Formula 1 drivers have suggested changes to the series’ sprint qualifying races following a processional second running of the format at Monza.
Lando Norris admitted it “wasn’t the most exciting race” but said he didn’t want to be negative about Formula 1’s experiment with a new race weekend format, which was previously tried at Silverstone.
The extra races are run to decide the grid for Sunday’s grand prix. F1 motorsport director Ross Brawn has suggested instead making them separate, standalone races in order to discourage drivers from approaching them conservatively.
Norris suspects this might work. “If you would have it separate to the actual Sunday race and take away that fear of crashing, allow yourself to do those risks maybe a little bit more and not actually affect Sunday, [it could] at least shake things up a little bit more,” said the McLaren driver.
“But considering we’re in Monza and it’s a bit more of a race track, I don’t think it was the most exciting race for the fans. And I think that’s the whole point of why we’re doing it.”
Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto is pushing for the races to be run using reverse grids. The team’s driver Charles Leclerc said that might produce more action.
“It’s always a difficult choice,” Leclerc admitted. “It wasn’t a very exciting race but I still feel like there’s been a bit of action in the first few corners.
“But let’s say that everyone is in the right pecking order like this. The fastest cars are in the front, the slowest cars in the back. So it’s very difficult to make up some positions if we have a sprint race that is very different.
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“What I mean by very different is why not the reverse grid of the championship? Then we might see quite a bit more action. In a race like this, obviously, it was quite difficult to follow in front.”
However Williams driver George Russell believes less radical changes are needed, suggesting a longer race held at a different time of day would produce a better competition.
“My feeling is the sprint is too short and the cars are pretty much driving flat-out every single lap and it doesn’t offer enough opportunity between the cars to be able to overtake,” said Russell.
“Normally when you see overtaking it’s because of a tyre delta. If everybody goes out there, Mercedes and Red Bull are within a few tenths, then McLaren and the next cars are within a few tenths and so on and so on. You only get that overtaking opportunity with the tyre delta and 100 kilometre race didn’t give you that opportunity.
“Maybe we need to use softer tyres or make it mandatory to just be on the soft tyre there. I’m glad they’re trying things but I think for me, you’ll pretty much finish where you ended lap one.”
“There’s a few other factors as well,” Russell added, “The schedule’s always a bit later in the afternoon, the track temperature’s cooler which makes it easier on the tyre as well. If we were slap-bang in the middle of the day, track temperature’s 10 degrees hotter, then there probably would be some tyre management involved.
“But these last two races now we were flat-out every single lap and only in the last one or two laps do you feel a bit of limitation on the tyre, but that’s not enough to make anything too exciting.”
The third and final sprint qualifying event is due to take place at Interlagos in November. Following that F1, the FIA and teams will discuss whether and how the format should return in 2022.
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2021 Italian Grand Prix
- Who was to blame for Hamilton and Verstappen’s collision at Monza?
- Friday qualifying needs earlier start after “nearly dark” Monza session – Ricciardo
- Drivers suggest sprint qualifying format changes after processional second race
- Sainz pleased for McLaren despite “worst possible” result for Ferrari
- Red Bull were advised Perez should let Leclerc past – Masi
137 comments on “Drivers suggest sprint qualifying format changes after processional second race”
16th September 2021, 12:42
or maybe cancel it as it is? just asking
16th September 2021, 13:01
16th September 2021, 15:51
They wont, as its already decided on. And it sucks bigtime
Sonny Crockett (@sonnycrockett)
16th September 2021, 20:38
A few ideas:
Blindfold the drivers and spin them around so that they’re dizzy when they get in the car.
Put itching powder in their overalls.
Cover the circuit with jam.
Change DRS to electric shock mode. If you’re within one second of the person in front then you can zap them.
Drive the whole race one-handed (Kubica might have an advantage).
Hungry lions roaming free in the pits.
The driver that comes last gets chemically castrated.
Do the whole race in reverse.
16th September 2021, 20:55
Nice collection, haha.
Haha, at RaceRoom’s public servers I have seen people who were driving pretty quickly in reverse. I’d say they were faster than the struggling beginners, so they did well (Although as the camera matrix is or was modifyable they could have set a very convenient camera angle to do this instead of driving by the mirror). Although I don’t know why a racing car has a reverse gear with so high top speed. Seemingly they were going way faster than 100 kph :) That sim is quite good, but do the racing cars really have this long reverse gear?
16th September 2021, 23:05
I really like the idea of reverse grid for the sprint race, definitely will get a lot of action.
Yep not opposed to trying it out, it would definitely be fun.
17th September 2021, 10:25
Use the positions from Q1 for a separate sprint race with half points.
17th September 2021, 17:16
F1 fans can seriously be some of the worst fans in professional sports. Alonso called it out recently, that in football, fans don’t come out asking for rules changes when you get a string of bad 0-0 games. The game is what it is. In F1 it’s the opposite. We had major praise for the last sprint race because it was very exciting. For whatever reason Monza was super dull this year, the sprint even more so. So now it’s time to hate on the experiment.
Same with drivers. I remember people talking about getting rid of Ocon, how he didn’t deserve his contract. He won a race and suddenly he was gold. People talked up his WDC potential. He’s had a couple of dull races and he’s back to being trash.
My two cents: The sprint quali has been exciting and provides fans more racing over the weekend. We’re not deprived of the traditional quali experience either. We get to watch racing on Saturday and Sunday.
Regarding overtaking, everyone knows what needs to change and a lot of that is being addressed next year. We’re also making things worse though with increase weight of those damned larger tyres. Still, I expect next year will be a major improvement and that we’ll see more overtaking and close fighting.
16th September 2021, 12:45
Its funny, they could always go back to the normal qualifying format, that would spice things up as the current format is the best its ever been!!
If they really want to add to the show on a Saturday then do what they did in 84 when the new Nurburgring opened and have a sprint race in a single make saloon car so we can see who the most talented drivers are without a car advantage. plus we would get some elbows-out rubbin too!! Plus you could have more than 20 cars and include reserve drivers, or even former champions. Surely running single make saloons would be cheaper for all involved than running 20 F1 cars for a sprint race
16th September 2021, 13:23
The desire to see the F1 grid race in spec cars has always been there, to see where the talent really matches and take the cars out of the equation.
I however realized this is probably not what we really want. It would devalue so much of the existing race.
Now we get to speculate just how good Russell is, at the time in Toro Rosso how good Verstappen was and countless other examples also of drivers looking really good but eventually not panning out so well. That builds tension especially to a point where we now get to see Russell go to Mercedes and anticipate if all the speculation was founded.
If there are spec car races we literally know how drivers match up. There will be zero speculation and anticipation about the skill of a driver. No drama or mystery. It will all just be ‘yeah we know he’s (not) good, it’s just the car’
17th September 2021, 1:20
You are basically saying meritocracy is bad for sport?
16th September 2021, 21:17
Gubstar – this is exactly what I’ve been asking for, for years. Probably many others as well. You could do it in place of one of the free practice sessions. The drivers would still get to see/experience the track, and the spectacle would be great.
However, as cvl37 notes, I don’t think they’ll ever do that because of the risk that it would pull back the curtain on F1. I think for the most part you would probably see the drivers that are currently presumed to be the best (Hamilton, Verstappen, and throw in a few others) would probably do very well. But the “problem” would arise, in my opinion, if someone else outperformed the WDC contenders. And for that reason I doubt it will ever happen again.
The Top Gear F1 laps in a reasonably price car were probably as close as we’ll ever get.
17th September 2021, 9:48
That would be good, I remember Senna won this sprint, they were driving Mercedes 190E’s if I’m correct.
17th September 2021, 12:44
Bring back IROC! Lol
17th September 2021, 12:52
So thinking about this more, use the IROC format but invite drivers from other series. Imagine the driver market shakeup if WEC drivers or W series drivers are fighting for podiums! Throw in some reserve drives and have a 30 car field.
Euro Brun (@eurobrun)
16th September 2021, 12:56
Is Russell suggesting a Sprint where cars don’t push to the maximum and have to manage their pace?
Does that not completely go against the concept of a Sprint?
