Is there a ‘sprint’ format which can satisfy both the purists and the bean-counters?

2022 F1 season

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Like it or loathe it, Formula 1’s sprint race format isn’t going anywhere.

This weekend’s sprint round will be the sixth since they were introduced last year – and the 2023 F1 calendar will feature six more.

The sprint format was introduced as a three-round trial in 2021 after several unsuccessful attempts to win support for the idea. At sprint rounds the usual qualifying session is held a day early, on Friday, which decides the starting order for a points-paying, 100-kilometre sprint race on Saturday, which in turn sets the grid for the grand prix.

F1 desperately tried to proclaim last year’s trial was wildly successful despite their own research indicating otherwise. An official survey of 167,000 fans found only a small majority considered the format an improvement over the usual arrangement, and other ideas such as permitting multiple tyre suppliers were far more popular.

For F1, the sprint format is attractive because it increases the attention of viewers over a race weekend. In effect, it exchanges one practice session for a race, which inevitably creates more interest. From that point of view, its appeal is obvious: a larger audience ultimately means more income.

Report: “We should stick to one race”: F1 drivers not relishing final sprint round of 2022
But F1 has not been able to solve the knock-on problems its sprint format created which have irked so many fans. Not least the fact that using a race instead of a qualifying session to decide pole position for a grand prix ended a tradition which began at the first ever round of the world championship in 1950.

Trying to get around that, F1 has this year claimed that the official pole position at sprint events is won on Friday in the regular qualifying session. But the possibility remains that a sprint race could produce a result that means a different driver starts from the front for the grand prix. As both of this year’s sprint races have been won from pole the absurdity of this arrangement hasn’t been put to the test, though it is surely only a matter of time.

Then there’s the lingering possibility that the points dished out in Saturday’s sprint race could decide the winner of a championship. Once that happens, F1’s insistence that its short races do not detract from the importance and prestige of a grand prix will be shattered.

It’s also been noted that the sprint format is unsuitable for use at some tracks where overtaking is extremely difficult, notably Monaco. No wonder some team principals are publicly suggesting ways to fix the flawed format.

Is there a way F1 can enjoy the best of all worlds? Can it keep the added interest of more competitive sessions while removing the contradictions, inconsistencies and unfairness of sprint races – and do all that while respecting the championship’s traditions and devising a format which can be used week-in, week-out instead of only six times per year? Here are three suggestions how it might.

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Sprint championship

NASCAR holds non-championship exhibition races
NASCAR holds non-championship exhibition races
Friday: First practice and qualifying
Saturday: Second practice and sprint race
Sunday: Grand prix

The key flaw with the current sprint format is that the finishing positions of the Saturday race are used to decide the starting order for the grand prix. While F1 claimed this would incentivise drivers to push flat-out and try to gain positions, the reality has largely been different. For those near the front, the danger of dropping to the back of the grid due to a risky move is too great, and they tend to play it conservatively.

A simple solution therefore would be to make the Saturday races entirely stand-alone affairs. By creating a separate ‘sprint championship’, Saturday’s running wouldn’t interfere with the world championship.

This would create extra freedom for F1 to experiment with imaginative changes to the rules and format in its Saturday races without fear of affecting the integrity of its main championship. These could include elimination races, rolling starts, reverse grids, time trials and more.

Would it work? Only if F1 ensures the reward for the sprint championship is high enough for the teams and drivers to want to take part, and not simply park their cars to preserve engine mileage for the main event.

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Two-part qualifying

Raikkonen was the last winner of a two-part qualifying session
Friday: First practice and first qualifying
Saturday: Second practice and second qualifying
Sunday: Grand prix

The main advantage of the sprint race format is it ensures each day of the weekend has some consequential action going on: Friday ends with a qualifying session rather than another hour of practice.

If F1 wanted to achieve that without veering too far from past race weekend formats, it could revive the practice of having two qualifying sessions. This was the case until mid-2005, during a series of years when F1 repeatedly fiddled with its Saturday format, and was recently put forward as a possible solution by Haas team principal Guenther Steiner.

