teams who may have to pull all-nighters to turn around wrecked cars for Sunday’s race, but neither is the prospect of a qualifying race.

      2. @robbie with regards to your remark that “Make them all more money and make it all more sustainable and attractive to new fans and new teams?” – it might actually have the opposite effect.

        If what the BBC are suggesting is correct, Liberty Media is only offering to pay each team an additional $75,000 per sprint race – if there is any additional money being generated from those sprint races, most of it is likely to be going straight to Liberty Media, not the teams.

        Even in the best case scenario, if those figures are true, any profit the teams would make would be pretty negligible and it might well just be revenue neutral. In the worst case scenario, the additional payments might not be enough to offset any potential additional costs – particularly if the cars were damaged more frequently, as the cost of building replacement parts could easily outstrip any revenue they earned from those sprint races – and adding sprint races might actually make it less sustainable or attractive for new teams if it ends up costing them more money than it brings in.

        1. anon I wasn’t referring to money for the sprint races, I was referring to Liberty and F1 making more money overall, by producing a better product that should generate more excitement and buzz around F1.

    6. Can’t happen. This isn’t Super Formula.

    7. unnecessary experiment :-(
      When you have a sport which worked fine over decades, and then becomes more & more dull, due to certain issues
      (aero / uneven funding / ever tighter tech-regs = limitation of creativity / ever duller tracks), just fix these issues and not something else.

      If you inherit something as precious as a sport with such a long, rich tradition, you do not fiddle around with its fundamentals — when you don’t know that it will work out. Every alteration costs brand image / equity.
      It looks as if there was something broken / wrong.
      Remember the saga with the Qualifying format — which still is not as good as the very simple rule was.

      If your are not eyeing to broaden fan base, to winning the kids, then make things complicated (in case you wanna distract eye-balls from a dull procession / or a sportsmarketer feels the urge to leave a mark for his own sake).
      All great sports can be explained in a jiffy and racing could be part of this set.

      1. Great comment Sacha, when Liberty took over I was overjoyed but no offence to anyone and don’t take this wrong, at least Bernie didn’t make these silly propositions on a weekly basis.

        1. Sprinklers and medals? To be fair Bernie never took these stupid ideas seriously.

        2. Thank you very much, Josh :-)
          Me, too, I was overjoyed that a media & sports corporation took over.
          Bernie, well, big respect for pumping-up this sport and creating such a huge brand equity.

          Regrettably he did not prevent the first engine-freeze-nonsense, back in 2006.
          And he admitted that the HUGE imbalance of prize pot allocation was a fault.
          And he allowed this Qualy-format change, which was an unnecessary “fixing”. I expressed my concerns immediately. When they realized it was not just me, they fixed the fix — for two more times afterwards ?

          He definitely was a big brand asset, on his own, just for being Bernie Ecclestone. The archetype of a witty, clever, smart entertainment marketer. What a unique figure this man is … applaudable.
          Last but not least: to have that circus flying, without major breakdowns, year after year — with a tiny organisation behind — that’s so utterly admirable — unheard, never seen before — Don King is the sole guy in Bernie’s weight class — whereby Bernie became richer than King, while behaving in quite fair fashion, opposite to King.

          1. Hate to think this a U.S. company doing what happens here (I’m in the U.S.) – trying to make things flashier and more ‘exciting’. Making a short race on Saturday works well for U.S. tv audiences. Then, some of them might watch the longer race on Sunday. Reverse grids, rain sprinklers, refueling – don’t be surprised if these things appear as they increase the chance for crashes and fire which american audiences love.

    8. Why the sudden need for even shorter races? Grands prix have arguably become more akin to endurance races in recent years: With multi-race engines and gearboxes, plus high-degradation tyres, it’s become commonplace to see drivers backing off to preserve their hardware.

      Which really begs the question, instead why not drop the engine and gearbox requirements and the tyre rules to encourage more racing and less conservation? After all, sprint races at every 20+ GP would mean heavily spiralling costs (and more engines).
      But going with the idea, an hour is surely too long. Far too much time for the fastest cars to filter their way to the top even if there are early mess ups.

      1. I always found the race way too short most last barly 2 hours once it was 500Km with no time limit. 300km is just like a movie entertainment just 2 hours.

        Engine and gearboxes rules are to keep costs low remember the time with spare car and engine swapping for qualfier and race engine last only 1 race/qualfier I find this a beter way. Tyre rules were made for more racing problem they are too good. FIA planned a tyre who last a amount of laps then a deep dropoff but don’t get a leak. But they got a tyre who last a certain laps (if they select the right) but explode or get a leak. the deep dropoff isn’t there but the performance isn’t either.

        Friday pratice 1 and qualfier for sprint
        Saterday qualflier race and sprintrace
        Sunday race

        This gives a good show around the days. and that is what i like if i visit a track

    9. Dale Wickenheiser
      10th February 2021, 1:41

      I think the sprint race is a good idea in F2 because it gives those drivers more race experience without taxing the teams too heavily.
      But, this is F1 – not training racing. Qualifying (as it is now) is ‘sprint racing’ at it’s best.
      If F1 wants a two race weekend then do that – two full races at the same track with different layouts.

      I also believe the parade (boring) situation on some Sundays is the result of track layout, aero limits, tire saving, etc. as others have stated. I wonder how much would change if the point system was changed. Would the racing be more intense if every place except last received points? What if 1st was only worth 19 points, 2nd = 18, and down to 19th place which earned 1 point. I always wonder at what point do the drivers, say…in 12th? 13th? and down stop racing because 11th place is the same as 20th as far as points go. Why stress the car unnecessarily?
      It won’t change the winner when a car is 30 seconds off the front, but it may inspire others to race if there are only a few points between them.
      And yeah, drop the blue flags – what a lame way to ‘race’.