Keith Campbell (@keithedin)
16th September 2021, 14:01
@eurobrun Yep, and not just him, Russell too. They have a point, which is that with the current cars you can only overtake with a huge tyre delta which only comes with a massive car or tyre advantage. That’s why the first stint of every race after the first lap is the most processional, and later in the race is when you get the action as the different tyre strategies play out. But we were told that the drivers being able to push flat out throughout the sprint race would lead to non-stop action. That clearly isn’t the case. It’s not a case of them just being conservative – they literally just can’t get close enough to the car in front to even attempt an overtake.
16th September 2021, 14:46
Keith Campbell (@keithedin)
16th September 2021, 14:56
Uh, got my wires crossed there. I mixed up Norris and Russell’s comments and for some reason thought we were talking about Norris.
16th September 2021, 14:50
The problem is that he’s right, with the current cars it’s near impossible to overtake unless there is quite a big difference in the pace of the cars or someone makes a mistake. That pace difference could come from the real pace of the cars, or tyre differences, or driver differences, but there needs to be a significant difference or you are not getting past. As much as I love the idea of a sprint race, with current cars it will lead to a procession as long as they are lining up fastest to slowest.
I’m really hopeful that the sprint races will come into their own next year. If the cars can follow more closely without losing as much performance, we may start to see some real action. Until then, the main factor is going to be adding another standing start to mix things up a bit.
Red Pill (@redpill)
16th September 2021, 18:11
Totally agree about overtaking being a critical issue but reversing the grid will not fix that, did you know that current F1 cars wheelbase is same length & width as a Rolls-Royce Phantom (EWB) 4 door extended wheelbase model?
It’s not talked about a lot but I think a lot of people don’t realize the size of a F1 car is now, their size is now really, really big compared to F1 cars of the past. They’re now literally the same size as a Ford F-150 pickup but with a longer wheelbase and just as wide, they’re 20% longer overall than a LMP1 Hypercar and 250 lbs heavier than a F1 car 10 yrs ago. They don’t fit on the classic tracks like they use to. Then add the dirty air making overtaking really hard, the new car is supposedly better (yet to be proven) but also to be even heavier than this years car while pretty much being the same size, except wheelbase will be slightly shorter 10cm but with also heavier wheels than this year.
No manufactured racing (reverse grid) will fix that and certainly doesn’t make much sense using a sprint race to set the grid when its so hard to overtake. Teams and drivers who have skin in the game will not risk their cars or racing budget to take high risks in a reverse grid. The risks outweighs the reward in the long run.
Plus its a gimmick to create competition that doesn’t really exists. That’s fine for F3 but not for F1 that is suppose to the best in the world racing for world champion. I’ll have better things to do than and other racing than having to watch that.
16th September 2021, 18:49
@redpill I don’t disagree with what you are saying about the size of the cars, but to me it seems the width of the cars has not changed nearly as much as the length, other than for that period of time when they purposely narrowed them around when they were using grooved slicks, but then widened them back out again to be more like 70’s cars. To me, as just a general comment, if they were concerned about the size of the cars they would have done something about it with the new cars for next year. I do know that size does get mentioned by those within F1 sometimes, but I don’t get the impression it is that big a deal, when as I say generally the width has been fairly static, and one would think that would be more the issue when it comes to passing on tight tracks than the length of the car. Sure of course there is an effect from longer cars and longer wheelbases, but just saying it doesn’t seem like there’s huge concern within F1. The dirty air effect and clean air dependent cars are vastly more the issue and thank goodness they are on that with these new cars.
I agree with @drmouse that Sprint races should be much better with the new cars, as of course should the full races, and I predict that opinions of every track and their reputations for being easy or hard to pass on are going to change, and even tracks that provide few opportunities now, are suddenly going to provide more with these new cars.
Red Pill (@redpill)
16th September 2021, 20:51
@robbie @keithedin @eurobrun I think all the little increases in dimensions and increased mass have had a qualitative effect on the racing and especially the overtaking that these have been adding up ever so slightly over the seasons.
I simply blown away by the present length of an F1 car (total 5,500 mm L max). There is almost no car manufactured with that long of a wheelbase (3,700 mm L) unless you include Rolls-Royces, limo’s & 8′ bed pickups but especially not any sports cars of any kind. Not even the super cars like Bugatti Veyron’s….etc that are only really designed to go straight super fast and track straight & stable, they’re way shorter than a F1 car.
The car width use to be 1.8m, now its 2.0m (6″ diff.), doesn’t sound like much but it adds up when you have two cars overlapped vying for the same bit of track, that’s 12″ less heading into a corner. The wheels got wider in 2017 and next year, the wheels will now be much heavier with the bigger rims, it will be harder to accelerate and much hard to brake with heavier wheels. The cars increase in weight next year by 88 lbs.
I’m not a aerodynamicist but I think the sheer mass & increased volume size of the present cars greatly effects the amount of resistance of the air having to pass through it (wave drag); I have no idea how the new cars will reform all that disturbed air behind a car into a dormant state for a car to follow? It’s not just about guiding the disturb air upwards over the car behind. I think this is why sprint races make less sense and makes teams & drivers take up a more managed approach to finishing the race which is opposite of the sheer gladiator attitude expected/wanted to see in a sprint race.
I certainly hope that next year cars are a completely improved aero, making the the racing/overtaking much better. After watching F1 for 45 years, listening to all the so-called promises of improvements and seeing all the many iterations through this era; I’m going to hold my doubts and thoughts until we see the cars racing.
I certainly very much hope I’m wrong.
16th September 2021, 21:27
@redpill – I hope you are wrong, too. But I don’t think you are. I appreciate @robbie ‘s endless optimism that next year’s changes will make things better. However, that outlook hasn’t been proven out for year after year after year now.
Until the cars are much less aero-dependent, this “fix” seems unlikely to ever come. I am not an engineer nor an aerodynamicist, but the disturbed air will still be there and the following car’s front axle is entirely dependent upon clean or cleanish air. Something has to give, and I’m not sure what it will be.
I, too, hope the next design will allow cars to follow each other. But I really do not expect it to be the reality next year. We’ll see.
16th September 2021, 23:57
From my own understanding of aerodynamics, which isn’t the best but I did study it a fair amount at university, next year’s cars are looking to be a significant improvement. I’m cautiously optimistic about the effects. The regulations have been designed by aerodynamicists and engineers not only to produce a much smaller wake and to stabilise the air behind more, but also to be able to produce more downforce while in dirty air. It is unlikely to be a complete magic bullet to fix everything, but it is highly likely to make following another car significantly easier.
Now, we could of course just make a move for a massive reduction in aerodynamic downforce. However, there are several issues with this. The first of that those would lead to a massive reduction in speeds, which would lead to many fans screaming that the cars are not far enough (remember the ridiculous arguments over how loud the hybrid engines were?). On top of this, it would lead to the teams massive aerodynamic departments trying every trick in the book to get it back, probably in ways which are bad for close racing.
I can see arguments for reductions in the dimensions. Narrower and shorter cars would find overtaking easier, all else being equal, so if they could manage this without screwing up the aero philosophy it would be worth it. I doubt we’ll see it in the next few years, though, as they’ll need to keep some stability in the regulations.
The other thing is the weight, but they are stuck between a rock and a hard place there. To make a significant reduction in weight they would need to abandon all significant hybrid elements in the engine at a time when pure ICEs in cars are going the way of the dodo. That’s going to be a hard sell for any car manufacturer, and the sport would become less in many eyes by stepping back towards old technology with fading relevance.
Red Pill (@redpill)
17th September 2021, 1:42
Unfortunately size nor weight will be reduced in the next 10yrs or longer. With teams just agreeing this week to remove the MGU-H in 2026, they’ll need to make up for that loss by quite a bit by adding a larger battery and also add a generator in front of the car for generation off the front wheels. This will add a lot of weight and take up more space than what its now if they want the same performance. Then add next year the lower energy density biofuel being introduced, it’s only a percentage now but will be increasing amount of bio fuel in the future. I think the tanks and bio fuel amount usage will increase to reach same power and distance? All this weight will need a stronger platform.
On top of that cars will also not be getting smaller because for driver safety, especially when they’re increasing the weight; thats a lot of mass being thrown around in a crash (aka: a heavier hammer). In regards to safety, I’m also concerned about new wheel size making it much heavier and its effects (energy) in a crash but thats for another thread.
