Start, Red Bull Ring, 2020

F1 weighing “pros and cons” of awarding points for sprint races

2021 F1 season

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Formula 1 teams are considering whether championship points should be awarded for the three sprint races which could take place this year.

A working group has been set up to propose rules for sprint races which, if approved, would be held on Saturdays at the Canadian, Italian and Brazilian grand prix weekends.

Part of the discussion includes whether the races should award points to drivers, as is common practice in other series such as Formula 2.

“The points situation in a sprint race is one of those key parameters that needs to be agreed,” said Williams team principal Simon Roberts. “There’s pros and cons.”

If points are not awarded, teams fear drivers will have little incentive to race each other hard for position. However awarding points on anything close to the scale offered in the grand prix would diminish the significance of Sunday’s race.

F1 almost had Saturday sprint races 35 years ago – this time it probably will
“There’s some really, really good ideas on the table,” said Roberts. “We’ve modelled it, I guess all the teams have, you predict your performance and you model. There’s not really a huge amount in it for us either way. And I think that’s where you have to take a philosophical view of the sport and say what’s the right thing to do to maintain the spirit of what Formula 1 racing is all about?

“The grand prix as a race is really, really important. So it’s getting that balance right, making the sprint race exciting, giving the drivers something to fight for. You want people fighting all the way down. You don’t want people giving up because there’s no points available.

“But on the other hand, that’s not the premier race. The premier race is on the Sunday, we’ve got to maintain that spirit. So I don’t know the answer, unfortunately. But that’s one of the things that’s been discussed, there’s some pretty wise people looking at that. So I’m sure we’ll sort it out.”

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Roberts said Williams is “broadly supportive of the idea of trying something” like introducing sprint races, as they believe the competitive order is likely to change little in the upcoming season.

The 2021 F1 season “is going to be a strange year,” he said. “We’re all running carry-over cars. So fundamentally, we’re not expecting massive shifts in the pecking order. So let’s try something.

“But there’s a lot of detail being discussed in the background. The idea’s cool, the concept’s easy, but then in the detail, how do you actually [run] the weekend – how do you do tyres, what can you do, what can’t you do – that’s still in negotiation.”

Another aspect of the rules surrounding sprint races which needs to be resolved concerns the ‘parc ferme’ restrictions which govern when teams can and cannot adjust their cars’ set-ups.

Roberts said the general concept of sprint races was “well-supported” but “as soon as you get into the detail of ‘when does parc ferme start?’, ‘what does parc ferme really mean?’, everyone’s got a slightly different interpretation and trying to do different things.

“But I’m pretty sure we’ll get to a sensible and workable set of rules and we’ll try it and we’ll see. I think it’s been done in a very open-minded way: Let’s try it and if it doesn’t work, then we’ll do something else or whatever. It’s good that the sport’s even thinking about these things.”

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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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104 comments on “F1 weighing “pros and cons” of awarding points for sprint races”

  1. Here we go…

    1. @fer-no65 Let’s see how they try to get the balance right, but it will surely be difficult.

      This feels like there will only be dissatisfaction among the fans, no matter which way they go. Offer too many points for sprint races and that diminishes the value of the Grand Prix on Sunday. Don’t offer enough points or not far enough down the field, and then the drivers won’t bother to battle eachother and sprint races become relatively meaningless. I really don’t know how they will strike the right trade off.

      1. @tomcat173 The F1 expert panel has found the solution and it is surprisingly simple, offer 8 to 1 point with one point increment for odd positions only, from 1st to 15th. This ensures fight all across the field. Watch F1 as you have never seen before!

        Please delete this message after Racefans readers have seen it, this might actually by considered.

        1. Too late! Someone will have seen it already and thinks it s a great idea

      2. petebaldwin (@)
        8th March 2021, 10:32

        I don’t think there is a way of striking a good balance as it’s generally, not a good idea in the first place. F1 has always been about the Sunday race – that’s all that truly matters. Practice helps you set your car up for the race and qualifying decides where you will start for the race but ultimately, the race is all that matters.

        You either keep that structure which means the race stays as an important, special event or you dilute that by making other parts of the weekend equally as important. They can’t have it both ways.

        1. @petebaldwin This smacks a bit of Bernie’s double-points-at-the-last-race idea. Its there to “make things more exciting”, but no one actually wants the bonus points to be decisive in the final result.

          1. @tomcat173 more like . . . medals, lets give them medals :)

          2. @ahxshades – I actually think that giving the drivers medals and throphies for at least the 3 races they want to test this would be a good idea!

            If they “just want to test this” then surely we should not mess up the championship standings for it, right?

        2. @petebaldwin I think you can have it both ways. You can have a more exciting way to qualify, thus determining a pole sitter and the rest of the grid order, and then you can have the Sunday race as usual. I simply wouldn’t award points for whatever method they use to qualify, just a pole winner and the rest of the grid order.

  2. There has to be a point of the race

    1. If they don’t award any points, then the sprint race will effectively be the first part of the actual race. If you pass two cars in the sprint race, that’s two less cars you have to pass in the actual race. So there’s still a purpose to the race, very much so in fact. That being said, I think they should award points anyway.

