Carlos Sainz Jnr, Ferrari, Monza, 2021

Sprint qualifying races less exciting than regular qualifying – Sainz

RaceFans Round-up

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In the round-up: Carlos Sainz Jnr says Formula 1 needs to find a way to add excitement to its new sprint qualifying races.

In brief

Sprint qualifying format needs more excitement – Sainz

Sainz believes F1’s new format experiment has been worthwhile as it gives teams a limited amount of time to prepare their cars with a single practice session before qualifying.

“Friday is clearly improved for everyone, it’s progress,” he said. “I think [first practice] is exciting because you know you cannot put a foot wrong and you need to learn.

“For the teams, with the amount of simulation tools there are nowadays, it forces the teams to be modern, to be up-to-date and to be on top of the simulations to try and put together a good car on Friday already. Teams nowadays have enough tools to make that happen as you see here in Monza and Silverstone.”

But Sainz still sees room for improvement after Saturday’s underwhelming sprint qualifying race. “We need to find a way to make Saturday a bit more exciting because at the moment I don’t think it’s giving much excitement compared to Saturday qualifying,” he said.

“I don’t see the sprint qualifying being more exciting than a Saturday qualifying. So we need to find a way to make something more more exciting for everyone.”

Hamilton’s crash escape “not lucky”

Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton crash, Monza, 2021
Verstappen’s car landed on Hamilton’s Halo
Engineering – not luck – should be credited for the performance of the Halo which protected Lewis Hamilton in his Monza crash, according to an engineer at Cranfield University, where the head protection device was developed.

Clive Temple, the Motorsport MSc programme director and senior lecturer at the Advanced Vehicle Engineering Centre at Cranfield University, said: “Hamilton was not lucky – it is a fact that engineering and science underpin all of this work which ensures drivers are safe. Safety is the primary concern in motorsport.”

“The Halo is exceptionally strong and is integral to other safety critical elements within the car,” he added. “Hamilton experiencing Verstappen’s car coming on top is probably around the equivalent of close to a London double decker bus landing on top of the car.

“The current Halo is designed to withstand 100 kilonewtons – 10.2 tonnes – and a modern double decker is around 12 tonnes or so. 10.2 tonnes is also the equivalent of two African elephants landing on the race car. This is a very strong structure indeed.”

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Comment of the day

F1 is going in the wrong direction with car weight, says Phil:

I have never been sure why F1 introduced the larger wheels and brakes for 2022. If the cars have had the smaller wheels for this many years then why not continue. It just seems like extra weight for no good reason. These are supposed to be ‘racing’ cars.

However, we are where we are. I would just tell the teams to get over their bleating and get on with it. They employ some the best engineers and designers in the world so I am sure they are capable of designing a car to meet the minimum weight limit. They might need to make a few cuts elsewhere but I think they should just get on with it.

It has been documented many times that the drivers say they would prefer weight to be kept to a minimum. More nimble and ideally shorter, lighter cars are what the sport should be aiming for.
Phil Norman (@Phil-f1-21)

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Keith Collantine
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  • 38 comments on “Sprint qualifying races less exciting than regular qualifying – Sainz”

    1. Carlos is right, and I don’t think there is a way to have a genuine race (however “sprint” or “qualifying” you may want to call it) that ends in a crescendo comparable to 10 drivers going all out against the clock and hitting the chequered flag in under a minute.

      The simple truth is that this qualifying format has resisted change for a reason. It’s the most exciting we’ve had in 70 years.

      1. @proesterchen +1

        I also have to agree with @Phil-f1-21 post.

        +1 on having the Halo, I was originally against it but very glad I was proven wrong about it.

      2. If sprint qually engines would be allowed, outside of the 3 engines yearly limitation, and no fuel restrictions, it might get interesting. The sprint will then be very much going all out with screaming cars doing 20.000 rpm. Goosebumps then !

      3. I disagree with Sainz. Because the comparison of sprint race and qualifying doesn’t add up, as one is complementary to the other, not a substitution.
        I disagree with you. Because I think qualifying is much more exciting when drivers have only 1 shot to put in their best lap. It puts a lot more emphasis on the driver, which is welcome in times wherein the cars make up 95% of the pace and results.