17th September 2021, 8:54
Some of that may come to pass, but I think there is a very slim chance of F1 having generation from the front wheels in the near future. Even Formula E has only just got that for next year.
As for the dimensions, we can see from Formula E that good racing is possible with heavy, long cars (they weigh much more than F1 cars and are about the same length). Maybe the reduced width is the main factor in their ability to race closely, though I doubt it.
However, with all of it, we’re just going to have to wait and see. A year from now, we’ll have the answers as to how much the new regs have improved the race. I’m going to remain cautiously optimistic until or unless proved wrong.
Red Pill (@redpill)
17th September 2021, 10:31
@drmouse Front generator for recovery with a differential driveshaft and 350kw MGU-K has already being discussed and pretty much agreed to add in 2026 regs due to everyone agreeing to eliminate the MGU-H which really gave the PU its magic and tying the PU all together into a full spectrum motor, they now need to find ways to overcome that power curve loss.
New PU regs that were suppose to be in 2025 has been extended to 2026 to have more time for the changes needed. There’s a lot of figuring out to do.
17th September 2021, 14:56
@hobo The thing is, I don’t understand your pessimism when the reality is Brawn and his team, in conjunction with the teams, have done unprecedented and highly extensive work this time, on making cars that send their dirty air above the trailing car, that make less dirty air with which to begin, and have made sure the trailing car is less sensitive to what dirty air it will encounter.
I’m just saying let’s forget what went on in the past because at no time has there ever been anywhere near the effort to tackle this issue such as has been done by Brawn and his team almost immediately upon being contractually able to do so post-BE era.
Aside from my optimism for all that we have heard about these new cars and their intentions, I’m just mindful that we have always seen even minor changes to cars making a big difference, so even any little change eg. simplified wings and/or ridding themselves of all the little carbon bits, would make the current cars less dependent on clean air. So to me, making massive changes in such a concerted and focused effort as Brawn and the teams have done, can only at a minimum be a good help, and good progression in terms of fighting the dirty air effect, but to me likely will be a major help and major progression given the scope of the work.
As well, let’s remember that the only thing constant in F1 is change, and the new cars will be tweaked and will evolve as always, and I certainly never expect perfection right out of the gates, or at least a format or a formula that will please everyone all the time. For me it is vastly enough that they have embarked on this new chapter which imho was absolutely crucial. What they are doing for the new cars is exactly what needed to be done so we can see something other than driver handcuffed by leading driver because of dirty air.
Red Pill (@redpill)
17th September 2021, 17:02
PS> Formula E have a much shorter wheel base than F1 cars, it’s almost 2 feet shorter (600mm) wheelbase which is pretty significant and over a foot (350mm) shorter in overall length, less sig. FE’s are significantly narrower by 12″, Essentially they have 2 feet of more track width when two cars are side by side compared to two F1 cars.
21st September 2021, 17:16
@drmouse – I do recall the mobs angry at V6 hybrids not being as loud as V8s or V10s. And I agree that would probably happen again if aero was massively reduced and therefore speeds as well. However, is it really better to have a sport where cars cannot follow each other and passing requires a DRS gimmick? I personally don’t think it is better.
I don’t know if massive aero reductions are ‘the’ solution but they really need to find ‘a’ solution. Procession F1 is boring. It turns into a season long version of an old endurance race.
Again, I honestly hope I am wrong and next year’s cars are great for following. But I’ll also be surprised if that is the case.
21st September 2021, 17:31
@robbie – My outlook, which I think is rather pragmatic given the history though I understand may be viewed as pessimism, is based on how they are going about this.
Have F1 created any rules about trailing wake or disturbed air or aero impact behind the car? If they have not, and I have not read any articles about them doing so, then their efforts will quickly be undone by teams scratching back downforce and likely causing additional wakes/disturbances behind. That’s just the nature of the sport, as you note.
And we’ve seen this every time there is a significant aero/downforce change. Oh, this year they made us get rid of X… and yet cars will either start the season with more downforce than at the end of last season, or make up the difference by race 4. That’s fine. But if you are modifying regulations in order to reduce wake, even assuming the regs work as intended, make the regs do what you want them to do. In this case, measure wake or something. Without that, what keeps F1 from being right back to where we are now halfway through 2022?
I will be happy if my pragmatism/pessimism is wrong. Completely. We’ll see.
21st September 2021, 17:52
@hobo What keeps F1 from being right back to where we are now? I think we have seen and heard enough to know that the new cars will be vastly different and so I don’t believe it will be within the scope of the more restrictive regs to get the cars back to being so clean air dependent. They simply will not be able to change the cars enough as hard as they may try. I don’t think they need to measure wake any more than they have already done so in the wind tunnel, they being Brawn and his team, along with the teams’ input. They have figured out a rear diffuser and rear wing shape that sends dirty air up over the trailing car. Little will be able to be done by the teams to change the shape of the rear diffuser and wing to reverse that. Meanwhile even if they do a bit of that ’undoing’ of the intention, the cars are going to be less sensitive to dirty air anyway. Everything Brawn has said about the new regs leads me to believe they have done extensive work to eliminate loopholes that might allow teams to throw a curve ball into matters, and if somehow a team does find a way to send F1 backwards towards processional cars again, the regs will get tweaked.
16th September 2021, 20:54
The dilemma about reverse grids in standalone sprint races is that, if very few points are awarded, the risks outweight the rewards, specially with current regulations in which it’s difficult to follow other cars; on the other hand, if many points are awarded for reverse grid sprints so that many drivers have a chance of scoring points (what would be highly desirable), it’d dramatically devalue the importance of main races for the championship. It’s definitively not good if two gimmick races worth the same or more than one full race with normal qualifying determining grid positions, a start procedure, tyre strategy, long battles, etc. It simple doesn’t feel right. Maybe they should create a Crypto.com Sprint Cup for Friday, a separate series if they wish so badly to generate “entertainment” or something like that.
Red Pill (@redpill)
18th September 2021, 18:50
@rodewulf Sorry for being late, I only just now saw your post, you said it very well and in one small paragraph, something I seem unable to do well.
19th September 2021, 0:01
Thanks, I actually inspired myself in your comment! ;D
Usually your comments are relevant with many details. If comments are like that they don’t need to be short, really. It’s way better than off-topic comments.
16th September 2021, 21:34
Totally agree with everything you just said. But can we please get rid of “Crofty” and Ted who know absolutely nothing about cars or racing.
17th September 2021, 10:00
Get rid of Crofty yes, but keep Ted he’s great and fun.
18th September 2021, 5:02
We’ll know better about the sprint race format next year when the cars can clearly follow and overtake better. Also, the fear of losing the car during the sprint race when there are just 3 points to play for, and the need to save the car for the main race is making sprint race professional after the 1st lap. See Gasly at Monza, Perez at Silverstone.
May be allow spare cars for sprint…
16th September 2021, 13:11
It will be interesting to see if next years cars make any difference. I think Brazil’s Sprint Race will look the same as two other ones…
16th September 2021, 13:13
Here’s a suggestion for the FIA: Why don’t you break the qualifying session down into three sub-sessions of say 18, 15 and 12 minutes each and have 5 drivers drop out in each of the first 2 sub-sessions and then let the top 10 drivers compete for pole.
16th September 2021, 13:20
Awesome idea, i think it could work
16th September 2021, 13:49
Great idea! It would work very well, plenty of drivers on track throughout the whole session, building up to a climatic last run for pole…
Eh, maybe some day they will trial this.
16th September 2021, 14:03
Good thinking! Probably won’t work … ;o/
16th September 2021, 15:22
Nah, I agree with Russell here, a longer race at a different time. I say a full length race on Sunday would solve all this. And to reduce the carbon footprint we cancel the regular race.
16th September 2021, 15:54
Only works if there is something inportant to gain with it. Say like, the starting order of the grand prix on sunday
16th September 2021, 13:15
My idea for the sprint qualifying would to make it that whatever tyres you finish the sprint on, you have to start the raceon. Opens up the strategy for both the sprint and the race. I’m sure there are flaws in this idea…
16th September 2021, 13:21
I don’t understand the negativity from the commenters.
