Start, Spa-Francorchamps, 2020

Sprint races mustn’t diminish the prestige of winning a grand prix – Ricciardo

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In the round-up: Daniel Ricciardo says F1’s plan to introduce sprint races must not dilute the value of winning a grand prix.

What they say

Ricciardo said he was initially concerned to hear about Formula 1’s plans to introduce sprint races, but was reassured to hear they won’t involve reverse grids:

At first I was a little apprehensive, but I do feel better at the thought of that certainly [rather] than a reverse grid. Ultimately if the best guys and the best teams are still coming out on top and it’s kind of not manipulated or artificial, so to speak, then I’m less scared of it.

Competition is obviously what I love most. I would love to do more races and less practice or whatever. So in saying that, it does go towards what I want.

But I think the biggest thing is I want an F1 win to still feel as big as what it should be. I don’t ever want an F1 win to feel diluted or just somewhat lower than what it should. So as long as if they do bring in another race on the weekend, as long as it [still] kind of carries the same value, then I guess I’m certainly more open-minded towards that.

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Interactive: Compare the new McLaren-Mercedes MCL35M with last year’s car
Don’t expect McLaren to improve on their third place in the championship this year, says @Aiii:

it would require them to find over half a second per lap on engine power alone and I don’t think the Renault was that slow, to be fair to them.

Last year got everyone all excited for the midfield because Ferrari fell out of the top three and joined them so they all moved up a spot, but if they get their act in order and with Sainz replacing the poorly performing Vettel, I would be surprised if third this year isn’t just going to be the red team and the midfield fight is going to return to fourth.

Until the effects of the 2022 rules in combination with the newly introduced budget caps come into effect, the status quo will be maintained for at least another season.
@Aiii

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  • 25 years ago today Ferrari ran its new F310, the team’s first car to be raced by Michael Schumacher, at Fiorano, but a major gearbox fault halted running

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  • 40 comments on “Sprint races mustn’t diminish the prestige of winning a grand prix – Ricciardo”

    1. I completely disagree with cotd. Mclaren might find .5 on power and installation. I’m confident they are going to find more time. McLaren have been copying merc for longer than anyone else, they are ahead of the trend, renault and rb are a year behind and rp bought a 2019 merc. Ferrari and other teams are pretty much locked to what they had the chassis is frozen.

      1. I am slightly less in disagreement with the CotD than you are @peartree. I agree that McLaren would probably find some improvement in the engine change. And because of the token situation they pre loaded some improvements of the car to last season already (where it would have hurt rather than helped speed in those latter races).

        To put the Ferrari lacklustre performance on a poorly performing Vettel to the extent that getting a better performing Sainz would boost them ahead of the midfield however, is where i do disagree with you @aiii.
        Sure, having 2 drivers who get performance out of the cars will make a huge difference. And yes, Ferrari did seem to get on top of things somewhat during the year to where they would at least not be dead last. And they will have found some performance over the winter too (surely they would, right?). But they will still be part of the mid field, not as far behind to be happy to be able to fight for 5-7th place, but probably part of that midfield pack of McLaren, Alpine, Aston Martin and now firmly including AT as well.

        Sure, it will be hard for McLaren to defend that 3rd best constructor, especially as their car was not the fastest of that pack in the first place even last year. But then they did get a good engine and I would say that their driver line up certainly did not get worse either!

        1. To put the Ferrari lacklustre performance on a poorly performing Vettel to the extent that getting a better performing Sainz would boost them ahead of the midfield however, is where i do disagree with you @aiii.

          @bascb I mean, had Vettel performed equally to Leclerc like he did in 2019, they would have had 190 to 200 points, which would’ve been enough to be into contention for third (including the implications of point distribution towards the other midfield teams changing with Vettel in the mix). Now, assuming their upgraded engine boosts their performance. Along with Sainz performing on or near Leclerc’s level, I don’t see any reason to not assume they’ll return to their top 3 team position. I’ll be more than glad to be proven wrong on that one, though.

      2. @peartree @bascb
        The side effects of the PU installation may more likely outweigh the positives of the PU supplier change. Whether the driver pairing would be enough to overcome the possible lack of outright pace against the closest rivals is another matter, though.

        1. @jerejj mclaren have said the fia was quite sensible about the whole situation. the freeze was announced after the deal was done I’m sure tokens might have been used but I haven’t read mclaren complaining.

      3. The way Ferrari is agreeing to an engine freeze means they are quite confident to get up to speed this year, but still can’t see them suddenly jumping to Red Bull level, so IMO the fight with McLaren at the midfield will continue.

        As for the drivers, it wasn’t just that Vettel was bad, it was that Leclerc was very good, so don’t see Sainz scoring as well as Charles. And OTOH a stoked Ricciardo will probably be on Leclerc’s level and should anyway take up the balance.