  3. WHY do we need additional races to the TWENTY-THREE that we will already have? It’s already diluted as it is, please don’t do any more damage…

    1. @hunocsi Having an additional shorter Saturday race on three weekends wouldn’t, of course, make a difference to the overall number of race weekends.

      1. Nor to the Sunday GP at each of those events.

      2. Nobody mentioned weekends, but races.

  4. Historically F1 has always shied away from awarding points for qualifying on the basis that it is considered undesirable to have the championship decided on a Saturday.

    If that still holds true then they need to be careful about awarding points for sprint races. Although there are three races to go after Brazil, it’s not inconceivable that the title could be wrapped up there. And if sprint races are deemed a success and rolled out more widely from 2022 onwards, then obviously the risk of having the championship decided at a sprint race increases.

    I think the best solution, considering all the pros and cons, would be to put the sprint race plan into a bin and then set the bin on fire.

    1. @red-andy
      …. and then bury the ashes of that bin in a secret location so that nobody ever finds them again.
      Just to be sure.

      1. I suggest sticking them with the shredded remains of Senna’s FW16. Just gotta get Frank on board to disclose the location.

    2. Considering the Mercedes domination of the hybrid era, I don’t think it matters when the championship ends over the course of the season. People are simply too obsessed with the status quo when in fact F1 has been mostly boring to watch in comparison to something like MotoGP.

      I am quite in favour of sprint races with points as I don’t think it does anything that is sacrilegious. The talk of F1 “DNA” has been the most cringeworthy over the years as it is an evolving sport. But then it is not much of a sport as an engineering challenge which in turn is a financial challenge.

  5. I strongly prefer they stay away from points.
    Whereas I support trying a sprint race for qualifying, I think there should only be one race and one race winner during the weekend.

    And even the name should refer more to qualifying than to a race; hence my support of the undoubtedly popular Quali McQualirace.

    The reason they give to consider points (“ If points are not awarded, teams fear drivers will have little incentive to race each other hard for position.”) is exactly the reason they should NOT award points.
    It’s a test; if drivers don’t deem a higher grid position as enough reason then IMO the test fails.
    But I expect these guys are real racers and will fight for every position.

    PS one of the minor issues I see is that at some circuits it’s much better to start from the clean side. A quali race might then at the end become a race to lose a position.

    1. @coldfly Agreed and well said. Not sure if I go along with your suggestion of ‘a race to lose a position’ though, in the sense that if a bloke in the usual format would prefer to sandbag for second on the front row they can do that and have done so I think, just as they will go out on tires and do a run only to abort the run so they can start the race on a preferred set of tires.

      But if it was a sprint qualifier I would think it would be a little more difficult to sandbag oneself into second place, while the guy(s) trailing who is/are vying for pole might also try the same tactic, and the next thing you know…what?…the top runners all slow down while playing chess with each other, and others just come up on them and pass them saying to themselves, heck, they don’t want it? ok I’ll take my chances on the dirty side then if it means a front row seat, thank you very much. No I think overwhelmingly most drivers would rather take their chances on the dirty side than be ‘happy’ to take second like that is some guarantee of being a better spot. It also puts them that many metres behind, and more amongst the third and fourth place cars, more vulnerable if one of those really nails his start. Not saying what you are suggesting is not a thing, but I think it is quite rare.

      I like the sentiment you portray in saying that if the drivers don’t deem a higher grid position as incentive enough then the test fails, and at the same time yeah I cannot think for the life of me why a sprint qualifier would be any different than the existing format in terms of a drivers motivation to want to start Sunday’s race as high up on the grid as possible. And as you say they are real racers, and not only that they also have a duty and a responsibility to the team and it’s sponsors to fight for every position.

      But yeah, No points please, pole and the rest of the grid order, as usual, is incentive enough.

      1. What about the case where a driver is looking at a grid spot on the “dirty” side. With a bit of planning, he could do the last 3 laps of the sprint race on that line and potentially clean up that side a bit. Even get the no. 2 to do the same.

    2. The reason they give to consider points (“ If points are not awarded, teams fear drivers will have little incentive to race each other hard for position.”) is exactly the reason they should NOT award points.
      It’s a test; if drivers don’t deem a higher grid position as enough reason then IMO the test fails.
      But I expect these guys are real racers and will fight for every position.

      That indeed is an exceptionally strong argument against points for these @coldfly

      1. @bascb @coldfly As I posed the question to @alloythere below…Can it be said then that currently the drivers are disincentivized to qualify as high up on the grid as possible, because it does not award points?

        1. @robbie I don’t really subscribe to that argument, because the risks of going wheel to wheel with other cars and fighting hard for position are much greater than the risk of driving a flying lap as fast as you can. Also, in the current qualifying format even a crash in qualifying usually doesn’t cost as much, since at worst it would make you bottom of your qualifying group (Q1, Q2, or Q3) but not lose a potential front row start and end up with a back row start. And if you get a banker lap in first then as long as you don’t damage crucial components it might cost you nothing at all.

          1. @keithedin I think that is a fair point, and I’m sure something they’ll consider in this. Certainly I think it shouldn’t matter in terms of the points or not argument, as to how much risk they are willing to take at least wrt wanting to qualify as high up as possible, but perhaps yeah, if points are on offer they might be willing to take more risks. Still think the winner should just be the pole winner though.