One of the suggestions that Ross Brawn has said is to delineate this event entirely from the main race and the result in this will have no bearing on the grand prix. The regular grand prix and qualifying effectively stay untouched. Why is that also a problem with everyone?
16th September 2021, 13:55
I don’t think it is? I might be wrong but I haven’t seen much negativity towards that. My issues are it makes qualifying pointless, gaining one position on the grid isn’t enough of a benefit to make a risky pass so we see no overtaking and and having parc ferme come in so early in the weekend seems a bit stupid.
If qualifying sets the grid for the Sunday race, that makes qualifying good again and allows the drivers to take more risks in the sprint race. I’d probably swap the sprint race to Friday and have Qualifying on Saturday to fix the Parc Ferme issues and we’re all good.
16th September 2021, 15:03
I’ve seen a lot of negativity toward it, with all sorts of reasons from “It devalues the race” to “It means I have to watch on Friday as well as Saturday and Sunday”.
Personally, I don’t see why they don’t take more risks in the sprint race. If they don’t make up a position there, they need to make it in the race. If they crash in the race, they get nothing, whereas a crash in the sprint race gives them time to fix the car before the main race. It is actually a reduced risk for the same benefit compared to making that pass on track on Sunday. I would guess it’s one of those illogical mentality things: It doesn’t feel as important to make up a place on the grid as to make up a place in the race, even though a higher place on the grid normally translates to a higher finishing position in the race.
As for the Parc Ferme issue, I personally find that to be one of the best parts of the format. It gives teams far less time to set up the car, making FP1 more important and more exciting to watch. However, somehow it doesn’t reduce the amount of running on Saturday morning: I guess this is mostly drivers practicing and teams gathering data on tyre performance, because there is little they can change on the car but still lots of action.
The only disappointment, to me, has been the sprint races themselves. However, that was to be expected: I made the point when this was first announced that if you line the cars up fastest to slowest and remove the strategic element, you will get a procession 9 times out of 10.
16th September 2021, 16:38
Sprint on Friday.
That’s a great idea! I love it.
But how would you determine the starting grid order for that Sprint Race?
By championship points? (either normal or reverse)
What about the contenders without any points?
What about the first race of the season?
16th September 2021, 17:05
@sihrtogg – I’d go with Championship (or reverse) order. For those without points, they can line up in the order they finished the previous race.
Maybe for the first one of the season, you could use previous standings with anyone new to the grid starting at the back. Order them by the fastest FP1 time or something?
17th September 2021, 10:10
Agreed, what’s the point of P3 during these weekends, if you cannot change anything on the cars due to parc ferme?
16th September 2021, 14:12
I was wondering the same thing. If the sprint is treated as effectively a separate event then why not try new things and push the boundaries out? If you don’t like it, don’t watch it. The qualifying and race will still be the same.
Personally, I really like the idea of reverse grids maybe using an old points system like the top 6 or 8. They don’t need to count as wins and podiums so the stats won’t be affected. But it might give the back markers a chance to fight for something, and the midfielders can probably come away with good points to close the championship up rather than always having a couple of teams running away with everything. Plus, it would be extremely entertaining with the faster cars behind! What’s not to like?
I was wondering why Binotto said reverse championship order rather than reverse Friday qualifying order, but that also makes sense so that people don’t try to strategically qualify at the back. I don’t usually agree with Binotto, but this one I hope he wins.
16th September 2021, 14:36
“If you don’t like it, don’t watch it. The qualifying and race will still be the same.”
That’s all good n well until they move the actual exciting Qualifying session to a Friday when you’re in work. Oh wait, they did that last week. I missed my first qualifying session in god knows how many years. Instead, I got to watch an absolute joke of a ‘race’ on Saturday.
16th September 2021, 14:50
Sprint should be on Friday after FP1. Then FP2 and Qualifying on Saturday. Everyone’s happy then.
16th September 2021, 15:08
I know a few people who want to watch Qualifying, but it’s normally on Saturday afternoon when they are at work. The new Friday evening slots have been great for them, because they have been able to watch them for the first time in ages.
That said, I wouldn’t have any issue, myself, with swapping the sprint with qually, as long as Parc Ferme rules still kicked in on the Friday evening session.
Alianora La Canta (@alianora-la-canta)
16th September 2021, 16:32
It’s not going to be fully separated, it’s still going to put wear on the cars and risk crash damage that forces a pit lane start (if it cannot be fixed under parc ferme). It’s just that if the sprint doesn’t set the grid, there’s now no point at all in anyone but the top 6 bothering to do it (unless penalties are imposed for non-participation).
Even for the 6 people with reason to care about the sprint, the difference between positions is the equivalent of the difference between 10th and 9th. A pit-lane start for someone capable of fighting for points in the sprint is likely to be at least 10 points (more than 1st place at 3 sprints in a row). It’s just not worth it, even if both parties know the other is a clean racer (which some on the grid seem to doubt vis-a-vis others).
Qualifying is still touched because it’s moved to a day when lots of people can’t watch it (either because they don’t get Friday sessions due to their TV network’s deal with F1, or because they can’t get to the track/TV due to weekday commitments that they made back when F1 built up over the 3 days rather than assuming each day was a semi-separate event) for something that even the organisers have shown isn’t important enough to be part of the event, and running still needs to be planned with the sprint race in mind (for the 6 people who have any reason to bother doing it). The race is still touched because those who lose out in the sprint appear to disproportionately be those who qualified in a better position than their race pace indicated (a pit start is a pit start regardless of whether the damage was done in a grid-setting session or not), and there’s more wear on the cars even if crashes are avoided.
It is impossible to add or take major elements from a session without affecting the others.
F1 frog (@f1frog)
16th September 2021, 19:00
I do not like the current sprint format because I think it is pointless and makes qualifying anti-climatic, and with a greater sample size, I’m sure the vast majority of the sprints would be dull and processional.
Making the sprint a separate, standalone event removes these problems, but replaces them with a new problem in that it would devalue the GP. For it to be in any way relevant it would have to award a decent amount of points, probably 15 for a win because that is what we had in Formula 2 last season. And this means that two sprint wins are worth more than an actual Grand Prix win. That would very clearly devalue the Grand Prix! And even if it was 10, that is still three sprints worth more than one Grand Prix, but is unlikely to be the case because there would be less motivation for the drivers lower down to go for it. It would surely be 15.
Personally, I think the current weekend format is perfect for F1. A session of being the quickest over a single lap, followed by a single, long race. Sprints are fine for other series, but unnecessary for the ‘pinnacle of motorsport.’
Stephen Crowsen (@drycrust)
16th September 2021, 20:58
I agree. Unfortunately F1’s management have decided they must have a Sprint Race, so now they need to have a reason to justify it. They already have a lap time event, they already have a race, what’s next? Nothing really. Even more unfortunate is for most of the drivers attending the Sprint Race brings with it unnecessary jeopardy, in that they could find themselves starting the Grand prix (which is where most teams earn their money) from the back of the grid, from the Pit Lane exit, on not at all, rather than one or two places ahead of where their Qualifying position was. For example, AlphaTauri walked away from the Italian GP without any points, and the big reason for that was the Sprint Race. One could argue AlphaTauri would have been better off retiring their cars after the first lap of the Sprint Race, and then starting from the Race from the rear of the grid.
Maybe F1 could use some sort of “other” car, but is that right? People pay big money to watch Max in a Red Bull car, Lewis in a Mercedes car, Fernando in an Alpine, etc. Maybe there’s a place for a much more “spec” F1 car, something akin to an F2 car, but where do you put that car? There’s enough space in the garage for 2 cars. It would only make sense to use a spec car for the Sprint Race if it was on Friday afternoon (so the drivers can practice driving the car on Friday morning).
16th September 2021, 23:56
When the whole idea of sprints came up, it was proposed as a reverse grid and quite rightly was rejected.
They wouldn’t let go though and convinced the teams to trial this years sprint format.
After two trials, it’s pretty obvious that it sucks and that it’s really not done anything great “for the show” and hasn’t achieved what they want.