There are a few ways this might be arranged. F1 could go back to the old approach of having two separate qualifying hours and the best times across both set the grid. But the downside to this was if Friday qualifying was dry and rain fell on Saturday, no one took part in second qualifying.

Alternatively, F1 could bring back single-lap qualifying for Saturday and use a Friday qualifying session to determine the running order for that session. This would ensure drivers have to run in each.

Would it work? Only if viewers tuned into both qualifying sessions in sufficient numbers.

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Rookie Fridays

F1 already lets rookie drivers run on Fridays
Friday: Rookie practice, qualifying and sprint race
Saturday: Championship practice and qualifying
Sunday: Championship warm-up and grand prix

Here’s a much more radical idea. Kick out the regular race drivers for a whole day, compress their usual race weekend to just Saturday and Sunday, and use Friday to give new drivers a chance to take part.

F1 successfully introduced mandatory practice sessions for inexperienced drivers this year. This takes the idea a step further: Give each of them a full day in the car, including practice (potentially extended from the usual hours), qualifying and a short race.

This could form the basis of its own series serving as a level up from Formula 2. It would also open up the grid not just to potential future drivers but wildcard local talents who wouldn’t ordinarily get the chance to participate, increasing F1’s pull in regions which don’t have a regular grand prix driver.

This would significantly reduce the amount of time regular drivers get in the cars at race weekends. To make up for that, Saturday’s practice session could be extended and the once-traditional Sunday morning warm-up reinstated.

Would it work? The teams would need convincing – not to mention amply remunerating – in order to allow less experienced drivers to take part in an extra race.

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Over to you

Does F1’s sprint format need to be kept, fixed or dropped? Have your say in the comments.

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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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73 comments on “Is there a ‘sprint’ format which can satisfy both the purists and the bean-counters?”

  1. Even if it isn’t good, it’s still a massive improvement over the current, worst ever, qualifying format.

    There is literally no reason to tune in before the final minute in Q3 because that’s the only lap that has any relevance for the top 10 grid positions.

    Do I care if Ocon is 12th or 16th? No, not really.

    1. it’s still a massive improvement over the current, worst ever, qualifying format.

      The first two races of the 2016 season had a knockout format which was abandoned after two races, then there was the 2005 aggregate qualifying which was abandoned after six races, would rate those two as the worst formats.

      1. Knockout format as in ‘gradual elimination’

    2. I find the current qualifying format great, and wouldn’t change it. Q1 and Q2 matters because I care who might get knocked out, and Q3 matters because the top drivers probably only have a couple of attempts. I do care if Ocon messes up in Q1 and is only 16th, or if he narrowly misses out on getting into Q3. Ultimately, if you only care about who is on pole, currently there’s only 6 drivers at most who could do that, so you’re always only going to have a small number of qualifying runs that matter.

      It’s much better than the old format that existed when I first started watching F1 of 1 hour with everyone having 12 laps. You could tune in and for the first 30 minutes you might only see a couple of Minardis on track.

      1. Agreed. Current qualifying is much better than that old format.

      2. @f1hornet

        What is the problem of only seeing a couple of Minardi’s on track?
        This was actually the big advantage of this format. You could watch all the fast laps of all drivers. They were very rarely out at the same time and traffic was seldom a problem. Any lap could be the pole lap so all of was important.
        With the current format we do not see anything at all. We only watch the clock next to the drivers’ names changing from purple to green to orange.

        1. I agree with all your points. The only problem with the old format was the session length because eventually the Minardis starting waiting for 15-20 minutes too and there was no running at all. I do like the Q1-Q2-Q3 format in principle but getting to see all the fast laps of the drivers is something sorely missing from it.

          I believe that was where the idea of one-shot qualifying came from, but one-shot was not enough because rather than pushing right to the limit there was too much emphasis on making sure you got a time in.

          Something like 3-shot qualifying would probably be best – one run to get a banker lap in, then two more runs to push the limits. Plus we’d get to see the laps live as they happen, rather than having to wait until after the session to see it.

        2. @exeviolthor A lot of people pretend, or just don’t know, that between today’s knock-out format and the 60 minute free for all, there was a qualifying format that was superior to both but held back by silly regulations involving fuel loads etc.