      1. Some teams have a lot of problem to have enough parts!
        2 races will put them at a big risk

    10. TLDR of the article seems to be: What on Earth are they thinking? There is no real benefit from this at all.

      1. That seems to be a very good attempt to boil the reaction of most fans down to the essence @skipgamer!

    11. Let’s face it, F1 is determined to add “short” races in one form or another to cater for those that want quick gratification.

      The same has occurred in other sports for the same reasons so it’s an absolute given that these so called sprint races will happen.

      At least it’s better than the original proposal of reverse grid sprint races which was a proposal based on 100% pure gimmickry – this at least rewards the fastest qualifier and aligns cars in order of skill and performance.

      There’s lots more to be worked out (things like PU’s, Allowable engine modes, Parc ferme, etc etc) that I hope they consider carefully before rushing ahead with the implementation of sprint races.

    12. It’s not the F1 I want

      And I’m not avaiailble on friday to watch the qualification. And I love it

    13. Why the sudden need for even shorter races? Grands prix have arguably become more akin to endurance races in recent years: With multi-race engines and gearboxes, plus high-degradation tyres, it’s become commonplace to see drivers backing off to preserve their hardware.

      But that’s the way it’s always been. F1 has never really been a ‘sprint race’ formula & there has always some element of having to drive at less than 100% to preserve the equipment.

      The only thing that is really different about the past 10 or so years is that the tyres have been intentionally designed to wear at a faster than normal rate which got teams & drivers to put a larger focus on tyre preservation.

      Was it Fangio who coined the phrase which several subsequent world champions (Clark, Stewart, Lauda & Prost) echoed…. That been that ‘The object is to win at the slowest possible speed’.

      1. @stefmeister Yeah good points, but for me I don’t even really understand the original comment/question in the article. To me it is not like there is some ‘sudden need for even shorter races.’ These are qualifiers were are talking about. Simply a more exciting way to, within the same hour as they use now, qualify. I don’t get all this rhetoric about these being ‘additional races’ and ‘how many races do we need or can we take’ etc etc. This is merely an idea to substitute the hour they use now with a potentially more exciting hour that would imho contain much more action than we get with the current format where the real action or suspense is only for the last handful of minutes of the hour. This hour is simply not comparable to the true races they have and always will run on Sundays at least as far as I can see anyway.

        1. @robbie I think a potential risk with a qualifying sprint race you will be setting the grid based off race pace which will then more than likely make the Sunday Grand Prix even more static than it can already be. For instance any cars that qualified out of position during the actual qualifying session would have made up those places in the sprint race & will therefore not have to do it during the GP.

          Additionally i I don’t even think a sprint race would end up been all that interesting or exciting anyway as your either going to have teams/drivers been conservative to not risk added damage & expense that could impact the GP or your going to have them all driving flat out without any of the additional strategy or management that helps provide much of the action during races nowadays.

          In terms of qualifying, I love the format we have because while it is indeed true that all he tension/excitement happens towards the end of each segment, To me that’s what qualifying is about. It builds up over each segment/over the hour & the final minutes are (Hopefully) the big payoff.

          And Yes I know that with the current proposal traditional qualifying would still happen, But been on a Friday will make it harder for many to watch live & it will also be far less important which will take away some what makes qualifying as exciting as I believe it is. It’s like when we had 2 qualifying sessions in the past, The Friday session always felt less important & less ‘must watch’ because you knew it wasn’t what was setting the grid & that any mistakes leading to drivers been further back would be resolved the next day.

          For as much as I disliked & disagreed with the idea of a reverse grid race I at least saw the rationale behind it. Mix up the grid for the GP to hopefully make the GP a bit more exciting. With this sprint qualifying race I just don’t see any benefits for the Sunday GP as all it’s doing is taking away potential action & focus from what I believe should be the main focus & attraction of the weekend.

    14. Since Liberty want a short race on Saturday (or Sunday where I live), why not use a different car apart from the F1 car, e.g. an F2 car or a classic F1 car. For example, taking the F2 car scenario, the teams hire F2 cars from the F2 teams (or whoever is co-racing at that event) and race with them for an hour or so. No points are handed out, but maybe you could hand out medals or such like. Also, you might add some sort of weighting to the Qualifying results, but I think it better to just leave the Qualifying results as they are, so this is all about seeing whether one driver is better than another.
      I think a classic car type race is much more difficult because how do you define what a classic car is, does it have aerofoils, halo, and engine at the rear, etc?

      1. @drycrust I don’t really see it as them wanting a short race on Saturday, but rather they want to substitute the method they use to qualify for an hour, with a sprint qualifying race. A pole sitter will still be established as well as will the rest of the running order for Sunday, no different than before. Of course it is easy to say there was a race winner for a race they held on Saturday, but it is also just as easy to say a pole sitter was established in a one-hour session that contained a sprint race rather than solo time-trial runs by the drivers over 3 Q’s.

        So to me this one-hour session is still just a qualifying session with a different look to it, so I do not see why they wouldn’t be using their own cars just as they do now in order to qualify. Points? Of course not. Medals? Why? Weighting? Say what? It’s just qualifying. The winner wins pole. The way the others place is the order they will start on Sunday. No different whatsoever from what they do on Saturdays now. Just a different way of spending the qualifying hour, and imho a more exciting way.

    15. This feel like making it easier to adopt electric powered cars in the future, less distance so less battery power required. Battery power in 5-6 years may be able to do a half race distance, which would be ideal for the sprint races. Main races may still require car or battery change.

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