So what do they do? Do they discard the idea as was promised? No they keep throwing more and varied ideas up as possible solutions (including of course reverse grid because that’s what Brawn wanted in the first place) to the problem that they themselves have created.
Ross your idea sucks, your trial sucks. Accept that, stop messing with things that didn’t need to be messed with in the first place and move on.
17th September 2021, 15:08
@dbradock I think you should be encouraged by the fact that reverse grids were rejected and that rejection was accepted by Brawn and F1. ‘They’ are not still trying to get it through but it seems like Binotto still has it in mind. Other than him I don’t get the impression ‘they,’ whomever that is, are going to go that route.
As to the trial, everyone in F1 agreed on doing three and then analyzing it from there. Seems there are some chinks in the armour and a number inside F1 are already talking about and suggesting changes, so that is encouraging and for all we know there will indeed be changes that make a different weekend format more palatable to more people. We shall see.
16th September 2021, 13:31
Nobody (without financial interest) ever asked for this. Nobody likes how it looks now. Wouldn’t it be easier to admit a mistake has been made and move on? Of all the things you try to replace the only thing most people agree is just fine – the qualifying format; to make it less exciting and water it down completely. Plus you ruin the REAL race for me, since there’s no place for any surprises and guessing; it’s just the episode 2.
16th September 2021, 14:56
There’s lots of surprises, both silverstone and monza were races where a lot happened.
Alianora La Canta (@alianora-la-canta)
16th September 2021, 16:35
@esploratore1 Unfortunately all the significant stuff got telegraphed in the sprint races for me. If we’re supposed to like the format due to surprise, then this punishes anyone who’s been following F1 for long enough to spot the patterns.
16th September 2021, 17:43
That’s part of the problem for me too @alianora-la-canta; normally part of anticipation for the race is not quite knowing how cars will stack up, tyre wear etc (start remains, of course, and some strategy, weather chances), but with the sprint, we (and importantly the teams!) know a lot more, including data on how the cars work on those tyres (relative to the other cars!).
So not only does it take some of that suspense away, it also alters what teams know about their strategies. and that’s countering at the least some of the ‘early parc-ferme is great so teams cannot try everything’ positives people see.
Yeah it also makes qualifying feel a bit damp squib because the sprint either does little (but in both cases enough to make fastest in Q3 sort of pointless, esp. with the ‘hack’ Merc did w. Bottas), or too much to make quali have much meaning.
16th September 2021, 15:12
I think you’ll find that there are quite a lot of us who do like it, even though we recognise it isn’t perfect and there is work to be done to improve it. Most of those I spoke to a Silverstone thought well of it overall, and even where they didn’t like it, found a good handful of large positives.
Red Pill (@redpill)
16th September 2021, 17:51
So far in about every 10 posts, there’s typically about two posts who say they like it and eight who don’t. I’m not so sure you can say there’s quite a lot who like.
16th September 2021, 17:57
@redpill Assuming that is representative, 20% of F1 fans is definitely a lot of people.
However, even if I was the only person who liked it, it still gives the lie to the opening comment. I have no fill interest, and I was both asking for it before it was introduced (although in a slightly different way) and like how it looks now (though it would “look” better with some tweaks).
16th September 2021, 13:43
Some interesting ideas here. I never thought we could actually use this ridiculous reversed grid concept but I have to admit it might be funny for the Sprint Race. Anyway, I would use the concept max 5 times a year and only on tracks with proven ‘track position doesn’t matter, lots of opportunities to overtake’ status. And some artificial shaking up the pack is an option, maybe not to the extent of full reversed grid but something. Sprint race grid is determined by somthing other than a session on track like they now do on Friday. Hold the 3 FPs as originally planned. The normal Q is replaced by Sprint race which determines the grid for Sunday.
16th September 2021, 13:44
What has most confused me about these Sprint events is that they’ve decided to add these events at some of most iconic and well supported local events. Nobody needs help getting excited for Silverstone, Monza, and Brazil and those races are probably going to sell out every year. Races like the US, and perhaps Jeddah and Baku seem like more logical places to try to add some spice…where locals might not be as tuned in and excited about the normal weekend format and at-home watchers might not be super excited to see a race.
I’m supportive of this idea and the direction of F1, however. I think a little tinkering is fine and in line with the ongoing progression of what a GP weekend is all about.
16th September 2021, 13:57
Nobody needs help getting excited but lots of people will watch so it helps them use stats to justify their decisions. “More people watched the sprint at Brazil than the race at Sochi so that proves people love sprint races!!”
16th September 2021, 15:16
I doubt it is close to as cynical as that. Closer to the mark would probably be that more people buy more tickets on a Sprint weekend than otherwise, and total viewing figures are significantly better on those weekends (i.e. total viewing figures for Friday Qually + Saturday Sprint is better than Friday FP2 + Saturday Qually).
Alianora La Canta (@alianora-la-canta)
16th September 2021, 16:38
@drmouse Does it take into account drops in viewers for the race on sprint weekends? The UK lost 400,000 viewers for the Silverstone sprint race in 2021 compared to 2020, according to the numbers given by the broadcasters involved.
Alianora La Canta (@alianora-la-canta)
16th September 2021, 16:39
(Try again: The UK lost 400,000 viewers for the Silverstone Sunday race in 2021 compared to 2020, according to the numbers given by the broadcasters involved.)
16th September 2021, 17:35
I seriously doubt that can be put down to the sprint race. Maybe more people were at work than last year, or more people have lost their jobs and can’t afford Sky? Maybe the date didn’t suit as many people? Maybe audiences dropped because the main British star driver isn’t doing as well?
We can be sure that, even if the same number of people watched the race overall, the TV viewership would have dropped by a good portion of the 140,000 attendees anyway, seeing as nobody could attend least year and would have had to watch on TV instead.
16th September 2021, 17:54
Given it’s F1 @drmouse not being a bit cynical seems, eh, naive; esp. since as @alianora-la-canta wrote not only are those three events almost guaranteed to have many fans (Silverstone even 1st weekend with a full roster of fan-presence!), the at-the-track enthousiasm was immediately touted, w/o any evidence, or even indication that was linked, let alone caused by, the sprint event.
I have sympathy for the idea of having more events around the weekend, but the current sprint definitely isn’t it. A Friday reverse-wdc-position-sprint or so might work (would still influence race etc., and since it will be less points, that means less risk will probably be taken, but even so) if the 2022 cars can actually overtake.
They will no doubt try something alike, but the way they go about ‘justifying’ this event does not at all give confidence they’ll land at what’s good for fans and promoters over what is Liberty’s idea of what might seem good; at least they might still be open to chances until it works, as that’s their turnover improving if they can make it feel better enough.
Alianora La Canta (@alianora-la-canta)
17th September 2021, 9:51
@drmouse More people at work on a Sunday, who weren’t on Friday or Saturday (both of which saw increases)? That would be strange, since Sunday isn’t a regular part of the working week.
Date had fewer clashes than usual because mid-tier sports events weren’t getting government clearances that week and audiences for community events were still limited back then. Wimbledon, which often clashes, was a different week this year to the F1 (so even that can’t be used as an excuse).
Lewis Hamilton may be getting challenged for the title, but he was still an obvious title contender – and tight title fights (especially involving British athletes) have typically caused viewing numbers in the UK to rise, not fall. Certainly that’s borne out by the statistics for UK viewing in (actual) races that didn’t have a sprint component. (If it had been due to the early accident for Lewis, the peak would still have been preserved but the average would have fallen. This didn’t happen – the peak fell too).
TV viewership would have been expected to drop the 140,000 on the other sessions as well. They didn’t (free practices rose less because more people are working than in 2020, but even those sessions rose a bit). It’s rather telling that the rise stopped once the sprint qualifying was seen – almost as if it was interpreted as being the same as seeing the race itself for some people.
@bosyber, I will grant that the at-the-track enthusiasm at Silverstone was audible through the race, and plainly due to events on track. While no evidence was directly quoted by Ross Brawn, he was speaking in the immediate aftermath of the sprint and would have assumed his listeners had just heard all the evidence they needed to support that assertion. (Social media users, who’d seen reactions on social media, had of course heard counter-evidence…) At-track enthusiasm was notably not audible for the Monza sprint race, partly because it’s hard for a 1/4 seated audience with no general admittance support to make itself heard, partly because some people decided the sprint was a good time to snack or go to the toilet… …and partly because the race settled quite quickly. At-track spectators are more sophisticated than Liberty appears to be willing to credit: when they see something with the properties of a race, they judge it as a race, they contextualise, and (as a group) don’t just get excited because some F1 cars happen to be on track.