            As to risks of the flying lap format vs a sprint qualifier, perhaps one could argue with more risk comes more excitement, and is why they are asking the question as to whether or not there might be a more exciting way to qualify. It would certainly be more exciting if there were more risk, but then I think the drivers would police themselves as to how much risk they would be willing to take vs the potential negative cost. There is still a risk to doing a flying lap as fast as you can, so it is not like they aren’t already aware of going over the edge of adhesion to the track, and the results of that can be any number of degrees of severity whether they are alone on track or amongst others. If they see some ‘safety net’ in risking crashing but that only sending them down to 10th, perhaps that adds some excitement that we don’t really appreciate? Not sure. I’m sure it’s never ideal to crash.

            Personally I am enthralled mainly for the last few minutes of the last session and find the bulk of the hour is spent watching drivers sitting in their cars in their garages, so I do think there could be a more exciting way, and yet would happily accept if they don’t change anything when all is said and done.

        2. No, it is because qualifying 7-10 is usually a disadvantage vs 11-13 due to the free tire choice. There were some notable races the 7-10 qualified got nowhere in the race. Iirc Spa 2019 was an excellent example of this proces.

  6. The season starts this week (I’m classing Testing as the season start) – and still nobody knows how sprint races are going to work because the rules aren’t yet known.

    When you love a sport so much, you can’t help but feel personally upset/annoyed/anxious when arbitrary changes seem to be introduced which may or may not spice up the show, but risks diminishing the “sport” aspect.

    The new regulations will stir up the soup next year and we’ll see how everything settles, the budget cap will help to reduce the gaps between teams. Measures are already in place to tackle the grid performance gaps, whether they work or not we don’t know yet – but give them a chance before turning Formula 1 into Mario Kart.

    1. Exactly this. Why not push for these qualifying races once the new regulations are proven to have not worked and there are still many years to go before a new set of regulation changes are due to be implemented.

      You logic in the above comment should be awarded COTD

    2. They’ve been tap dancing for an entire year and now you’re anxious about it?
      And well before that they’ve been successful in endeavours to get actual consensus from the teams on quite thorny issues – as opposed to the previous regime of a disinformation & a long political campaign followed by a paid for gerrymander. Teams at the point of stamping their collective will on fine details for the first trial is a good thing in my book.

    3. Except that before new technical regulations/cars are introduced next year, there is this year – which, without any changes to the cars, will result very much in the same thing as last year.
      So this is exactly the best time to trial things to learn how they work or even if they work.

      Trialling something this year does not automatically mean introduction next year.

      1. But trialing something this year may affect the championship this year and it would be wrong if someone was cheated due to trialing a new system that backfired. Lets say hypothetically speaking a backmarker constructor snatched a point through a unintended consequence of the trial that resulted in them finishing above another constructor, that could have very large scale consequences on prize money.

        There is no such thing as a throw away year in the championship for most fans.

        1. @slowmo That’s racing, as they say.

          When do you propose that F1 actually investigate ways to improve then? Obviously they aren’t going to run non-championship events ever again, so that only leaves championships, right?
          And if there is one that is most suitable, is it not the year of an effective technical freeze? Before a major technical shake-up?
          I think we’d both agree that 2022 isn’t the right year to try it….

          1. Maybe after they’ve seen the results of the 2022 season and if they’ve failed to close the field or improve the show then talk to everyone about adding lots of changes to the format. The 2022 rules are the technical regulations they’ve been promising to deliver since they took over the sport to close up the field so we could just wait and see what they deliver and decide at that point if we really need to mess with a format that as largely worked for a decade.

  7. Every pillar of Formula One history must be knocked down to facilitate expanding the advertising platform. Thanks, Liberty Media. #ForTheFans

  8. Award the points, but keep it seperate from the Drivers’ and Constructors’ Championships. Call it the Qualifiers Cup.

    1. We had a qualifying trophy in the past.
      I recall Rosberg picking it up at Bernie’s office.

    2. What about historical pole position records? Will pole position be whoever is 1st on Friday or is the winner of the sprint race pole position as they will start the Sunday race on pole?

      1. markp, pole position has (almost) always been the one who starts from pole on Sunday.
        Independent how they got to that position. It could either be: the fastest during (the last part of) Saturday (or Sunday) qualifying; fastest over 2 laps on different days; promotion due to a penalty of the guy ahead of you; or even (theoretically) the fastest during free practice.

        1. Thanks, however as this kind of format is unprecedented I wondered if the same would hold true, so much tradition will be torched by this format I had not seen any confirmation on this. Also you can qualify on pole and not start the race 1st like Schumacher in Monaco a few years back, grid penalties from previous races or gearbox/engine changes are considered a race penalty not a qualifying penalty so Schumacher was awarded pole even though he actually started the race further back?

  9. I’m going to beat the same drum once again, but this is why Reverse Grid Qualifying Races worked – everyone had something to fight for that wasn’t points!

    1. Bingo.

      But we can’t have racing on the track in F1. That upsets people…

  10. Why not, for example, award points the same way F1 did from 2003 to 2009?

  11. I simply cannot believe that this obviously terrible idea is not only continuing, but getting worse.

    The basic idea dilutes the importance of a Grand Prix, and now they want to dilute further by awarding points.

