Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Silverstone, 2021

Red Bull drivers doubtful over “risky” plan for F1 sprint races

2021 F1 season

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Red Bull’s drivers expressed doubts over Formula 1’s latest plan to introduce sprint races during the upcoming season.

A working group has been formed to decide the exact format for extra races which could take place at three rounds on the 2021 F1 calendar.

F1 drivers previously raised concerns over a similar proposal which included reversed grids. That aspect has been dropped from the latest version of the plan, though the precise details are yet to be finalised and approved.

Sergio Perez warned F1 has “got to be careful” it does not deviate too far from its traditional race weekend format.

“I think it’s a very thin line,” said Perez. “It’s a bit risky.

“I don’t know what to expect, really. How it will change the programme once we’ve done it, I don’t know. I think for me the most important thing is that Formula 1 remains with [its] DNA.”

Perez’s new team mate Max Verstappen expressed scepticism over whether F1 needs to adopt a sprint race format to improve the competition.

“It’s not necessarily about [having] more racing,” he said. “I quite like doing a one-and-a-half hour race because if we have good cars we can race closely and of course more teams are able to fight for victory, you don’t need sprint races.

“I think we don’t need to really mix it up that much, the whole programme. We don’t need to mix it up that much to see a fight for the win.”

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8 comments on “Red Bull drivers doubtful over “risky” plan for F1 sprint races”

  1. I’m still assuming that Liberty and Brawn aren’t thinking of this as ‘extra races’ which of course they inevitably are, but rather ‘exciting qualifying.’ Nothing gets changed for Sunday’s races. To me at least, they have only presented this as an experiment to see if there is a more exciting way to qualify, so since neither SP nor MV have talked about it above that way, perhaps Brawn needs to communicate this more clearly. I have yet to hear Brawn say they want to pack more races into a weekend just because, but of course there have been articles suggesting that is their motive. Until they say otherwise to me this is simply a potentially more exciting way to fight for pole for Sunday’s race than they currently do. I’ll keep an open mind though as I would be perfectly fine if they keep things status quo when all is said and done, but yeah I do think the one hour quali could be more exciting than it is.

  2. I have a feeling that it has everything to do with Sunday, everybody knows there is nothing wrong with the current qualifying format. The aim here is to tweak Saturday in order to somehow try to get somewhat less predictable Sunday. But then they are also talking about point for those sprint races, which is really strange…three races of the season awarding extra points for qualifying. Not to mention that this whole thing is shaping up to be a nightmare for statisticians!

    1. My guess is that it has everything to do with getting a younger audience who they believe have attention deficit. I suppose in order to get the ‘hip and happening’ brands to F1.

      But it will surely backfire as youngster don’t have much disposable income, and too much gimmickry will push away as much or more people as it will gain.

  3. Didn’t they say that the responses from the teams about sprint races were entirely positive. Doesn’t sound like it from this. As long as they don’t award points for the sprint races, I don’t really mind the idea (I would still prefer not to have it), because although I don’t think it would improve the show; I think it would make it worse, because the Sunday races would become less exciting, I guess there’s no harm in trying it, although if it is making things worse or even just making no difference, they have to accept that that’s what’s happening, and scrap it, and not pretend that it’s working and add more in 2022. If they award points, however, it would become like an extra Grand Prix, rather than a new qualifying format, and would devalue the Grand Prix, also messing up the history books. Please don’t award points for the sprint races, F1.

    1. @f1frog Consistent with my opinion on this all along, that being that this needs to be thought of as a ‘qualifying race’, not just ‘another race’ during the weekend, nor just ‘a sprint race,’ I agree wholeheartedly with you. They don’t award points now for qualifying, so why would they award anything more than pole and the rest of the grid order for qualifying if it was simply achieved through a sprint race? It is still qualifying. The winner wins pole. It needn’t be more complicated than that imho. I will be surprised, if they do go ahead with this experiment, that the teams will also agree to it being for points, and if they do I will be against that element of it. It would not make sense to me.

  4. Sprint races sound like a bloody stupid idea to me, there is not too much wrong with F1, have they not heard the expression, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!”

    1. indeed BUT liberty want cash so they want extra stuff (which they can sell) not for this experiment ofcourse but later.

      it is hard to sell just a 1 hour show on Saterday as pratice (FP1-3) is hard to sell. But if you have a sprint race and a qualify on the same day they can make it economic somehow.

  5. Some questions that I have not seen brought up about Sprint Races (Q-Sprints).
    – When will the cars effectively be in Parc Ferme.? Likely at the end of FP3 as it is now.
    This means minimal work (repairs only) after the Q-Sprint. If someone has a problem … tough.
    – Tyres. Can drivers select their choice of tyre for the Q-Sprint.? One would hope so.
    No time for a pit stop so one set for the 20 to 25 laps.
    – Do the Q-Sprint tyres come out of their race allotment. Likely they will. Still fewer tyres consumed than currently.
    – Without the need for the gimmicky current Q-2 Tyre start rule for the top 10, is there any remaining reason to retain
    the 2-compount in the race rule.? Hope not.
    It will be interesting to see how the rules are set up and more so, how the teams manage strategy to get best results. Will be fin to watch the first couple of times at least. A couple of processional Q-Sprints will get the chatter going.

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