    2. Carlos has spent all his F1 career at teams that have the sorts of budgets that can afford the very best simulation tools.

      I’m wondering whether the lower budget teams at the back half would agree that team all have sufficient simulation tools to know how to set up their cars before they get to the track.

      It seems to me that shortening practice sessions favours the big teams which is something F1 should at least try to avoid.

      1. It seems to me that shortening practice sessions favours the big teams which is something F1 should at least try to avoid.

        @dbradock Except that pretty much anything introduced to favour the smaller teams is argued against and blocked for being ‘unfair’ and ‘not F1’ – non-meritocratic even.
        Can you think of anything ‘meritocratic’ in F1 that doesn’t favour the biggest teams with the most resources?

        1. That is complete rubbish. The teams didn’t push for shorter practice sessions, Liberty/F1 did to “spice up the show”

          Having adequate practice doesn’t prevent a meritocracy, just gives those with a lower budget the chance to fine tune their performance “manually” rather than relying on sub par modelling tools. That at least gives them a better chance of competing on merit.

          1. Yet more track time is more beneficial to those teams with the ability to extract, dissect and interpret more data, simulate it overnight (or in real time), run comms/data back and forth with the factory and then implement the most accurate changes to the car for the following session.

            The big teams win either way.
            There’s no arguing against it. That’s why the teams that can be big – are.

    3. The problem with reducing practice & simply relying on teams simulators is that the net result of that is less opportunities for fans to see cars on track because all of the simulator running & simulation tools are of course done behind closed doors.

      As i’ve said many times in the past the fantastic thing about practice is that it gives fans an opportunity to walk about the circuit and watch from different places, Something You don’t want to do for the more serious sessions when you want to be paying attention to laptimes, running order, strategy & so on.

      Even watching on TV the more laid back atmosphere for practice sessions gives you an opportunity to just watch the cars, Look at the various different driving styles/lines & how each car is handling the circuit. And it also gives broadcasters time to engage with the audience a bit with social media, Discuss any news & of course have a pit reporter patrolling the pits/paddock looking for updates.

      The shift towards less actual track time with the (IMO awful, Anti-Fan) testing ban or the reduced practice time is simply robbing fans of opportunities to watch & enjoy the cars. You can argue that Friday qualifying & Sprint races is better due to it giving more meaningful action (Although i’d argue that practice is also meaningful running) but when your having to watch laptimes, strategies, running orders etc.. you never have time to just watch, analyse & enjoy the cars or walk the circuit to watch them in different places.

      On that point of walking about the circuit, I know that maybe some don’t care to do that but i’ll tell you why it’s something I always loved doing & why I honestly recommend it to anyone attending a racetrack. If you sit in one location you may get an appreciation for one element of a car’s performance, But it’s when you watch them from different places & see all the various elements that go into it (Braking, acceleration, turn-in, direction change, high speed cornering & top speed) that you finally get to truly appreciate how amazing these cars truly are.

      And again in terms of simulators, We don’t get to see any of that & even if we did it wouldn’t match watching the real thing either in person or on TV.

      Reply moderated
    4. I have never been sure why F1 introduced the larger wheels and brakes for 2022

      Well you havent paid much attention then. Visual appeal, technological relevance and improved performance are all reasons. It was a big topic at the time with not many being against it. They were nearly brought in years ago.

      They employ some the best engineers and designers in the world so I am sure they are capable of designing a car to meet the minimum weight limit.

      That’s obtuse. They’re the best in the world so I’m sure I know better 🤦‍♂️

      1. @skipgamer

        Tristan, the condescending verbiage in your post to @Phil-f1-21 comment is not necessary nor nice. The two comments you made to his post are not that valid.

        I’ve actually have paid much attention to this and been involved in the sport for a long time and can tell you the 18″ size increases is more of a marketing scheme than anything else; its more for visual things. Everything you listed is less valid other than the visual appeal (which is subjective).