        1. While I agree with you that Ricciardo could be a difference maker for McLaren @balue, I don’t know if he will be on his best performance from the get-go. He definitely needed a good half year to get acclimated at Renault when he made the switch, and that’s with an engine he had been driving for most of his F1 career. Now, in a new team, with a new car with its own quirks, and an unfamiliar engine I think it will take a bit of time for Ricky to find the most from the McLaren.

    2. If we must have a sprint race, here’s what I’ve settled on as something that even I — someone who didn’t see the point of them a few days ago — could get behind:

      Friday: 60 minute practice session + knockout qualifying to determine sprint race grid but the front row is also locked in for the Sunday GP grid.
      Saturday: 60 minute practice session + sprint race to determine positions 3–20 and pay points to the top six finishers: 9-6-4-3-2-1.
      Sunday: GP, per usual.

      This ensures historical continuity in that pole positions (and front-row lockouts) remain determined by fastest single laps, and it gives the Friday qualifying session real stakes. The points on offer on Saturday ensure that everyone will still be racing hard towards the front (with the points structure of course being a bit of a nostalgia trip). With a Saturday practice session, fans onsite still get the same number of sessions, but the total practice time is reduced by an hour over the 2021 format (and by two hours over the 2020 format).

      I am still something of a sceptic, but if only the Friday qualifying session remains tied to pole position, I find a lot of my reservations melt away.

      1. This ensures historical continuity in that pole positions (and front-row lockouts) remain determined by fastest single laps

        That trend was broken many years ago.
        And interesting that you’re concerned about front row lockout statistics, but willing to award serious points during a qualifying race.

        1. @coldfly With the exception of the short-lived aggregate qualifying system, has there ever been a qualifying system that was not about setting the fastest time over a single lap in a given session? For me, it’s not so much about statistical continuity—there’s not much use in comparing statistics across eras. Rather, I like the principle of the thing, that qualifying awards poles, and racing awards wins (and points). Points are especially impossible to compare across eras anyway, but I like the purity of the idea that pole position has always been through some form of time trial, and not winning a race.

          1. Indeed qualifying has been drastically changed in the past and ran over two days. Luckily they now are smart enough to test it rather than directly introduce it.
            And you will be relieved that qualifying will still be determining the pole, although again it will be run over more sessions (a day apart). But that is nothing new as current qualifying is also run over 3 ‘sessions’ but now just a few minutes apart.

      2. @markzastrow I don’t see much point in having a practice session after qualifying anymore. The format would definitely only have a single session on Friday with the sprint race being the only Saturday F1 session.

        1. @jerejj It may well, but I think it’d be a shame. Lots of people can only attend Saturday and Sunday. It’s harder for me to justify going to a grand prix weekend if I’m only going to see two sessions of F1 running, and neither of them having the cars running at flat-out pace.

      3. Reading your comment @markzastrow, I think that’s my biggest beef with the current idea. I don’t like the idea of grid position for the main event being decided by anything other than qualifying-proper. Obviously using the same grid for both races or scheduling the sprint after the GP wouldn’t jive with F1’s goals but I’d find either more palatable than the current proposal.

      4. If points are going to be handed out at the Sprint race, then surely points should also be awarded to those who are excluded from that race by virtue of having done better. For example, say George got Pole Position in Qualifying and Kimi was second in Qualifying, then, since they’re excluded from the Sprint, and the winner of that race gets 9 points, then surely Kimi should get at least one point better than 9, i.e. at least 10 points, and George at least one point better than Kimi, i.e. at least 11 points.
        As an aside, doesn’t a Practice session imply the right to make adjustments to the car? If the cars are supposed to be under parc ferme conditions from the start of Qualifying then why have the practice session before the Sprint race. Maybe it would be better to have Qualifying on Saturday morning and the Sprint race on Saturday afternoon.

        1. Well, if I were making the rules (ha), I wouldn’t exclude the front row from the sprint race. They would be free to fight for the points, as well. And since they’re locked in, they can also risk a bit more to fight for the sprint race win knowing their Sunday position is secure.

          Re. your aside, I would simply eliminate parc ferme. We used to have one-hour warmup sessions on Sunday morning, after all. IIRC, parc ferme was introduced to prevent “qualifying specials”, but with a budget cap, a single tyre supplier, and PU limits, I don’t see why we need it anymore.

    3. I wish Ricciardo would quit talking about this stupid tattoo. It’s as though it’s one of the most exciting things in his life the idea of someone being branded for a lousy podium. Won’t stop talking about it.

      If Ricciardo stayed loyal to Renault it would be somewhat tolerable listening to this, but he bailed on them before his second season even started.

      Neither man is at the Renault/Alpine F1 team today.