    As a poster above said, we already have way too many race weekends (16 was enough; we are now on 23). If this idea became permanent that would be c. 46 race starts a year. Utterly ridiculous. F1 is not the lower formulae. It is supposed to be the motorsport pinnacle, where a race win really means something. This is watering down, pure and simple.

    One of the major draws of Saturday is its distinction to Sunday- the fastest point of the weekend in the pole position run. If Sunday is about racing, Saturday is about speed.

    If I had my way, qualifying would revert to the one hour, 12 lap, session. There was something magic about taking in the track and surroundings in the first 20 minutes, courtesy of a few minnow runs, and then the busy final half-an-hour.

    Second to that would be single lap runs- pure pressure, and each team and driver got equal exposure. Championship leader goes first.

    Third to that would be the current system.

    1. @alloythere No ‘they’ do not want to dilute the Grand Prix further by awarding points. The article above indicates they want to discuss the pros and cons of that, regarding a trial at 3 events, that seems like it might go ahead. A trial.

      The suggestion in the article is that a pro for points might be to incentivize drivers to not just stand pat and accept the position they’re in as their race starting position, and not race it out in the sprint qualifier on Saturday. And I can’t see why anything would change, just because the format would be different, in a drivers incentive to want to start the race from as high up on the grid as possible, for they are racers and that is their duty and responsibly to their team and it’s sponsors, not to mention the millions of fans. It is like saying that currently the drivers do not try to time-trial their way, with their solo runs as it is now, to qualify as high up on the grid, because there are no points for that.

      I think you, not ‘they’ are trying to make this sound worse, by leaping from it being 23 race weekends, but even throwing out the number 16 as your preference, to then 46, like that is somehow to represent 46 race weekends. If you are going to compare one qualifying format to an other, let’s be honest that we are not leaping from 23 race weekends (16 better to you) to suddenly 46 races, while disingenuously making an apples to oranges comparison of ‘weekends’ to ‘races.’

      But here you are, preferring two other methods before placing the current system as third? Gee, and then you wonder why they are simply asking the question as to whether or not there might be a more exciting way to qualify? LOL.

      1. “They– being whoever are pushing this idea to be tried- may not want to cause dilution, but that is surely going to be a result of all of this.

        Regarding a trial: my view is that not every idea merits a trial. This idea obviously has major drawbacks, such that it should be shelved.

        Regarding a pro for points, I entirely see the logic of what you are saying. However, in my opinion the pro is heavily outweighed by the con of further dilution.

        I am not simply trying to make this sound worse. The reality is that a race, whether on Saturday or Sunday, and whatever it is called, will still have a formation lap, start, first corner, chequered flag, etc- all of the key things that make up a Grand Prix. The more you have of, for example, race starts, the less significant the race start in the race proper will seem. It seems to me to be a simple inevitability, rather than a spin on a subject.

        As to your final paragraph, I have no issue with the fact of the idea. It’s the quality of the idea that is in issue. It’s like being back with Bernie and some of the trials that he forced through- e.g. double points. Obviously not a good idea, and one that should have been shelved at birth. Like this one.

      2. @alloythere Fair enough, we continue to agree to disagree. Personally I sense, for myself, no dilution, and Sunday’s race will still be Sunday’s race, done with the stints and pits stops and tire and fuel and team strategies that will still exist, with the starting grid having been formed during qualifying on Saturday. A starting grid that will more often than not retain pretty much the usual predictable order that we become accustomed to once the season settles in and we get to see generally where the teams/cars belong amongst each other performance wise, barring the variety that can come from inclement weather during all or part of the weekend.

        1. Enjoyable arguing the toss with you- thanks for the considered replies.

          1. @alloythere Thank you and same to you.

  12. I would prefer no points awarded but how about the single point for fastest lap is only awarded in the sprint race rather than the main race. This would give some motive to push without devaluing the main race.

  13. With a bit of luck the whole idea of sprint/qualifying races on a Saturday will fall into a heap as the issues of parc ferme additional costs E.G. first corner pile up. And the distinct possibility of fans opting for one race over the other due to costs or time constraints.

    1. One more thing has the F1 Fan Voice site run a survey about this extra race, I’ve been a bit busy lately I looked today but couldn’t see one, did I miss it?

      1. Nothing recently – not since reverse grids were still on the table.

      2. @johnrkh They have included questions about sprint races in the past & as I pointed out at the time they had the questions worked in such a way that you couldn’t outright say you didn’t like the idea with all follow up questions based off the assumption you were in favour of the idea.

        It’s been well over a year now but from memory rather than asking what you thought about sprint races they instead asked how likely you would be to watch a sprint race with the following few questions been things like if a sprint race should have points awarded, If it should feature a reverse grid, If they should have special sprint race tyres featuring much higher degredation & things like that.

        I said at the time that I felt like i’d just been pushed towards telling them I wanted a sprint race even though I was totally against the idea & due to that & other survey’s I did on the site often feeling a bit setup to get the answers they were looking for i’ve not bothered doing any more since.

    2. This has been one of my fears/issues with the proposed qualifying races.

      Surely they could have worked out the complete details BEFORE running it up the flagpole. So far all I see agreed is a half baked idea.

      Hopefully the teams will block it and bin it if the detail is not to their liking.

