Grid, Circuit de Catalunya, 2020

Adapting cars for sprint race format “quite a challenge” – Green

2021 F1 season

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Aston Martin technical director Andrew Green says Formula 1 teams may have to make changes to how they run their cars if a sprint race format is introduced for some races this year.

A working group is developing regulations for a potential ‘Super Qualifying’ format at three rounds this year which would involve running an extra race on Saturdays.

“The first thing is we need a set of regulations and we haven’t got or seen a set of regulations yet around it,” Green explained. “We’ve seen a proposal, which I think most teams were in favour of examining, but the devil is in the detail and the detail hasn’t been thrashed out yet.”

Green pointed out that the cars are designed for the current format of three practice sessions, one qualifying session and a race. Adding a sprint race on Saturdays would therefore alter the demands on their parts, some of which are restricted, such as power units.

“There are lots of areas that need looking at,” he said. “You could think of quite a few off the top of your head, like the changing of the car between the events. How much are you allowed to change? Brakes, we will have to change the brakes.

“More importantly, what happens to the power unit allocation? We’re sort of locked in. The engines have been designed and dyno signed off for a certain type of season. And then to go away from that from a power unit perspective is going to be quite a challenge.

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“So there’s a lot to discuss, there’s a lot of details to sort out,” said Green. “There is a general willingness to make it happen but, like I said, the devil is in the detail here.”

F1 almost had Saturday sprint races 35 years ago – this time it probably will
Haas team principal Guenther Steiner is in favour of running sprint races as a trial in 2021. But he said the sport must be prepared to drop the change if it proves unpopular and not be “stubborn” about pressing ahead with the plan.

“I don’t think there’s a lot to be gained,” said Steiner. “I want to see how the fans react to it, that we are not putting too much show on. I don’t know that so I’m very open to try it, I have no issue with that.

“But I have also no issue if it doesn’t work to say, ‘no, we shouldn’t be doing this’. If we find out it doesn’t add anything, we shouldn’t be afraid to say ‘no’ and nobody loses any credibility, in my opinion. That’s how we should think of it.”

Steiner believes any changes which do need to be worked out will be minor.

“There is a few small things which need to be sorted out in the regulations but hopefully we can get them all ironed out and we do some of this so at least we know and we’re not keeping on talking about it.

“We put to the test. If the test works, fantastic. If it doesn’t work, we turn the page and try the next thing.”

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Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
Josh Holland
USA-based Josh joined the RaceFans team in 2018. Josh helps produce our Formula 1 race weekend coverage, assists with our social media activities and...

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  • 9 comments on “Adapting cars for sprint race format “quite a challenge” – Green”

    1. Absolutely fair comments above from Green and Steiner. Great feedback. Were it to become a regular every race weekend thing, then yeah I get how they would have to perhaps for example allow them a fourth pu without penalty for the whole season overall. And certainly costs will be going down for teams from the budget caps, and moneys will be more fairly distributed, so I would think something like a fourth pu allowance, which would potentially also give them less need for conservatism in general, could be very doable. They do want to invite more close racing, so why not an extra pu and gearbox allowance so they can all breath a little easier and let loose a bit more?

      1. Just wanted to add that I chuckled at Steiner’s last sentence, “If it doesn’t work, we turn the page and try the next thing.” Does he not know what a Pandora’s box he might have just opened up for some around here?;) What does he mean ‘the next thing’ lol. Please don’t tell us there’s a next thing;) Nooooooo!!!!

        1. A sprint race as qualifying is not attractive to me.
          But oddly I would be open to a model simliar to Supercars – every weekend has a given number of km to be raced, varying as 1, 2 or even 3 races per weekend. And sometimes the total number of km changes.
          Maybe some track would benefit from that.
          I wouldnt mind a 400-500km in Interlagos or Spa raced maybe in a single day.
          Barcelona, street tracks and other where nothing much can be changed on the track could benefit from running 300km in two or three races on the weekend.

          1. Personally I don’t like this, and I find the Supercars model difficult to follow. I like having a single race (a Grand Prix, if you will) at a set time which I can plan my day/evening around.

            I struggle to follow the Supercars because it’s always at different times and with young kids it’s nigh-on impossible to block out the time to watch it all live.

            Each to their own, but part of the reason I was able to get into F1 was the simplicity and consistency of the format.

        2. +1000.
          My hair got straight up on my head when I read this sentence. What else? The return off the sprinklers? Some big hula-hoop on fire for the cars to jump through? Rely? Some ramp on the apexes to make them take the turns on two wheels? More gimmicks coming through the pipe that we don’t know of yet ?

      2. @robbie as has been noted previously, whilst you suggest that “certainly costs will be going down for teams from the budget caps”, that is not necessarily going to be the case across the board.

        There have been some teams who have noted that, despite the cap, the planned changes to the calendar that Liberty Media are proposing are likely to push up operational costs – that longer calendar comes at a cost on a personal level and a financial level for those involved. Whilst some have commented about using more remote working, that only goes so far – you can’t, for example, change a rear damper via remote working…

        In the case of Haas, given we’re talking about Steiner’s comments, I would question whether the current structure of the cap really does anything to help them. Steiner has suggested that the technical rule changes being brought in as part of the cap mechanism are, at best, cost neutral and, at worst, might actually be pushing up costs for his team due to teams needing to produce more components in house.

      3. A fourth engine incl. all three components (ICE + MGU-K and the kers) for only sprintrace and FIA pays for that engine (atleast for this year) as this was something outside the agreements.

    2. Martin Elliott
      4th March 2021, 16:50

      As said it’s all in the detail.
      As said these are (prototype) cars designed and lifed for an event of 3 Practice (Test) sessions, qualifying and a <2 hour race.
      Test, simulated or real, is severly restricted, and reduced again this year in an attempt at handicapping. The Free practice which was more for testing than practice has been cut by 30%. Changes are strictly limited by Parc Ferme rules so as said, what necessary changes will be allowed from Quali to Sprint to Championship race.

      And then even more so – will there be WDC or WCC points and how many?? After all, fastest lap points really did bring excitement for ….. whom?

      1. You left out one question. Let me add it for you:

        Why?

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