        The real technological relevance is the sidewall height & structure of the tire, not increasing the size to 18″ diameter. They could have easily reduced sidewall of tires and keep current rims and use that data for road tires but that would go in the opposite direction for marketing needs. F1 cars are an entirely different animal and platform to any road car. The weight, dynamics and type of surfaces these F1 cars drive on have no relation to what road cars experience; it’s apples and oranges. F1 car is a closer cousin to a Kart than a road car (or at least it use to be).
        To suit the 18″ wheels, everything must be beefed up in the chassis to handle the extra mass in the wheels, especially the suspension and braking; it’s exponential in dealing with all the increased spinning weight and energy; it’s a very big change and increase in the car weight is needed to accommodate all of this this.
        F1 race tracks are much smoother than roads and F1 cars is so much lighter that it only needs so much volume & diameter out of the tires. The real thing that tire manufactures wanted, is to develop and test new tech for tires with shorter sidewalls, that is more relevant to road cars. The physics and mass that these new 18″ wheels is out of sync with the size of a F1 chassis, the ratio is massive now and out of sync. A lower side wall tire will increase the cars driving performance allowing better lap times but can also be smaller out diameter. The funny thing is Pirelli and other past tire company PR execs were not too crazy about going to a smaller sidewall because they would a lose product label size making it harder for viewers to read Pirelli on the side of the car; hence less advertising value. Double edge sword.

        In regards to cars keeping the minimum weight and not increasing is a valid comment. Yes they’re the best engineers in the world are working hard at it. With them voicing concerns making it, it’s typical for teams as a group to go to FIA to work together for solutions on valid issues., this could also mean FIA could adjust some parameters to help teams meet the weight schedule. The weight increases are getting out of hand, slowly but surely the cars keep getting heavier and with the new 2026 PU and car regs coming up, it’s going to get even heavier, probably by a lot. If thats the case and keeps going up, then yes F1 cars will need bigger wheels that suit heavy cars.

        For ages and not so long ago, F1 kept to a 600kg car weight, they’re now over 400 pounds heavier. F1 cars in 1994 were only 504kg, that’s over 600lbs lighter; of course they were dangerous as hell but the difference and direction in weight is massive. So yes, it’s a fair comment that F1 should try to keep weight down without sacrificing safety and performance.

        Like Phil Norman, I too believe that the best engineers and designers in the world can meet the minimum weight but not if FIA & car manufacturer teams keep adding stuff without giving engineers time & money to keep up.

        1. @redpill Why would the next PU concept necessarily increase weight? No one even knows what that’s going to be like, so impossible to be sure. Maybe it’ll feature fewer components & cars may have a smaller fuel tank, etc., which would automatically reduce some weight. Premature for speculation.

          1. @jerejj Actually teams and manufacturers have very recently been holding advance talks about changes needed for the next regs. Not written in stone but agreed that the new regs will be delayed an additional year to 2026 and that MGU-H will no longer be used; it’s out for 2026. While MGU-H’s are extremely beneficial for F1 PU output as it has a very powerful output to weight ratio and beautifully ties together the ICE and MGU-K output curve but holds no economic value to car manufacturers so its getting canned to help attract new teams.
            If 2026 cars are to keep up lap times that we’ll be seeing in the 2022 cars, then they have to make up for the MGU-H but anything replacing it will have less power output to weight ratio. The proposed talks are to increase the battery size, increase the MGU-K to 350K and have a generator in front to (only) harvest energy from the front wheels with a differential driveshaft. All of this will weigh much more and take up more space than what you would get out of a MGU-H component for the equal energy. Hence, cars will be heavier
            Then add the FOM demand to use more non-fossil bio fuel, these bio fuels as of now do not have the same energy density as fossil fuel. To match the same energy output and mileage distance that comes from fossil fuel you’ll then need to use to make up for it with more fuel, hence more weight and larger tank size than what we have now. Because of that, they’re hoping to reduce the ICE size as it’s less efficient and try to make up for it in harvesting and larger battery which is also heavy. Again, none of this is written in stone and everything can change or get nixed but so far this is the general direction they’re heading.