          Qualifying is the one time in the weekend when F1 cars perform at their maximum potential. Today with the bad tyres, qualifying is often easily a handful of seconds faster than anything that happens in the race. Those kinds of differences are visible, and qualifying is exciting for that reason. The best way to show that is not with 20, 15 or 10 cars all doing laps together and then having the tv director show random bits of each lap and a static shot of the finish line just to fill the screen while everyone watches the little timing bar on the left. Instead, it’s with the single lap qualifying that allowed viewers to see all the laps of all the drivers in their entirety. Seeing how a lap comes together is much more fun than seeing numbers in a timing bar.

          1. One shot qualifying was horrible and boring. No one would watch it and it was canned with reason.

          2. One shot qualifying just didn’t work in changeable weather conditions. The track changes over time too, usually favouring those who went out last.

    3. You may not care, but the fans of all those drivers and teams do.

      There is more to F1 than who is up front.

      1. For example, I have a certain interest in battles like mclaren vs alpine, at least in the last races, when it’s going down to the wire, was also following the battle between mclaren and “force india” few years ago, last race before perez joined red bull.

    4. @f1hornet Fully agree, the current qualifying format is the best it’s ever been. There is a tense session for the lower midfield as they struggle to get out of Q1, the upper midfield for Q2, and the frontrunners for Q3. It builds up to the climax, and there are always potential curveballs that can occur in each session that affects drivers you wouldn’t usually expect to be in danger of elimination.

      The format that most represents Kuvemar’s compaint is the single 1 hour session – which is the one where there is almost no point in tuning in before the final minute. Unless it were to start raining during the session, in which case the rest of the hour is essentially called off.

    5. Couldn’t disagree more. The current format in my opinion is the best they’ve ever had. If you care at all about the midfield and back markers, there is plenty of tension in Q1 and Q2 plus the chances of demotion by on the front runners. Fort he front runners, the slow build up to the crescendo of Q3 is wonderful. Sunday’s can often disappoint but Saturdays for me are almost guaranteed to deliver. Love it

  2. I think a separate championship would be ignored by the tiger teams because it’s basically irrelevant when compared with the full drivers and teams championships, and a split qualifying would just end up as confusing for some when the fastest driver in Qualifying on the Saturdays doesn’t end yup starting on Pole.

    I’d much rather have FP1 on a Friday, and then a Sprint event done using only one car from each team and using rookie drivers, however you want to quantify rookies. This would mean a second car using a regular driver could be run in FP1 as a comparison with their rookies, and means fans would still see “big name” drivers running and not “just” rookies.

    Run one car in a Rookie sprint to give more space on the track, reduce the likelihood of incidents that will cost the teams money, and not have the rookies overshadowed.

    1. Bingo, do this every single race weekend and everyone would be on board for it. All rookies, full points for top 10, and make sure it counts for the regular WCC and have a separate rookie WDC. I like the idea of a single FP1 and straight into qualifying, and I don’t mind those being on Friday so the sprint can be on Saturday, so that can stay in this scenario afaic. This way you get some exciting racing in a sprint event by drivers willing to go for broke for a bit of glory.

      Perhaps in time they could even do a spin-off with an all-female field for some of the races instead of rookies for half of the races.

      1. I wouldn’t be on board with it.

        1. Neither would I

    2. You cannot be an F1 “purist” and accuse the new occasional format as breaking with legacy as F1 has had countless different qualifying formats and rules through out its history. Even between just 1990-2020, you’re talking hundreds of different formats if you include all the variations introduced to larger concepts. One quali format F1 had for years and which today’s “purists” would hate was the rule in which you had to start the race on however much fuel you were running in quali, which predictably led to some crazy upset poles when the strategy that made sense was to run a long first stint (heavy fuel) and a team equivalent to this year’s Alfa Romeo outfit would run on fumes to grab pole for the publicity and then end the race in 14th.

      What we really need is a tandem series (basically addition sessions for all the drivers) in which they all race spec formula cars, but still very fast ones. Preferably ones similar in size to the chassis Alonso drove during his titles (much smaller in every dimension) and used the V10s.. Limit it to three sessions max. For example
      1.One short practice (after all, they’re spec cars + we want talent to shine, not endless data diving where engineers look at other drivers data to show them the best way to drive the track)

      2. Fast quali in which places 7-20 are all set in Q1 with the remaining six getting two solo laps (not including out/in laps) alone on track to set their best time.