20th September 2021, 11:56
@alianora-la-canta I haven’t been able to find the viewing figures you are speaking of to check. If you can point me to them, I would very much appreciate it.
However, most people don’t normally watch any sessions on a Friday, and many only watch the race. Therefore, it could well be, for instance, that a significant were working the whole weekend this year who were furloughed last year, while others who normally only watch the race watched on Saturday, and some watched on Friday who don’t normally.
I cannot see it being likely that a change in the format of the weekend has cause figures for the race to drop significantly. A few may be disgruntled enough to cut off their nose to spite their face, but I have heard nobody say they will not watch the race because of the sprint, and I would expect to hear a significant number of people saying so on here if hundreds of thousands were doing so.
Alianora La Canta (@alianora-la-canta)
24th September 2021, 12:19
Motorsport Broadcasting.com blog, which in turn got the figures from BARB. The 2021 figures are here, and the 2020 figures are here. Note that unlike the Friday and Saturday numbers (that went up), the blog does not report on the drop in Sunday figures (that went down).
Your description of the furlough situation would have made sense if more people were furloughed in 2021 than 2020, but the opposite situation is the case in the UK.
People didn’t say they would not watch the race because of the sprint, but that’s what happened.
F1 frog (@f1frog)
16th September 2021, 19:04
@petebaldwin I think that is pretty much accurate, although I would say it was more ‘Silverstone, Monza and Interlagos are the tracks most likely to produce exciting races, so choosing them for the sprints will give the illusion that sprint races are more exciting than they actually are.’
Alianora La Canta (@alianora-la-canta)
16th September 2021, 16:37
The USA was supposed to be trialling the concept, before Delta arrived there. The trouble is that the Middle East has Friday as a major holiday, so spicing up Saturday to the detriment of Friday there makes about as much sense as spicing up Friday to the detriment of Saturday in Europe.
Red Andy (@red-andy)
16th September 2021, 13:47
Fully reversed grid from qualifying, points for the top finishers and also bonus points for making up places during the race. Works in GB3.
16th September 2021, 13:51
How about sumo wrestling between the drivers? That would be entertaining!
16th September 2021, 16:55
That would be unfair because the Japanese driver would have an advantage!
Especially Big Yuki :)
Aussie Rod (@aussierod)
16th September 2021, 13:56
Imagine what football fans would say if the FFA suggested changing the format of the EPL. Say a 30min match the morning of a game, but only 7-a-side and the winner gets a one goal lead for the ‘feature’ game later that afternoon.
Why is there no one to protect the history and integrity of F1 against this constant desire to ‘spice up the show’ ?
If F1 wants some different formats (like 20-20 cricket) then make them non-championship or part of a different competition. Maybe even revert back to 16 (for example) Grand Prix using the traditional format but have as many other 2-day weekends of racing as Liberty would like. Sprint races, reverse grid, third cars, young drivers… go berserk !
Best of both worlds maybe ?
16th September 2021, 15:26
I think the massive difference is that, while Football has always been 11v11 for 2 45min halves, there has never been one fixed F1 format. It has evolved with time. Heck, for most of its life qually was not much different to a practice session is now: Go out at some point during the time allowed and set the fastest lap you can. The the FIA brought in the 3-phase knockout qualifying we know now to “spice up the show”, and it’s one of the most popular things they’ve ever done, now. I would put good money on there having been plenty of people who argued as you do now, that it was damaging “the history and integrity of F1”.
Alianora La Canta (@alianora-la-canta)
16th September 2021, 16:40
@drmouse There were. Partly because it was the 3rd major attempt to redesign qualifying in the space of 4 years, the other two redesigns had damaged the integrity of F1, and initially we were given no reason to believe this attempt was any better-conceived.
F1 frog (@f1frog)
16th September 2021, 20:53
@aussierod I agree with all of this. In fact, everything you suggested for the non-championship race already exists; they are in other successful and entertaining motorsports, so there is no need for them in Formula 1.
16th September 2021, 14:33
I mention the same things as before:
1. Swap FP2 and QLF days around
2. Ax FP2 since a practice session under Parc Ferme is a time-waster
3. Parc Ferme begins no sooner than from Sprint lights
I still don’t share GR’s view on Sprint length.
The lowest number of laps for 100 km is long enough.
Jelle van der Meer (@)
16th September 2021, 14:37
“Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto is pushing for the races to be run using reverse grids. The team’s driver Charles Leclerc said that might produce more action.”
Well that actually good be a good solution for entertainment value as well as get rid of the current idiotic setup.
1) Qualify on Friday afternoon for Sunday’s race grid
2) Sprint race with reversed grid (based on Friday qualifying) – top 5 get awarded points (5, 4, 3, 2 and 1)
3) Race on Sunday as it always has been done
That way the Sprint Qualifying/Race has no impact on Sunday’s race and thus only a minor impact on the championship.
Now if someone qualifies top 3 but get’s knocked out, blown engine or Bottas Monaco’s type pitstop they are penalized twice.
Phil Norman (@phil-f1-21)
16th September 2021, 14:41
Thinking about this a little more, I wonder if Brawn’s idea might be the best approach. So you have the sprint race on a Friday perhaps and make it completely separate from the main GP. The qualifying for the main race still could take place on the Saturday.
The sprint race would be a separate event with a small number of points that still count towards the championships. Perhaps points for the first six drivers e.g. 9,6,4,3,2,1. It could still be run over the same distance or shorter even. They could even consider reverse grids or partial reverse grids for this sprint race. I am not sure about this issue though.
The important points are that the sprint would not effect the main qualifying or race, and the influence of the points would not be too great on the championships.
I don’t think the concept of sprint races is going away as much as some may want it to. So it’s a case of deciding the best format for them.
16th September 2021, 15:33
The problem is that, unless something drastic is done, having points awarded for fewer places is likely to just increase the dominance of the top teams. If they line up in a similar order but only award points to the top 6, then 3 dominant teams would likely lock out the points paying positions most of the time and mid-field teams would struggle even more than they do now to compete.
Now if they lines up in reverse championship order, this would be more practical. However, there would need to be a reasonable chance for the leaders to get into the points or there would be no point (see what I did there) in them even taking part: It would just put miles on their engines and risk damage for no good reason. Even if they were forced to take part, they would just cruise around at the back.
Phil Norman (@phil-f1-21)
16th September 2021, 16:50
I do think my idea is significantly better than the current format where it seems nothing much happens and there are a tiny number of points on offer to very few people. This contributes very little to the whole weekend really other than being a source of mild entertainment as its’ a race.
I do however completely understand the points you are making. Perhaps though, with the 2022 cars being more able to race closely and then pass, the reverse grid idea might work a lot better.
16th September 2021, 17:28
@phil-f1-21 True, if they really insist on having sprint races, then doing those with a reverse grid and hand out minimal points, but start the race from the quali result sounds at least less worse than the farce we have now.
16th September 2021, 14:53
If they were to ever do a reverse grid race i’d simply stop watching as reverse grids are to me one of the very worst gimmicks & something I have long said would be a red line for me, A gimmick too far. It would also fly in the face of Liberty, Ross & Stefano constantly saying they aren’t looking at gimmicks & don’t want gimmicks. A line Ross repeated on Sky over the weekend. That is something i’m going to hold them to.
In terms of making them a separate thing rather than how they decide the grid for the GP, I’d still be against that because I still don’t like how having extra races at certain events with points on offer then make more race weekends more important & more valuable than others. For me every race should run to the same format with the same amount of points available.
Looking at this season for example I still fail to get why Silverstone, Monza & Brazil (Should the final sprint be held there) are more valuable with 6 extra points on offer than other races. There’s nothing special about those venues, There’s no reason for them to be more valuable just as there was no reason for Abu Dhabi to be more valuable thanks to double points in 2014.