            1. PS> Pleas don’t quote me :)

            2. @redpill Pat Symonds has mentioned going below 75 kg in maximum permitted capacity stating energy density, which would allow for a smaller tank. Also, races can be shorter as 305 km isn’t a definite must.
              Every circuit could feature the minimum lap count needed for 260 km like Monaco and still be long enough.

            3. @jerejj Thanks for the article, interesting read. My post was based on if they’re keeping the general FIA rules and time/distances being used now and in place. Reducing distance and laps certainly could help fuel loads. There is a ton of things thats FOM & FIA could change to reduce weight by changing the rules.
              Having an active aerodynamic system could certainly help, as we all know these cars have an amazing amount of induced downforce needing tremendous HP.
              Using an active systems in F1 has been something in general that FIA has greatly tried to avoid at all cost based on the past history of having to deal with it; it’s a very slippery slope going down that road. I guess if they designed and agreed to a production version made by one supplier for all the teams to use, the exact same system to help avoid the all sneaky shenanigans of the past? They would also have to throw out the brand new aero package that FOM just came up with and will have create an entirely new and different package for that to happen, I don’t see that happening anytime soon unless the 2022 car package badly fails to produce what’s been advertised.
              One thing about the article and his comment about synthetic fuels producing more energy per kilogram than conventional petrol. As of right now and correct me if I’m wrong but I’m unaware of any biofuel that’s producing more power per kg & volume than fossil fuel? Not to say that they wont create one. It’s also a lot of fuel to make, they need about 4000+ gallons each weekend to supply all the teams.

              PS> There was already a tremendous amount of weight savings found and utilized in the 2022 chassis with 18″ wheels to make up for all the added suspension systems & travel necessary to handle/replace all the suspension and ride quality that the current balloon tires offered. I think the current large volume air tires supply almost 60% of suspension in current car? Air is very light, so is smaller rims. Going to 18″ tires means heavier rims and and much less air volume that the chassis will have to make up for. Engineers did an amazing job finding weight savings to accommodate the suspension changes and increased loads.

            4. @redpill the term “synthetic fuel” is generally being used to represent fuel mixtures that have been formed from synthesising carbon dioxide and hydrogen – in a number of cases, it’s basically just a variation of the Fischer–Tropsch process, which has been around for nearly a century now – and is therefore completely different to the concept of a biofuel.

        2. Thank you @redpill for your extensive reply and explaining in detail the points I was seeking to make, in a more detailed way.

          I do remember the debate about the wheels/tires a couple of years ago and I am pretty sure the point was made by several people on this site that the increases were to a large degree to do with marketing.

          1. @phil-f1-21

            Phil, no worries. I have no idea what Tristan @skipgamer is going on about; he must know something that even leading F1 racing engineers and designers don’t know :)

            Yes, there was a ton of discussions about this subject several years ago and a general view on it in the paddock.

            Even James Allison has been quoted: “The sort of balloon-type tyre that you see on our cars today and have seen on racing cars for decades is a really good solution for going quickly” & “All things being equal the bigger rims, low-profile rubber is always going to be a worse tyre than the sort of tyres that we have on our racing car today“. But what the hell does he know :)

        3. They could have easily reduced sidewall of tires and keep current rims

          Stopped reading there, you have NFI.

      2. Cars would become much safer by cutting a couple hundred kg.

        1. @peartree Correct; If they kept the same safety standard specs in place, then Yes it would be a much safer car for the driver if they were able to reduce a couple of hundred of Kg’s. I would love to see that happen but that’s an insane amount of weight for a F1 car to lose.

    5. AJ (@asleepatthewheel)
      18th September 2021, 2:54

      Seeing Rosberg in the archives column made me realise it has been 5 years already. Sheesh time flies!

    6. Possibility to fill Saturday:
      Sprint race before lunch (Friday is now sprint race qually).
      Race Qually late afternoon: 16-20, 11-16, 6-11, 1-6, ten minute session each – top driver in each session progresses to the next. So one chance for a driver with a disaster in sprint race to reclaim some places (at the cost of tyres).