      1. @dbradock I find it refreshing vs the BE era, that all teams are having a chance to give their input on this so that they are all on board with doing it, and how to do it, as much as possible. To me, working out the complete details before running it up the flagpole is exactly how under the BE era things were tried only to have to be reversed. It is more dictatorial and less inclusive to do it as you are suggesting, imho. Ie. there is another option to blocking it and binning it if the detail is not to their liking, and that is to help shape it until it is to their liking, which is what seems to be going on, as they certainly seem receptive to shaping it, and obviously haven’t blocked it outright like they have done with the reverse grids concept. Enough people within F1 seem to be far more on board with this trial, than they obviously were on reverse grids, and I find that fascinating to consider they must think indeed there may be a more exciting way to qualify.

        1. Sorry @Robbie but what the heck does BE (who hasn’t had anything to do with running things for nearly 4 years now) got to do with anything.

          In this particular case I’m saying that it would have been a relatively simple matter to put all of the detail together before proceeding to get a vote on it.

          You’ve consistently said yourself “that it’s just a new way of qualifying” but once points get added, it is very definitely not.

          I also find their reasoning a bit strange. Drivers, or most of them, seem incapable of not wanting to win a race if it’s possible regardless of whether or not theirs points on offer. It’s just one of those things that makes up a driver.

          I’ll round off with a just because it’s no longer BE doesn’t always mean that it’s a good thing, This one “might” be but detail should have been worked out first.

          1. @dbradock Oh I just meant that I like how Liberty and Brawn have included the teams in much of the process all along starting from when they took over from BE, who particularly over his last 10 years with CVC was strictly interested in money and gave the power to the top four teams. I just feel that there would have been less inclusion under BE and that some of the teams might have been left somehow disadvantaged in favour of the top teams in the concept of this trial.

            No I absolutely agree that just because it isn’t BE does not necessarily make it a good thing, but it’s just that for me the chances of them sorting something reasonable and exciting, which I also hope does not include points, is greater the way Liberty does it, by getting everyone’s feedback, good and bad, and leaving all the teams knowing they have at least had their input heard. I’d simply rather the details be worked out by them all collectively rather than just by Liberty or Brawn. I think that way all angles, good and bad, can be revealed ahead of time so that they will be voting on something more ‘complete’ shall we say, leaving no surprises and no upset teams feeling they didn’t have their say and were left out of the process. That wouldn’t bode as well, I think, for this entity that is hoping to attract new entrants, as just one example of how teams need to be included…all teams.

            A ‘simple matter?’ No I don’t think so when it comes to issues around parc ferme and how that would look over the three days, extra tires needed, and extra component usage adding to the reality of their need to conserve those or be penalized. They’ll need extra fuel allowance as well. None of this impossible to sort of course, but naturally all of it causing teams to have questions and who can make suggestions as to how to make it all work. What fascinates me too is that they seem to want to.

  14. The further down this rabbithole they go, the more I get the impression that they somehow know that Brawn’s new technical regulations aren’t even coming close to giving the desired effect.

    Why else would they be messing about so much with gimmicks?

    1. Have you ever had a job in a company with enough employees to have people who count as senior management? If you have, have you ever known any of them manage to go more than six months at a time without trying to tinker with something which is working perfectly well?

      This is the same thing.

  15. ‘Let’s ‘discuss’ sprint races and points, before we do as we planned all along’

  16. No need for points. Drivers who like winning will race hard because that’s what they do in any situation. The others will drive ‘sensibly’ still as always, and usually not win, whether there are any points in it or not. Fill your own names in, but we basically know who both types are.

    1. I’d say hamilton, verstappen, leclerc, alonso, perez, russel, ricciardo, sainz at least would be in the first category, there could be more.

  17. I honestly don’t get this whole argument about sprint races diluting the GP.
    The GP is the GP, no matter what else they do on the track that weekend. The only way it could be diluted is to have a better race before the Sunday GP – and they often do already… It’s called Formula 2 and Formula 3. After them, the F1 ‘race’ is usually quite a let down, and a sad way to end a reasonable race meeting.

    A sprint race that awards points is something to fight for. A sprint race that merely sets a starting grid for a 300km endurance race is far less worth fighting for when car performance and strategy during the race is far more important than starting position.

    And of course, if you don’t want to watch it – don’t.

    1. To reverse your sentiment, if you don’t like F1 as it is then of course, don’t watch it. Plenty of other series you can go watch.

      1. I do – and by comparison to other series I watch, F1 is dull. It has gotten progressively more dull over the last 30+ years I’ve been watching, generally speaking, as the technical diversity has reduced, and the unrelated ‘fixes’ they’ve been successively introducing have unsurprisingly still not improved F1. It’s not a car racing series anymore – it’s a marketing show for manufacturers.
        Unless 2022 brings miracles, and/or they deliver good news for the next engine regs (ie allowing multiple types) I will inevitably decide F1 is no longer for me, once and for all.

        1. Sprint races, reverse grids and the like are not considered as sustainable answers to the issues the sport has for a large part of the fanbase. Sure a reverse grid might be exciting for a few races and produce some new winners but eventually it’ll get boring and everyone will complain that the performance between cars is not fair and the racing is artificial. This is why people are against any gimmicks being added until the new regulations are at least tried.

