Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Spa-Francorchamps, 2022

F1 shouldn’t have sprint races every weekend like Moto GP, say drivers

2022 Belgian Grand Prix

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Formula 1 drivers don’t want the series to adopt Moto GP’s plan of holding sprint races every weekend.

The motorbike series announced last week every round in 2023 will include an extra sprint race held after qualifying on Saturdays. F1 began experimenting with a similar format last year but has only held three per season so far.

Max Verstappen, who has won both sprint events so far this year, says the format has added little to F1 and doesn’t want to have the extra races every weekend. “I would not enjoy it,” he admitted. “I just don’t like it.

“I think that Sunday emotion and feeling should be special. That’s the only time you race. That’s how I grew up racing, anyway: Sunday is the day to race.

“Anyway, so far, from the sprint races we’ve had, not a lot has drastically changed in terms of results. More or less everyone starts on the same tyre and that’s where you finish because you are scared to have a crash or whatever because [then you] start in the back for the main race where the big coins are.

“Everyone is also a bit like, ‘okay, just make sure we finish the race without any trouble’. So that’s not what you want really.”

AlphaTauri driver Yuki Tsunoda said he was “surprised that Moto GP’s doing that” when he learned of the series’ plans. He also isn’t convinced F1 should do the same.

“I don’t think there’s a benefit to every race weekend doing sprint qualifying. Sprint qualifying is kind of a special thing to have rather than just doing every race weekend and that’s why sprint qualifying is fun to watch sometimes.

“It’s not like we want to see it every time, I think. Especially [with] this busy, tight schedule. So I think we don’t have to [have] that much sprint qualifying in Formula 1.”

Valtteri Bottas also doesn’t want a calendar full of sprint events, but echoed F1 president Stefano Domenicali’s recent call to cut the amount of practice at race weekends.

“I don’t think we need to have sprints every weekend,” he said. “But just less practice.”

He wants to see “more action” instead of practice running. “At the moment if I would choose sprint or not sprint I would say sprint just because immediately we’re straight into action on Friday.”

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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...
Claire Cottingham
Claire has worked in motorsport for much of her career, covering a broad mix of championships including Formula One, Formula E, the BTCC, British...

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17 comments on “F1 shouldn’t have sprint races every weekend like Moto GP, say drivers”

  1. Why should some Grand Prix weekends be worth more points than others?

    Sprint races would only make sense if they are part of every race weekend. Or none.

  2. The difference with MotoGP’s approach is that the qualifying results decide the grid for both the Sprint Race on the Saturday and the main race on the Sunday.

    That makes far more sense and gives fans a proper ‘race’ rather than the try-not-to-crash-athon that we get in F1.

  3. More and more it sounds like Domenicali has totally sold out to Liberty Investment and I don’t think can he can trusted by what he say now a days and is not necessarily speaking what is best for the F1 racing community and long term fans; instead what he says now days sounds bonkers and opposite to the way he use to speak years ago before he was put on Liberty’s payroll.

    Listen first to the drivers and engineers who are not on Liberty’s payroll and actively racing, they know how to race and want to race as best as they can. They’re willing to do what they can to win races and make better race cars that are set up properly for the weekend. This is what we want to see and not some cheap illusion of motor racing envisioned and fabricated by an american financial money group.

  4. Bottas wants less practice time? His team have already helped him with that this season. He’s missed more FP time than anyone else!

    1. Ahah, that’s a good one!

    2. So he knows the best!

  5. just because immediately we’re straight into action on Friday.

    Thats actually one of the main reasons I don’t like the sprint format.

    I like how a normal weekend starts out slow & then builds up to the GP on Sunday. I like how you start out slow with FP1 been a chance to get into the weekend a bit, Look out for car upgrades & see how there performing. Then FP2 gets a bit more important with early qualifying sims & race runs, FP3 builds in importance more with it been about qualifying preparation & then you get into the main action with qualifying leading into the GP. It just has a better flow & builds up tension/excitement as each session goes along with the GP obviously been the main event.