      It’s hard to take Ricciardo serious sometimes even though he’s probably at the level of someone like Hamilton (not at the level of Verstappen as 2016-18 proved).

      His attitude probably cost him an opportunity at Ferrari.

      Should have just stayed at RBR moved backwards to Renault then sideways to McLaren. Ran from a fight in the end.

      1. I’d bet my house that somebody specifically asked Ricciardo about the tattoo, so if anything, you should take issue with the journalists asking the questions.

        1. Almost certainly. Since the McLaren launch had fans asking questions, it makes sense that at least one of them would ask about that one @sparkyamg, Dean Franklin

          1. I understand that a fan asked it, but surprised (or not) that a serious journo tweeted about it and included it in an online article.

      2. It’s hard to take Ricciardo serious sometimes even though he’s probably at the level of someone like Hamilton (not at the level of Verstappen as 2016-18 proved).

        Must you drag your BS ranking of Hamilton everywhere?

        1. And some still bite :P

        2. Who am I supposed to compare Ricciardo to? Latifi?

          1. Or Verstappen? Or Vettel? Or yourself?

          2. Why do you need to compare him to anyone at all?

    4. @sparkyamg agree
      Bored of journalists asking.
      Bored of publications printing.
      By all means, show me when it happens, but for now it’s as uninteresting as me saying daily that I’ll get back to the gym soon.

    5. Don’t worry Danny, it won’t devalue the Grand Prix when a Mercedes wins and we all say, “well they would have won anyway”.
      However no one will give any value to a podium in the sprint race. It will be more of a novelty than an achievement.
      Much like being the team leading at half time, no one remembers if you weren’t still winning at the end of the game (ie: the Grand Prix itself).

      1. @eurobrun

        However no one will give any value to a podium in the sprint race. It will be more of a novelty than an achievement.

        I’m pretty sure everyone will give value to a sprint race podium as it will represent the pole sitter and the second and third place qualifiers no different than now with the times lap Saturday format they currently use.

        1. Should have read ‘timed’ lap…not ‘times’

    6. Ric has a point there. Personally, I’ve seen it with ice skating. In the past there was one champion a year and it would attract lots of viewers. Now every weekend someone wins a world title on whatever format distance. As skater it is impossible to not be a world champion because of all the gimmics and formats. Stopped watching completely….

    7. I agree with Ricciardo and COTD, although I think @Aiii meant ”I ‘wouldn’t’ be surprised if third this year isn’t just going to be the red team and the midfield fight is going to return to fourth.”

    8. Sprint races makes F1 seem like a feeder series. Please stop ruining my passion! I still have to put up with DRS don’t I!?

      1. I would retire DRS, ban driver favoritism, ban offensive language and fix team orders.

        1. @Dave Driver favoritism and offensive language, LOL. What do you even mean by the former? I don’t see anything in team orders that need specific fixing either.

          1. I’l still mad at Mercedes for Russia 2018. Had they not issued a team order, Bottas would have won that race and Hamilton would still win the title. I found it unnecessary as we know who would become champion at that time.

    9. Jose Lopes da Silva
      16th February 2021, 11:33

      The prestige of winning a Grand Prix has vanished since 2000, because of two factors: the never ending enlargement of the number of races per year, and the bullet-proof reliability allowing for endless winning streaks. Those features were not negative developments, they were just the sport evolving. It is what it is. Winning a race is turning more like winning one of the 38 games of a football season. I don’t know how does that diminish the passion.

      1. I’m not sure about your first sentence because Schumacher won the championship with a slightly inferior car to the McLaren in 2000.

        2000 was one of the best seasons in the history of the sport.

        Even 2001 which is seen as a dominant Ferrari season by many people, non-Ferrari cars won 8/17 races.

        In the most competitive season of the hybrid era (2018), non-Mercedes cars won 10/21 races. Basically the most competitive hybrid season was equal to what was considered a dominant Schumacher/Ferrari season.

        You can argue 2002 and 2004 were bad for the sport much like the entire hybrid era, but both those seasons were followed by close, competitive seasons.

    10. there he is wrong, Danny Ricc, there he’s wrong.
      Adding a sprint race won’t solve any of the problematic issues the sport is facing since technology became ever more castrated / narrowed, while prize pot distribution became ever more unfair, track limits diluted (cannot work in racing) while free TV / broadest audience being avoided.
      The correlation between MEANINGFULNESS & ATTRACTION cannot be challenged by adding a (surely diluting) sprint race. Impossible. Utterly impossible.
      Entirely unnecessary risk-taking to fiddle with a format invention (which did not work in other series / sports either)

      1. money distribution became more aligned, the other issues remain un-addressed

    11. To this day, the match where Pérez scored 2-1 and celebrated in front of Norris as an act of revenge for Norris’ stupid insult is the best thing to ever happen. KEEP INSULTING HIM, LANDO.

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