          There is plenty of technical diversity in the sport, its just less obvious as most of the teams find the most optimal solutions thanks to more advanced technoloy such as CAD and modelling. Reducing the wind tunnel time and limiting the amount of computing simulation in future are all working towards reducing the advantages of rich teams to brute force their way to the front.

          Long term fans of the sport are fed up of seeing poorly thought out solutions introduced that eventually get pulled years later after they’ve done nothing but harm the racing. See grooved tyres, thinner car widths, one lap qualifying, DRS, the 2009 high rear wings and oversized front wings. There are plenty of other examples too but I think we all want the same result but disagree on the path to getting there.

  18. Eeerrrr.. Apart from 2 races, Mercedes picked up all pole positions. Hamilton twice as many as Bottas.
    Points for ‘quali’ will just mean Hamilton will be champion sooner?

    1. actually, it is more fair to look at race results.. But that just makes it even worse

  19. The writing is on the wall unfortunately. Its a shame that F1 hasn’t done a case study in what has destroyed Nascar’s viewership/popularity over the last 10 years. It is a slippery slope, F1 needs to tread very carefully. I get that they are trying to get more of the younger viewership, you know, the ‘5 second attention span’ generation, that spend their lives buried in their phones, but this is not going to be the way to go about it. There are already too many races, this is going to dilute the product even more. Next they will be giving out trophies to whoever finishes the races, and small ones for those that DNF/DNS. Whats next…. fan boost? Bonus point to the favourite driver of the best tiktok submission?? Qualifying, in its current format is fine, its probably the best version we have ever had in regards to excitement, the reason it appears to be broken is because the competitiveness between the best team and the rest of the grid is broken, and has been since 2014. Fix that and the excitement/edge of the seat stuff will return in dumper truck loads!

    1. This is not about trying to improve the event, that is propaganda. They are merely trying to find a way to expand their advertising platform without hurting AMG-Mercedes’ soon-to-be 8 year long dominance over Formula One.

    2. This is largely the cause of a lot of dismay in my opinion, fans are fed up of Mercedes domination and seem to think any change will be better than nothing. This is largely how we ended up with brexit and Trump as president of the US. Voting for anything to change rather than voting for what will fix the actual issues people face. I’m sure some people think both of those items were a success and I don’t want to turn this political arguing on those merits, merely highlight the lack of understanding on both sides to the others viewpoints.

      If you want to “fix” F1 then the only answer is to equalize car performance in some manner, preferably while not losing the DNA of F1. The budget cap seems a good step towards this along with a big rule change around the same time. 2012 proved that lottery results are not what people want, 2010 is more what people crave, 5 drivers and 3 manufacturers pushing for a title into the last few races. That was possible because the car performances were closer at that time and it didn’t need gimmicky tyres or changes to the race weekends to achieve it.

  20. I don’t understand why they don’t try something similar to the Formula E qualifying:

    Make them do their qualifying run in reverse championship order instead of Q1 and then make something like a Q3 with the top 10 as it is now.
    It would be a way of diminishing returns for the top drivers because the track will be less grippy, but not in such a massive way as a reverse grid sprint race would be.

    To me it seems like that would tick all their boxes: It makes the drivers be able to do only one lap in Q1, so it would make this one lap more important and exciting to watch. It spices things up, is more interesting to watch and gives you the opportunity to watch every driver do a lap, and so give them more screentime.
    You could then even experiment a little bit with how you do the Q3, with maybe a little sprint race for the top 10 and one for the bottom 10.

    They could then even slap some superlatives at it by calling it a ‘super duper important mega qualifying’ or whatever their American marketing department might come up with.

    I’m quite curious if you think this would be a good idea.

    1. @stijner Personally I think that Formula E’s qualifying format is one of the worst i’ve ever seen.

      I think the problem with most of the proposed changes to qualifying is the belief that qualifying should be used to either ‘catch people out’ or ‘spice things up’.

      For me that isn’t what the purpose of qualifying should be. The goal shouldn’t be to disadvantage the top drivers by having them qualify on a less grippy track, It shouldn’t be about only giving them a single lap in the hope somebody messes up & it shouldn’t be about trying to mix up the grid.

      For me the purpose of qualifying should be what it was pre-2003 with the old 1 hour format & what it is currently. Around one hour with multiple cars on track where drivers get multiple laps on low fuel to determine what the fastest combination is that weekend to decide the grid order based off pure pace.

      Single lap formats always tend to fall flat and be quite dull to watch. F1 tried it for 3 years, Hardly anybody liked it because it just didn’t work for various reasons.

  21. So basically just a thin end of the wedge for them to make other changes that a minority want yet again. What a surprise. Maybe once they drive away the historic fans of the franchise they’ll learn what made F1 special is the long running history and when they’ve lost that, what you’re left with is a gimmicky racing series hoping for relevancy ala A1GP and Formula E.

    I’m past arguing about this stuff now if the people running the sport are really this stupid that they’re making all these
    decisions before they’ve even been properly debated and assessed the proposed changes. Most people agreed to the sprint race changes as the whole point was it was trialing the format, to start adding points to the process to further potentially affect the championship is not what everyone thought they were signing up for.