We’ve had 2 of these weekends now & I simply don’t like the format, I don’t like how it changes & affects the way the weekend feels/plays out & I simply don’t like the sprint itself or the extra points it offers at select venues. It simply doesn’t work for me & none of the suggestions i’ve seen do anything but make me like the format even less than I already do.
16th September 2021, 14:54
Should be some race weekends.
16th September 2021, 14:56
As with any trial, what initially needs is a proper definition before they started of what they are trying to achieve, a definition of criteria that will demonstrate that and a way to quantify that (metric) rather than a desperate qualitative expression.
“Increasing entertainment and interest” furfiles none of those needs.
It is after all, the way any marketing or engineering project would start.
I believe this is not a unique type of event; its been used in many lower series and other motorsports. Surely there is a lot of analysis on that.
And thinking about ‘increasing interest’. Is that really the top criteria. F1 (FOM) is a business with stakeholders to satisfy. I think amorphous fans watching TV or at the track, is a long way below the share valuation and dividends (?) of Liberty Media.
16th September 2021, 15:39
Entertainment will always be qualitative, but so long as you define interest well, that does fulfil the criteria of being a quantitative metric. For instance, putting ticket sales and viewing figures into an equation with some factors to adjust for current world wide trends could well define an interest value which is quantitative.
Roth Man (@rdotquestionmark)
16th September 2021, 15:03
It’s just an extended overall race basically. Starting on Sat, red flagged and carried on Sunday. The only excitement is the fact artificially the race gets 2 standing starts and 2 lap 1’s now.
Why not have a quali for main race Friday and the sprint race is a standalone half points (or less) race that’s done in reverse championship order but has no impact on the Sunday race. At least then it would be exciting and force overtaking.
Or better yet just don’t fix what wasn’t broken.
16th September 2021, 15:44
I thought the same thing, but see it as a positive.
I did think that the racers would see the sprint as a lower-risk way to make up places: If you have a big crash in the sprint, you start from the back but can repair the car, whereas if you have a big crash in the race you’re out. Unfortunately, they are all looking at it as 2 completely separate events, where making up a grid spot is seen as been less valuable than making up a place in the race but losing places is too big a risk….
16th September 2021, 15:04
The start/lap one is all you really need plus usually the most exciting.
If it is going to count for qualifying then have 3 short exciting races:
S3: 3 lap race with 20 drivers. Last 5 are eliminated. 3-2-1 points for 1st-3rd.
S2: 3 lap race with 15 drivers starting in order of S3. Last 5 are eliminated.
S1: 5 lap race with top 10 drivers starting in finishing order of S2. 10-8-6-5-4-3-2-1 points for 1st-8th.
Could be a separate event – not the grid for the main race.
Wish we didn’t need this – maybe next years cars will make this better but why not try?
16th September 2021, 15:05
I’m still a fan of two qualifying sessions across the Friday and Saturday with an aggregate time. If each has a free practice session beforehand, it gives drivers and teams chance to adapt set-up’s & strategy, recover from (or risk) errors pushing, and also adds the variable that the weather may change from one session to the other. Teams would also have to gamble on how much they put into each session on tyre/engine wear.
If they want to keep the Sprint, maybe have it as a non-championship competition with Bernie’s medals and big prize money up for grabs rather than championship points. Fans never get to see the $ factor like in golf or tennis so it may add something different or kudos being an World F1 Sprint Champs.
16th September 2021, 15:06
Maybe it’s also the time to talk about how “easy”, prescriptive and predictable the cars and the tracks are ?
People able to do the exact same thing for 50+ laps on layouts where no differentiation is possible is a problem.
Certainly Extreme E isn’t the best example, but despite the very short actual race content, the ending is absolutely impossible to predict and it’s quite entertaining.
Make the cars more difficult to drive (more torque, less grip), circuits with alternate trajectories, maybe even joker laps like in WRX, or like someone suggested have rookies run the cars on saturday with WCC points only.
I love the actual format for the full race, but with sprints maybe there is room for something much, much more different ?
16th September 2021, 15:26
Don’t let Sprint Qualifying decide Sunday’s race grid order.
16th September 2021, 15:56
Simple fix: pour water on the track before the sprint race.
16th September 2021, 15:58
Why not put the Sprint race as the 1st fixture on a Friday, before any practice is done. Noone then is dialled in and going only on specs from simulations. But what about grid positions? Just use the standings fro. The last race as order of the grid. My biggest gripe with the sprint race idea is it could interfere with the championship or the grand prix, so just make it a mini championship of its own but give out points to the top 6 Drivers at the end (10, 8, 6, 4, 2,1).
And then in the afternoon you have FP1, and Saturday FP2 & Qualy and race on Sunday.
16th September 2021, 17:16
I like that! Sprint race instead of FP1.
For grid, either championship or reverse championship could work too.
There could be also a rule that they have to use a rookie driver. Then hand out only constructors points, so actual race drivers are not affected.
17th September 2021, 13:13
Honestly? This is miles better than any other suggestion posted.
Seriously people, your ideas aren’t even close
Alianora La Canta (@alianora-la-canta)
16th September 2021, 16:45
If there really must be a sprint (which I’m convinced is far from helping), I’d suggest having 3 laps with a rolling start instead of Q3.
16th September 2021, 17:08
I’d actually love to see a Saturday Reverse Grid Race as an experiment. A reverse of Friday Qualifying for the entire field.
Maybe 50% of the distance of a normal race, & maybe 50% of the normal points as well. Both can be tweaked if needed. Maybe add in one mandatory pit stop (free tire choice for start & pit stop).
I’d actually want the goal here to be to give every driver a legitimate chance at points. Suddenly the teams at the back have something to fight for. We get to see the fast teams make their way through the field, with a fascinating risk/reward scenario. All through the field there’s something interesting going on.
And the Reverse Grid race has nothing to do with the normal Sunday race, so the integrity of that is not impacted, as it is now with the Qualifying Sprint.
16th September 2021, 17:35
Indeed, the problem with the sprint race is that it’s too short. As much as people like to pretend that DRS makes overtaking too easy, that’s simply not true. It’s when tyre offsets create a 2s lap time delta between cars that overtaking gets easy.
The solution to make sprint races longer is even worse though. They would need to be long enough to necessitate a pitstop and then you’d simply have two races.
The current sprint race is just daft. It’s basically a start, then a very long red flag period and then the continuation of the race the next day. It adds nothing besides an extra start which can create some randomness.
If they must have a sprint and Ferrari insist on reverse grids (so they can also be seen at the front of the grid). Then at least limit that reversed to the sprint race and make the sprint race something separate. Start the full race on the normal quali order. We get some “excitement” on Saturday without destroying the core of F1 as much as the current sprint debacle does and reverse grids impacting the full race would really be an abomination.
16th September 2021, 17:42
I feel point should be given only for the position gains.. so equal opportunity for everyone to risk and reward
16th September 2021, 18:13
Here’s a crazy idea.
Leave saturdays as they are. Qualy and then parc ferme. Because it’d be an operational nightmare to do otherwise.
Fridays though, have a shakedown session (maybe shorter or with more limited rules than FP1, i don’t know), and then run a “legacy sprint” and award points to positions 1-6 in one of the old fashioned points formats. That way there’s an incentive for teams and drivers to go all out, and they would have more time to fix anything they brake and there could be a marketing link to “F1’s DNA”.
Optionally there could be special tires for the sprint, because what we have seen is that these cars work better under the philosophy of designed-to-degrade and the current sprints are a bit too long for tire degradation to really cause a difference on car handling.
Also, if they’re a sort of “old-school sprint” it could open teams to run special liveries which could help smaller team have one-event advertising partners.
16th September 2021, 18:28
Why not use it as a safe driving rehearsal for Verstappen?
16th September 2021, 19:55
3 Sprint race weekends leading up to the beginning of the season.
16th September 2021, 21:06
This sprint race thing is boring. Now Brawn is looking at adding reverse grids to it. Why are they soo determined to push for this sprint race and reverse grid ideas? Keep d quali format as is. Work on making cars more competitive able to follow and pass without too much gimicks. Have tires that dont need to stay in a thermal window but degrade quickly…
16th September 2021, 23:15
No F1 expert here but would one mandatory pitstop add some action to the Sprint race?
