Gasly “wasn’t a big fan” of F1’s first three sprint races

2022 Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix

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Pierre Gasly admitted he wasn’t keen on Formula 1’s sprint race format after its introduction last year.

F1 is trialling the sprint format at another three events during 2022, starting this weekend at Imola. Speaking to RaceFans in an exclusive interview, the AlphaTauri driver said he hopes F1 settles on a consistent race weekend format in future.

Gasly admitted last year’s sprint races hadn’t gone well for him. “I clearly don’t have a love relationship with the sprint race just based on the pure results point of view,” he said. “Last year’s been quite shocking for us every time with a sprint race.”

However he hopes the changes to F1 cars for this season makes for more exciting sprint races. “At the end of the day, based on last year, I wasn’t a big fan. But I’m not [saying] it has absolutely no place in Formula 1.

“I think it’s good that we try it this year and hopefully just for consistency it might be better to stick to one format in the future. But let’s see how it goes this year. Maybe with these cars, new regulations, new cars, we get a lot better show and everybody loves it. Time will tell.”

The extra Saturday races will now award more points, with eight for the winner down to one point for eighth place.

As before, the sprint races will also decide the starting grid for the grand prix. However F1 has said the driver who is quickest in Friday’s qualifying session will be officially regarded as the pole position winner.

Charles Leclerc said the adjustment to the rules won’t lead him to change his approach to sprint weekends.

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“Last year you weren’t taking too much risk in the sprint because it will affect a lot the starting position for the main race,” he said. “So it won’t change the approach.

Gasly crashes out of Monza sprint race
“But I think it’s right to at least award points for the sprint qualifying race because it still is a race. We’re still racing and it’s good to have some more points available.”

Leclerc said F1 should consider making the sprint events standalone races which only award points and do not change the starting grid for the grand prix.

“This could be a thing, I think, because this will help us to take a bit more risk maybe during sprint qualifying without losing too much on the Sunday in case you do a mistake,” he said. “It could add a bit of value, of excitement for the Saturday. So this actually could be a good idea.”

However Lance Stroll said he “wouldn’t want to see that change” to the format.

“I like the way it is,” said the Aston Martin driver. “The risk [and] reward, I thought that was the whole idea of the sprint race to make it interesting for the fans. I think it’s nice to see drivers that are maybe further back fight for positions on Sunday.”

Read RaceFans’ full exclusive interview with Pierre Gasly next week

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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3 comments on “Gasly “wasn’t a big fan” of F1’s first three sprint races”

  1. F1 should consider making the sprint events standalone races which only award points and do not change the starting grid for the grand prix.


    1. At this point in time, I’m ready for more or less this, but I’ll throw in the gimmick to spice things up: The grid should be reverse order based on current championship standings (and not based on the weekend’s qualifying).

  2. I don’t think the awarding of more points will change anything as i have never believed the thought that drivers who aren’t racing for points don’t race just as hard to move forward as those who are.

    When they expanded points to 8th and later 10th a narrative that was pushed by some was that we would see better/harder racing in the mid field but in reality nothing changed as the racing was always better and harder fought in the mid field when compared to the front as the mid field has always tended to be more compact & competitive.

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