      Reply moderated
    7. An obvious way of reducing some overall weight is a smaller fuel tank, which hopefully would happen earlier, not by reintroducing refuelling, but using a different fuel type.
      As for the next PU concept, hopefully, a simpler one featuring fewer components.

    8. I disagree with Carlos… it’s not any less exciting, but it’s certainly not any more

      Problem is, these cars still lack the ability to pass each other, hopefully this will be better next year

      I still think they have quali & sprint race the wrong way round and the race should be on a Friday

      If we used sprint race at events where quali becomes farcical like Monza, to decide the order the set a lap in, we could use reverse grid, and the prize for winning would be to choose whether to go out first (if rain expected) or last in quali

      That would then have a small impact on mixing up the grid for Sunday

    9. Maybe so but regular qualifying at monza was embarrassing for f1 for the 3rd year running.

      How teams can be punished for unsafe release in the pits but drivers not punished for driving at nearly 200mph less than the usual speed on straights is a mystery

      1. Well, they can’t do the (full) 200mph more if they don’t also do slow laps to charge up the battery Jeff, and doing a slower lap afterwards when they go to the pits will always happen; making the margin smaller has been tried, as well as limiting where they slow down; but with a tow being up to 0.7s, and that charging needing to happen (they aren’t allowed to charge it with a cable in the pits, after all), and in addition with extra limits on what you are allowed to do to get the tyres warm in the pits, it all means that just not allowing any of it would probably also turn out rather farcical (you’d likely need ‘quali’ tyres that then fall apart in a sprint, let alone the race).

    10. Double-Decker buses and African elephants are not units of weight.

      Please stop

      Reply moderated
    11. They manage it fine on just about every other course
      .

      It’s beyond farcical now, watching drivers at 200mph having to weave through drivers going at 50 will end up getting someone killed, and no doubt they will blame everyone else when it is their iwn fault

    12. The amount of adverts popping up over this article is making it near impossible to read

      1. Subscribe for a pound a month!

        1. Or use a pc, it’s np even without sub.

    13. The problem with reducing practice & simply relying on teams simulators is that the net result of that is less opportunities for fans to see cars on track because all of the simulator running & simulation tools are of course done behind closed doors.

      As i’ve said many times in the past the fantastic thing about practice is that it gives fans an opportunity to walk about the circuit and watch from different places, Something You don’t want to do for the more serious sessions when you want to be paying attention to laptimes, running order, strategy & so on.

      Even watching on TV the more laid back atmosphere for practice sessions gives you an opportunity to just watch the cars, Look at the various different driving styles/lines & how each car is handling the circuit. And it also gives broadcasters time to engage with the audience a bit with social media, Discuss any news & of course have a pit reporter patrolling the pits/paddock looking for updates.

      The shift towards less actual track time with the (Un-fan friendly testing ban or the reduced practice time is simply robbing fans of opportunities to watch & enjoy the cars. You can argue that Friday qualifying & Sprint races is better due to it giving more meaningful action (Although i’d argue that practice is also meaningful running) but when your having to watch laptimes, strategies, running orders etc.. you never have time to just watch, analyse & enjoy the cars or walk the circuit to watch them in different places.

      On that point of walking about the circuit, I know that maybe some don’t care to do that but i’ll tell you why it’s something I always loved doing & why I honestly recommend it to anyone attending a racetrack. If you sit in one location you may get an appreciation for one element of a car’s performance, But it’s when you watch them from different places & see all the various elements that go into it (Braking, acceleration, turn-in, direction change, high speed cornering & top speed) that you finally get to truly appreciate how amazing these cars truly are.

      And again in terms of simulators, We don’t get to see any of that & even if we did it wouldn’t match watching the real thing either in person or on TV.

      Reply moderated
    14. Re Sainz: Yep. And don’t let it decide the grid for Sunday’s race from now on.
      Re Hamilton/Verstappen: Racing incident 100%. Don’t think so? Racing incident 200%.
      Also five years ago on this day: A giant lizard crossed the track, but back in free practice though.

    15. Marge Sutcliffe
      21st September 2021, 2:41

      I think Sprint Races are a stupid waste of time, and is aimed only at getting bums on seats during the week.

      Reply moderated

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