    How about you have the trials first, assess the result and then decide if in future the proposal is to add them to all races whether points or other changes are applied. The sprint race should be tested in isolation to ascertain if it will benefit the race weekends. If you start adding points and other gimmicks then they will be used to judge the trial too and may end up causing the sprint races to be rejected for other reasons.

    I mean if you add sprint race points then what happens in the hypothetical situation of a wet race that starts under yellow flags and never goes green? Would that be a successful result and would the person in the lead deserve points for that? As the fastest lap bonus point proved, there is always unintended consequences for adding things to F1. In that case the intention was to stop the teams cruising around tyre managing all race. What it actually delivered instead is either the last of the front runners take a free stop for a easy bonus point or they all run around for 20 laps, tyre saving, and then sprint for 1 or 2 laps at the end to try and snatch the point.

    I do hope they decide to abandon this for this year and lets focus on trialing the sprint race properly and fairly and see if it does benefit the weekend or not. A lot of people have been asking for a sprint race (albeit reversed for some) for a long time, lets see it tested fairly and without the potential of being overshadowed by other changes.

  22. JR Love (@dermechaniker)
    8th March 2021, 11:40

    There are some very thoughtful comments here, with ideas that I hope are being considered by those in charge of sorting this out.

  23. I wonder: how many, and who, of those with a voice in F1 decision making read sites and, comments, like the above?

  24. Why not score the sprint races like the classic points system we all grew up with. 10 pts for a win and so on for the first 6 places. That feels about right in terms of what they should be worth ha the full 25 for the main event. Reducing pts scoring positions also ratchets up the tension and demands drivers take more risks. Just coming halfway down the pecking order won’t get you a point anymore so the entire pack will take more risks. The whole point of these races is to be frenetic and fun after all.

    1. My phone managed to delete a chunk of a sentence there, sorry, but you get the idea. The ads on this site are a riot btw. Just had to rewrite this comment as the page reloaded as I was typing to load up more ads!

      1. This looks like it’s a problem only on a phone (which I don’t have, so no idea), or because of you not having an account, I get no issue like it even if I’m not on a subscription.

  25. I don’t like the idea of points on Saturday at all.

    But if we had a regular Q1, that gave the starting positions for a Q2 sprint race, with the top ten proceeding to a Q3 shoot out could work

  26. Just goes to prove that they don’t know what they are doing because those running the sport don’t care about the sport or it’s fans.

    It’s change been brought in purely for financial reasons so they can wring more cash out of promoters, broadcasters & no doubt fans as tickets are bound to go up for Saturdays that have this gimmicky race.

    Americans love gimmicks & this is yet another one that will drag the SPORT down because clearly nobody has learnt anything from what going down the artificial gimmick entertainment route did to nascar which has haemorrhaged fans since the gimmick era started with there only answer to the decline been to throw more gimmicks at it therefore losing more fans.

    We’ll see how few fans & how irrelevant F1 is in 5-10 years as the gimmicks drive everyone away just as nascar’s did.

    1. @roger-ayles I continue to disagree with your stance, and have asked you before to list the gimmicks that so worry you, that Liberty have brought in, and would just add that I’m sure you are aware that audience had already started to fall away from Nascar, I think in no small way after Big E died, but for other reasons that have affected all racing series globally. And yeah, then they started to bring in gimmicks to try to help the situation (not debating here whether they have or not and to what degree), but I think it is disingenuous to suggest that it was gimmicks first, and then the audience fell away.

  27. I agree with a lot of the sentiment in teh comments above, I’m an old school fan of the 90s and early 2000s, I too feel there is no point in a sprint race if its not a reverse grid, why then waste extra time, fuel and resources on something that might slightly change the pecking order and have teams risk Sunday. Maybe if the teams just trialled reverse grid sprint races last year we could have at least assessed the results. I think no matter what you do the real problem is still Mercedes Domination, so until next year, any format might not bring the best results. Even though I’m not for reverse grids at least it makes sense if you want to “spice” things up.

  28. No points system for sprint races. That’s it.

  29. With the basic sprint race format they’re proposing there are going to be drawbacks whether they award points or not. If they award points then it dilutes the importance and prestige of the main race, which they’ve already said is something they are keen to avoid.

    But if they don’t award points, I predict the sprint races will be fairly processional, as drivers will have to weigh the potential reward of gaining one or two grid positions against the risk of making making pass. So I think after the first lap in that scenario, most drivers will he content to consolidate their position – apart from faster cars who are out of position and can make routine DRS passes to recover to their usual grid spot.

    As much as it is heresy to even suggest it, at least I understood the point of the reverse grid races as it would provide a different race scenario where faster cars had to make their way up the field while battling with each other at the same time. The standard sprint race seems like it just dilutes the entertainment and the stakes of both qualifying and main race events, without adding anything we haven’t seen before.

  30. If they award points, it would devalue the Grand Prix, so they should not award points. It’s as simple as that.

  31. Firstly I am not convinced they should award points at all. Maybe one point for the winner. However, with the current generation of cars it is only really likely to make Hamilton champion at bit earlier.

    Maybe an alternative idea, if they must award points, is to award a limited number of points in the kind of way qualifying usually works. So maybe 1 pt for positions 15th to 11th in the race, then 2 points for 10th to 6 and 3 points for 5th to 1st. It will still give the less fast teams something to aim for and although it could be argued that the top teams won’t go for a win, they probably will as they will want to be as high up the final grid as possible.