      3. Race: Designed to be about one hour with lap count based on that.

  3. I like some of the potential solutions above – either a sprint championship or a rookie series but for me the issue is that any of those potential solutions require the teams to bring & prepare at least one additional car, potentially two for the weekend, since there’s no way the top teams would be willing to risk the cars getting wrecked for the Grand Prix.

    Also, the expense in both money & extra team/crew needed to do that might simply be too much, especially in a world where we have the Cost Cap and they are actively trying to reduce costs and resources.

    The only reason that the Sprint even works now, is because it replaces a practice session which would happen anyway and it decides the grid which effectively forces the teams to race it. If there isn’t sufficient incentive to run, the teams don’t do it. A few years ago, we used to get back/midfield teams not running when they made it through to Q3 because they knew they’d be 10th anyway. So whatever the solution is, the teams will need to be convinced to do it.

    I don’t feel two-part qualifying ever really works as a spectacle, and ultimately that’s why it began to be changed from mid-90s onwards.

    For me, rather than shoehorning in extra Formula 1, why not try to elevate Formula 2 and Formula 3 in a similar fashion to MotoGP? In MotoGP all 3 classes are presented with equal importance & prestige.
    All the sessions & races take place one after another rather than several hours apart like F1, 2 or 3 and it’s more readily possible to trace a rider’s rise through the ranks to the top level. An increase in the importance may even help the issues that F2 drivers have then found getting seats in Formula 1. This would then give each weekend a feeling of action all the way through – and it is not just the F1 teams that would have to provide it.

    1. Spot on with the analysis.
      Regarding the MotoGP thing, I would like add three points. First of all cars do need more space and preparation than bikes, also keep in mind that at least in MotoGP they always have a spare bike ready to go. Furthermore incidents in general need less time of clean up and repairing in MotoGP than in F1. Another problem similar to your analysis is, that I can only see an increase of costs in F2&F3 by streamlining them with F1, while the F1 world or FIA world already identified that the cost of running in the junior categories is too high.

      1. Yeah, all fair & excellent points… Perhaps then a Rookie Class consisting of the reserve drivers and/or wildcards, using last year’s cars to keep costs down.

  4. Betteridge’s law of headlines applies once again.

  5. There’s no way to fix sprint as its fundamentally broken. Better to drop it entirely.

  6. For me the solution is to get rid of parc ferme after qualifying and to give the teams more freedom with tire selection. I’ve said this numerous times, lining cars up fastest to slowest and then now allowing the cars to be changed is not going to result in good racing. Something must change between qualifying and the race so that at least some cars will perform better in the race than in qualifying, otherwise we’ll get a procession and/or gimmicks to allow overtaking.

    1. I’ve often thought this is a potential solution to the ongoing wet weather problem too.

      Abolish parc ferme & then if it rains on Sunday morning, no problem to change the set up of the car for wet weather & make running far easier than currently.

  7. Decent suggestions, & I’ll add a time trial session as another, although this would largely be like the 2003-05 qualifying format but with more flying laps for each driver.

    1. Six more? Six overall, so three more.

  8. Friday: Practice and Qualifying for Sunday race (using current Qualifying format)
    Saturday: 1 shot Qualifying for the Sprint race (1 car on teack at a time, driver order being the reverse of Friday Qualifying results, so Sunday Pole sitter has to qualify first for the Sprint race), then Sprint Race (grid set by Saturday Qualifying).
    Sunday: Grand Prix (grid set by Friday Qualifying)

    Integrity of Sunday’s Grand Prix is maintained, plus a potentially partially shuffled grid for the Sprint (as no one is onboard with reverse grids)

    1. One shot qualy was not very popular. Two part qualy was ditched because with changing track conditions, the second qualy could be voided. And averaging laptimes isn’t very exciting when you watch the pole lap being done (or not).

      Alternative could be is to not reset times at the end of each Q part. So the top drivers have more shots at pole, but still have to lap the earlier parts to advance. Disadvantage is that in the wet you could lose the end of qualy.