    With a sprint weekend your straight into the action with FP1 & I just don’t like that because it means there’s no time to really take anything in or bed into the weekend. There’s no time to just sit and watch the cars, Look out for upgrades or really dig into car performance because it’s manic from the off. And then there’s just no flow to the rest of the weekend because it’s straight into qualifying, Then back down to a practice session than feels less interesting than normal & then your into a race which is so short there’s no time to really get into it & then it’s over & your into the GP which for me anyway always ends up feeling that bit less special given how we have seen a race the day before.

    We’ve had 5 of the things so far & every one of them has felt really flat for me & i’ve just not enjoyed any of them as much as I do normal weekends. It’s just a format I don’t like & can’t see myself ever liking even though I do try to.

    1. I’m the opposite and I like them going straight to action, I don’t even watch fp cause laptimes are pointless.

  6. Maybe not every weekend but we definitely need more sprints.
    I like when teams have less practice, adds an extra spice to the weekend. And like any spices, when used in the right quantities, it can really add a lot to the enjoyment!

    1. For me the sprints haven’t really added much spice that I needed though (like adding salt when it’s already a meal with cheese and salted ham, while I actually want to reduce on that stuff) @pmccarthy_is_a_legend

      1. @bosyber I guess we just disagree then. I do enjoy and hope to see more of it! Two race starts in one weekend? Hell yeah.

    2. Sprint doesn’t add any form of spice to the weekend, just meaningless filler that gets in the way of the main events.

  7. There is little point commenting about sprint races, or any of Liberty’s grand plans because they will press on regardless of feedback.

    As far as they and their market research people are concerned, people want more and much shorter bursts of action so they can see a few snippets on YouTube. Watching entire events is just so yesterday. What we get will be exactly like what we get on FTA TV these days – piles of inane rubbish that for some reason people seem (according to research) watch.

    Now if only they could get rid of those pesky drivers and teams…….

    Let’s face it. F1 as we knew and loved it has changed and will change way more over the next couple of years. Someone said that F1 doesn’t care, because we’ll either still watch it anyway, or we’ll be replaced anyway by “the market” they’re apparently chasing.

    Sad for a lot of us that come to this site but unfortunately that’s the way things are. Liberty knows better. Just ask them.

  8. To say MotoGP’s plans are crazy would be somewhat of an understatement.

  9. Watching entire events is just so yesterday.

    Watching entirely dull, boring and monotonous events is so yesterday. If it feels like a long time, it’s too long and/or too boring.

    What we get will be exactly like what we get on FTA TV these days – piles of inane rubbish that for some reason people seem (according to research) watch.

    What we get on FTA TV these days is what’s left over after Pay TV monetised and bought exclusive rights to everything they wanted. It works on a class system, just like the rest of society – those who have additional money for such luxuries, and those who don’t.
    There are still plenty of people who watch FTA anyway. Put F1 live on FTA and watch the ratings skyrocket…
    For reference, the Melbourne GP this year had roughly 150,000 more people watching on Australian FTA than on Pay TV & streaming combined….

    Someone said that F1 doesn’t care, because we’ll either still watch it anyway, or we’ll be replaced anyway by “the market” they’re apparently chasing.

    Yes, I said that just yesterday – and did years ago, even while Bernie was still running the show (into the ground).

  10. Sprint races can be good fun. After all, it’s the racing that’s exciting – not free practise. Problem is, these cars aren’t made for sprint races. They’re made for 90 minute races with various tyres and the strategy and management that comes with that. Same reason a 90 minute race would feel pretty weird when done with top level sportscars. It’d just be too short to have all the main selling points of a good sportscar race come into play.

    That said, there are a few benefits to the current format: less preparation means more variation between the teams and drivers. In a standard race weekend, the teams are able to dial everything in near perfect, and as such you get the same old results pretty much every time. The race in Austria was much more fun because Red Bull got their tyre strategies wrong. Every one of those Leclerc-Verstappen scraps is making it into the season highlights.

    It seems to me people would find it much easier to enjoy the spring races if they didn’t care so much about the ‘championship’, which is ultimately just a bunch of numbers. I’d much rather have a bunch of good races than a championship that’s exciting on paper, but which sees very little action on track (as an extreme example: title protagonists Schumacher and Villeneuve never shared a podium in 1997!).

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