    With bands like this though it might mean that the top teams would not gain too much advantage by winning the sprint race as all of the top 5 would receive the same points, etc.

    Only an idea of course.

    1. @phil-f1-21 Pretty good idea but I reckon it still rewards the leading teams just for being leading teams as they are bound to have more cars in the highest positions.

      My suggestion is to award points to the cars advancing most from grid to finish position, i.e. the 6 highest amongst places gained will get 6, then 5, 4, 3, 2, 1. In any tie situation the first to make the place advances will be ranked above and so on.

      Best reward for top guns is still pole or 1st/2nd row start on Sunday for the truly big points so they’ll race balls out without worrying about the small points on offer. This method is more about keeping the mid field engaged in the fight.

      I feel this could also aid out of place top runners who have any mishap in Friday Quali so will pacify big teams’ but have minimal effect on WDC, whilst ensuring racing throughout the field in the Sprint race.

  32. They should award tokens, not points.

    1. Coventry Climax
      9th March 2021, 1:27

      So the faster you are, the more you get to develop further? That seems to me to be the fastest way to create a fixed grid, race result and championship order, year after year.

  33. Going back to the earliest known code was drafted in 1744 for the Laws of Cricket. Way before F1 started, these laws should be applied now. Watch the stumps, no leg before wicket, bat or ball sizes, etc. So, there…

  34. Sprint races are unneeded as it stands, giving out points for them would be even more unneeded. It can’t be said enough that the whole concept is a solution to a problem that doesn’t exist.

  35. Maybe as part of these weekends we should retire the concept of Parc Ferme… We have a budget cap and restrictions on staff and engines, so let’s relax this rule and let the teams do what they want mechanically all weekend.

  36. As I see it, there are three options:

    1) Award additional points for the sprint race and Mercedes wrap up the championship even sooner.

    2) Redistribute the points but keep the overall weekend total the same, in the process diminishing the value of the GP.

    3) Award no points and you’re essentially just starting a 33% longer Grand Prix on the Saturday, red flagging it after quarter-distance and restarting it on the Sunday, which just seems utterly pointless.

    Qualifying is about trying to hook everything up over a single lap, so that you’re in the best possible position for the main event. Sprint races would punt one of the most exciting parts of the weekend to a Friday and then either devalue qualifying-proper or just bloat the runtime of the Grand Prix. One can only hope this is just a half-baked gimmick meant to spice up this last season before the new regs come in. Because unless they know something we don’t know about the ability of cars to follow come 2022, I see no reason to implement sprint qualifying before the new aero regs have had a fair shake of the stick. You know, those changes the fans actually asked for.

  37. Give them points… for a separate Sprint race trophy

  38. I happened to find a PDF file from that GPDA fan survey that was conducted in 2015.

    250,000 fans took part in that so it was a very large pool & there were results for some of the more recently proposed gimmicks.

    Only 28% of fans were in favour of a sprint race & only 18% were in favour of a reverse grid & only 31% felt points for qualifying should be awarded.

    So F1 logic is to simply do everything which a vast majority of it’s fans are NOT in favour if.

    1. Also in that survey.

      80% of fans wanted to see a tyre war come back.
      74% of fans felt rules should be relaxed to provide a greater level of technical freedom & diversity.
      70% of fans wanted DRS to be dropped.

      The conclusion written up in the results was that F1 should move away from/not look at introducing artificial gimmicks.

      There was a separate FIA fan survey at around the same time which came to a similar conclusion with similar results.

      1. Autosport also did a survey around that time. Broadly similar results but with a few differences.

        1. 86% wanted more freedom in regulations.
          63% wanted more durable tyres.
          Only 25% were in favour of qualifying/sprint races.
          Only 24% were in favour of reverse grids.
          74% were against artificial methods been introduced.
          78% wanted a return to a tyre war.
          69% were against slowing cars performance to promote better racing As a majority felt car/engine performance was very important.
          Only 31% felt there should be more than 20 races a year.

          1. Funny isn’t it how the answer to declining audience numbers is to go against every single wish of their audience. I mean we’ll ignore the biggest cause of reduced audience numbers which is removal of the sport from free to watch networks too as that couldn’t possibly be a cause.

  39. if the aim is to make this sport, this product of leisure, as complicated as possible (to train the brains of the consumers), then I would alter year on year the sporting regulations (if that hi-tec-sport is not complex enough).
    And to complicate it any further, sure the sprint race should have some points on offer, ideally not a simple 1-to-25.
    … How about … how about a 1-to-10 ?
    Ideally only half of it = 0.5 to 5 points, that’s may call.
    (With full points 1-10 in the case of rain.)

  40. very good comments and GREAT that you guys found the results of the surveys — conducted just to be shelved.

    It took me 15 years of thorough contemplation to attain the conclusion:

    the bigger the player, the less eager for unforeseeable result / invest / risk.
    Now that there are only big players left …
    Public noted (stock) corporations must strive for the principle of MINIMISATION.
    Whereat in sports, like show-biz, like in R&D it is about the other one: MAXIMISATION.
    That’s the crux.
    A pity.

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