      I would ditch Sprint alltogether and would have some doubleheaders instead.
      Friday: FP1 and FP2
      Saturday: Q1 and Race 1 (normal length).
      Sunday: Q2 and Race 2 (normal length).

      Full points. Proper race lengths. You could use some of the desert tracks in different configurations to differ between race 1 and 2. You could also use that to have one race mid day and the other in the evening.

  9. No qualifying, reverse championship order sprint race, no points awarded in the sprint race. Artificial? Yes. (the whole sprint idea is) Provides excitement for both races? Yes.

    But don’t ruin the championship run-in with sprints. Hold all of them in the first half of the season.

    1. Or: No qualifying, championship order sprint race grid, success ballast based on championship points. So the more you lead by, the more ballast you get over the driver behind you.

    2. I don’t understand, does that reverse cxhampionship order sprint race determine the grid for the race?

      1. Yes. This all but guarantees a mixed up grid for the GP.

    3. If so, sounds interesting, I always liked the reverse grid idea.

    4. Personally, I’d adopt something like that.

      I love the idea of a reversed grid sprint deciding the grid for the race. It would force the big teams and to drivers to work for their position.

      The main problems I see are:
      – This doesn’t give one of the main advantages of the current sprint format, which is competitive running on all 3 days.
      – There is one track, in particular, where it wouldn’t work well at all, Monaco. While personally I’d like Monaco dropped, this is unlikely, so we’d probably end up with two different qualifying formats across the year, which I don’t like. That said, Monaco could hardly be any worse than the dull procession it is now, and it wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world for the result to be mixed up and for the drivers lower down to have a better chance of winning there.

  10. Just rename the actual race event to “Sprint” and there you go. You get your sprint, we get our F1. I could live with that…
    On a more serious note, we’re (mostly) grown ups, but this is like children’s been playing with the rule book, trying to invent something without obvious purpose and sense, just for the sake of it. First you should explain WHY do we need a sprint at all, then try to figure out the ‘how’ part.

    1. Why = More revenue

      1. Also, competitive session on all three days and much more limited setup time.

        I’m not saying money isn’t the driving factor, but there are advantages to us as viewers as well as disadvantages.

  11. Double points for sprint and it will be insane racing

    1. thanks for posting that, I had to google it and learned something new unrelated to racing today.

  12. Friday
    • Practice 1
    • Qualifying (Main Race)

    • Sprint Race (Reverse Grid) – points for places 1-8
    • Practice 2

    • Race using Friday Qualifing for grid positions.

  13. The only thing that bothers me about the current format is that Q3 is not long enough.

    Make it 20 minutes instead of 10 and give everyone 4 additional sets of softs just for Q3 and we might see drivers taking greater risks on their 3rd and 4th run which in turn makes it much more exciting!

    1. Yes, true, atm if you don’t get a banker lap in your first run, then you always take less risks and don’t really challenge for pole on the 2nd run.

  14. A “Purist” does not believe in the sprint race.
    Not in any so called format of it.

    “Bean-counters” mostly don’t believe in anything, except for stats.
    Stats for what? A format?
    Analyze it all, then condemn it.

  15. I would have a separate sprint championship but only the bottom five teams in the championship compete. So Aston Vs Alpha Vs Haas Vs Williams Vs Alfa. 3 races, normal points system, ideally alternative layouts.

  16. petebaldwin (@)
    9th November 2022, 16:32

    The current format doesn’t work because they’re trying to keep too many people happy. They’ve got two options if they want to make a success of this (and either way, some people will be unhappy).

    1. Make the sprint actually worth competing in. Offer a decent amount of points so that it’s worth the risk to overtake someone and it’s worth putting the extra stress on the car. Have 2 separate qualifying sessions (maybe 1 lap quali for the Sprint and then proper quali for the proper race)
    Pros: Sprint races will be a lot better because the drivers will fight for positions instead of being extremely risk averse. Having 1 lap quali as well as normal quali would be interesting to watch.
    Cons: It’ll detract from the Sunday race because there will be 2 proper races during the weekend. Obviously purists will hate this option but the DTS crowd will love it (allegedly).