17th September 2021, 0:33
Ross wanted reverse grid sprints because his masters did – either that or he found Bernie’s weed stash.
Teams, drivers and fans reject it on the basis that it’s a stupid idea (and that Ross didn’t share any of Bernie’s weed)
Ross brilliantly changes from reverse grid to using normal qualifying to start the sprint and shares out Bernie’s weed until the teams agree to “trial” it.
In the cold hard light of day, they find that the sprint format sucks.
After a big night on Bernie’s weed, one of the team principals says “perhaps this disaster might improve a bit if we reverse the grids”
Ross gleefully seizes on that and viola – reverse grids are back baby!!! (And we still haven’t smoked all of Bernie’s stash so ideas are bubbling up big time)
And of course we all saw this coming. After showing some promise, we’re back where we were. I hate to think what F1 will turn in to if Ross’s great new cars end up not delivering.
17th September 2021, 0:42
Why not do something like a 100 km tag team sprint on a Friday afternoon. Teammates start from either the pitlane or from P1 and P2 on the grid and teams released time apart rally style. Rule is that teammates should alternately lead a lap except the last one. Best team time earn constructor points.
17th September 2021, 10:44
Love this idea too… I’m all for something that shows off the aspect of working as a team more in F1.
17th September 2021, 13:11
oh dear lord
17th September 2021, 3:47
Since the first few laps are the most exciting, why not use the same trick F1 used with qualifying: split the 1 100km sprint to 3 30km sprint.
Now that would be a proper sprint, not just a short race.
This way we get to see a totally unique event (no grand prix dilution) and the exciting race start 3 times. The enjoyment of watching prolonged wheel-to-wheel racing can be preserved for the main race. The 3-part sprint would then introduce a totally different kind of spectacle revolved around race starts and close battles.
What do you all think? Will this be too artificial or make the grid too random? Or could it work?
17th September 2021, 9:19
How about changing qualifying on the Friday so Q1 is a single lap quail to set the grid for the Sprint race as a stand alone race. Then use the rest of qualifying to set the grid for the Grand Prix on Sunday? What does everyone else think?
I do understand what they are trying to do, the desired outcome is action across the 3 days, maintain the Grand Prix for Sunday with the addition of an action packed mini Grand Prix on the Saturday where the drivers can take risks and not ruin their race for Sunday.
17th September 2021, 10:02
I LOVE the idea of a reverse championship grid for the sprint race (with the sprint race maybe having 1/2 or 1/3 points). I really don’t understand why anyone other than the leading teams don’t want it. It has many positives:
1) Quali goes back to traditional “the fastest car in qualifying gets pole position for the GP”. The lack of this from the current sprint format is a big downside in my opinion
2) It would be a great spectacle. As there are real points on offer the top drivers would have to cut their way through the field. As their GP start position is unaffected, they can take more risks.
3) It will continually force the championship to be tight. It will keep the mid-field teams much more in touch with the championship, particularly if they’re actually pretty close in performance to the top teams (as they will be able to hold them off in the sprint races).
If such a format does work, then I’d love to see it in operation for every GP. Personally, I’d put qualifying on Saturday morning, with the Sprint on Saturday afternoon, but I’m sure there are pros and cons for different schedules.
17th September 2021, 13:03
nothing quite says “spectacle” quite like watching cars that are 1-5 seconds faster than everyone else DRS overtaking slower cars
17th September 2021, 10:06
Reverse grids would literally be a joke, if I want artificial results WWF is usually on somewhere which I won’t watch if you paid me as fake results are boring. Why not give each driver a script a week before an event and tell them where to finish and what to say if a “show” is so important to Liberty.
17th September 2021, 10:40
I just don’t understand why people think that… Why would it be a joke? Why would it be a script? It would be a race like any other, but it would force drivers to overtake in order to be well placed. It will show off real racecraft. One of the great things to watch are races where a particular fast driver is “out of position” and we watch them carve their way through the field. Now imagine watching that scenario, but where all the quick drivers are also battling with each other while trying to move through the field.
Now, further than this, if reverse grids were a significant part of the championship, think about the impact it would have on car design. It would absolutely mean that you have to design (and set-up) your car in order to be able to work well in traffic and be able to overtake. It will massively reduce the chance of cars being designed with the sole intent of just running away at the front of the grid, but struggling to overtake when out of position.
Now, you need to be careful not to reverse a grid in a way where it means teams purposefully “do worse” in order to benefit from the reversing, but that’s why you do it by championship position. Of course, at the margin there may still be some slight games (as there is with every aspect of every sport, and particularly F1), but it will mean that the vast majority of the time, the best thing for any driver to do is be best placed in any given quali or race.
17th September 2021, 13:01
It rewards mediocrity while punishing success. And you DON’T think that’s a joke?
17th September 2021, 13:07
Why people criticise WWE for being fake is beyond me. Do you criticise ALL movies for being fake? aliens didn’t really blow up the white house you know. Bruce Willis isn’t really dead by the way. Tom Hanks doesn’t really part own a shrimping company. Arnold Schwarzenegger isn’t really a robot sent through time for the record.
Criticise WWE because it is boring? Yeah, by all means, but to criticise it for being fake just makes you a hypocrite
18th September 2021, 11:55
Are you 12? WWE is a SCRIPTED show, hence fake wrestling. By the way Santa Clause hasn’t been the one bringing your presents the last 12 years, sorry kid.
17th September 2021, 10:43
What about some form of Team Event for Constructors Points only instead?
We know how important the Constructors Championship is for the teams & this would give us an event to bring that to us as viewers too, as well as the chance to see the whole team working together. It would need to give a decent chunk of points to be worth it to the teams.
Race format would be almost like a relay – one driver starts, races to a “pitstop”, then the second driver comes out in their car & takes over to the finish (with a min/max distance to ensure both drivers get a fair crack but enough wiggle room to encourage teams to try an undercut/overcut).
Obviously, car sharing probably isn’t possible, so we’d have both cars in play. There could be some jeopardy in the changeover too – as the pitcrew would need to execute the “changeover pitstop” as quickly as possible – eg. They can’t fire up Car #2 until Car #1 is in and the driver is out of the car. We could even have some form of physical handover between the drivers as we see in relay events in other sports.
Starting order could be determined by either the team’s highest position at the last race or FP1/Qualy depending when in the weekend the Team Event was held.
17th September 2021, 13:10
So have less overtaking due to their being less cars? okay. Let me tell you what effect that would have on the championship:
2 RED BULL RACING HONDA
3 MCLAREN MERCEDES
5 ALPINE RENAULT
6 ALPHATAURI HONDA
7 ASTON MARTIN MERCEDES
8 WILLIAMS MERCEDES
9 ALFA ROMEO RACING FERRARI
10 HAAS FERRARI
Does that order look familiar?
17th September 2021, 18:51
I figured the starting order would at least get a bit shaken up (e.g. McLaren would get pole because of winning at Monza) in a more organic way than a reverse grid but yeah fair enough, it would mean less overtaking.
But I still think (if a new format must be kept – I’m still on the fence about it) then some sort of Team Event, different & distinct from the Grand Prix itself is the way to go to add some importance to the new event, without damaging the existing format too much.
17th September 2021, 11:02
It feels really premature to be deciding on this when the cars are going to change so much next year and should be able to race much closer (and if they can’t then everyone has failed miserably). At least in 2022 these races could and should actually open up some excitement.
I absolutely agree the sprint race should be just that, and NOT be a qualifier for the main event. Just have quali on Friday and that qualifying gives the grids for both the sprint and main race. The sprint lets us see them driving all out in soft tyres only while the main race gives us the traditional “marathon” where strategies come more into play.
I always hated that the sprint acts as a qualifying and it could really punish some drivers for having a bit of bad luck on Saturday.
17th September 2021, 13:00
You penalise drivers for “unsafe release” but yet refuse to punish drivers for their embarrassing behaviour in friday qualifying
18th September 2021, 13:01
Sprint race was the first Qualifying in the last 25 years that I deliberately missed. It is so bad to watch! Make it a seperate race or just cancel it. No way it can be compared to the real Qualifying session!
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