    2. Drop the sprint races entirely.
    Pros: The Sunday race isn’t diluted and it frees up the opportunity to try other things. Drivers seem to like the reduced practice so perhaps they could do something else on Friday? Some sort of race in other types of cars that are equal? I’d love to see the whole F1 grid race Minis around Silverstone or something like that. It’d be fun and would surely be more popular than FP1 or watching a sprint race with non-F1 drivers…
    Cons: Again, allegedly the DTS crowd love sprint races. I don’t know any and haven’t heard anyone say anything positive about sprint races but perhaps I’m looking in the wrong place. Sky certainly love them – you can tell by the lines they feed to their pundits who can’t seem to get enough of the format. They wouldn’t love them if it wasn’t resulting in good viewing figures so they’d have to replace the sprints with something else that gets as many people tuning in.

    1. I know one who became quite a passionate fan of f1 because of drive to survive last couple of years and wasn’t watching at all before, now watches all races like I do and says 2 races are better than 1 and that they replace practice anyway, so can’t be worse, and I agree with that, I can’t stand boring sessions like practice, although sprints tend to be processional most of the times and give away performance info that we normally would only get during the race, I guess they’re the cons.

  17. The whole concept of the sprint is predicated on faster, purer racing with no pit stops or strategy calls, the problem with which is that there are no real differences in the tyre calls as almost everyone will independently come to the same strategy. Hamilton’s performance in Brazil in 2021 is the exception rather than the rule as all the competitors are trying to maintain their position and not compromise the race on Sunday. The only reason we have them is for revenue. No teams like them and to be honest, not many punters are singing their praise.

    I don’t like the sprint, but there are ways that it can be made to be better, without resorting to artifice. These are my proposals to make the sprint more connected to the main event and still bringing the concept of a frantic rush to a Friday without having to worry about people missing work and giving the teams plenty of time to do set up trials, get rookies in the car and generally not be too disadvantaged by having a single poor session.

    1. Mandate a set car weight, including fuel, driver, oil, drinks and everything. This avoids fuel saving so that everyone goes at it full throttle all the time. There is no advantage to be gained by running on low fuel
    2. Have a special sprint tyre set outside of the standard 3 for a race weekend. Have an equivalent of the hyper soft that is so much faster but can only last 10 laps. Allow for partial tyre changes i.e. fronts only so that having a super quick pitstop is actually a possibility.
    3. Allow for a spare car so that if someone actually does bin it in the sprint, there is no detriment to the race. The team do not have to break curfew and build a brand new car as one is already available although not explicitly set up for one driver. This used to be normal and, whilst done away with in terms of cost over the years, is still viable per se as the teams generally have at least a full cars worth of parts hanging about anyway. Might be more sensible than you think if stupidities in the cost cap such as hospitality meals are counted whereas vast external blow out meals aren’t.
    4. Change the weekend. Have FP1 and then have a normal FP2 on Friday. This allows for a decent amount of set up and strategy calls to be made to deal with the sprint and the real race. Straight off the back of FP2, have Sprint qualy. Not an hour, but average of 4 racing laps over the course of half an hour, not including in or out laps, but with a maximum of 12 laps including in and out laps and only 2 sets of tyres. Means at least two flying laps are practically back to back. Then everyone is under park ferme conditions. It would be frantic and chaotic. If you only do three laps, you could not start higher than someone who has done 4, same for 2 not starting higher than 3 lap qualifiers etc.
    5. Saturday morning, have the sprint before FP3 in completely different conditions to the Grand Prix, like daylight in Saudi or Singapore for example. That way the tactical set up for the lower teams would favour the race but the top teams fighting for titles would compromise between both possibilities to get the most points. It would make the main event a closer run thing, or if Haas / Williams tailored their set up purely for the Sprint, they may come in way up the field in the sprint, bag some points and be in the top ten starters in the GP race. could go either way but it would be interesting for sure. Also, if someone bins it, they could use the spare car in FP3 and still be allowed some limited set up changes so they could race on Sunday.
    6. Sunday race as normal, but with vastly different set up challenges to the sprint so it isn’t a procession. strategey calls will be across both events and will favour the bold.

    That is all a terrible idea, i’d prefer to ditch the sprints altogether, but as they’re not working but here to stay, they may as well make them as different as possible to the race

  18. Something has to be done as the current position is a nonsense and inconsequential. Although sprint races might entice some additional viewers initially they will probably follow longer serving fans and become jaundiced if there is no change.

    The proposals are all interesting but the best option is having a separate sprint championship with either current or additional drivers, removing the nonsense of a qualifying which isn’t, and a sprint which, if there are more of them, will soon be as central to racing as the real championship because modern attention spans seem to be ever shorter. Like cricket, once the sort sharp version takes hold that is the increasing focus of the cricketing audience outside the hard core.

    Liberty seems mesmerised by TV viewing figure in broad totals rather than looking at the sustainably of any model.

  19. Short answer, no.

  20. And then what? And then what after that?

    This is the problem with corporations and their sole purpose to grow value for shareholders. This doctrine of hyper-capitalism is literally incompatible with simply having something great that people love, and keeping it that way.

  21. Perhaps, ask the drivers.

    In another world, how about giving the actual drivers in all championships more testing time through Friday and even Thursday with a little bit turned down engine, older spec used components and used tyres from previous races? They will have the opportunity to further advance their driving skills and people who work hard won’t be left stuck in a status quo they cannot influence at all. If DR is slow, let it be because he didn’t work enough and not because he is outpaced by a person with a brain potentially predisposed to better ignore the physical senses in favour of visual cues as if this is airplane piloting. Sorry, Lando, it’s not a dig and probably very inaccurate example. It’s just an attempt for illustration. I could have picked probably any other pair.

    Further, skip pre-season testing completely as everything in terms of design and manufacturing is now software simulated, so going directly into racing would just add more opportunity for smarter people and but not richer corps, wouldn’t it Toto :)

    On Saturday we have P1 and Q, on Sunday we the race. Instead of the stupid sprints like red flagged races, they might also consider increasing the race distance by 70 kilometres, although I am pretty happy with the 300 km mark.

    Just a thought

  22. Damn… Way to late to the party to just say “No”

    1. All credits to @pedrike to give the top answer!

  23. Here’s a much more radical idea. Kick out the regular race drivers for a whole day, compress their usual race weekend to just Saturday and Sunday, and use Friday to give new drivers a chance to take part.

    I don’t see it as a radical idea.
    I hadn’t seen anyone agree with my suggestion until this, but I see it as a perfectly reasonable idea to keep the Liberty/Domenicali faction quiet/happy and provide something of an interest for people with shorter attention spans (as seems to be the pattern for the younger members of society in every aspect of life)
    At the same time, the purist F1 race fans get a weekend of pure practice-qualification-race.

    What’s not to like, other than it not matching what Domenicali and co insist is right?

  24. Friday: Practise, Sprint Race (determinate by times on pracitse sessions and award only construction points)
    Saturday: Practise, Qualifying
    Sunday: Race

    1. Call friday The sprint day. There is practise and qualifying at same time and then the sprint calls the day. Just perfect for the busy youths. As the ticket prices are going up they could sell sprintday tickets separately. Then on saturday the weekend can continue like normally. I personally don’t like when there is a day between the qualifying and the race and this could fix the “problem”

      1. And by giving points only for the construction championship would be benefit both parties. It will give important points but would not interfere on the drivers championship

    2. @qeki – I would like that but why not determinate the sprint place by reverse champion standings and award only construction points? Just a little wink on how the teams are doing.

      1. @macleod I was also thinking about that first practise and how to give positions for the sprint race. Reverse grid should also work and then practise would remain what it is suppose to be. A Practise session.
        I don’t want sprints to mess up the drivers standings and if FIA want to give more points from the sprint why not give them to constructions so it could be decided on friday and we could all see on sunday who would be the drivers champion and let the excitement stay all the way to sunday afternoon.

  25. These are some great ideas. I would love to see them combined into a seperate sprint championship.

    All races should have this structure:
    Friday: Practice + Qualification for Race
    Saturday: Sprint Practice + Sprint
    Sunday: Warm-up + race

    For sprint championship you would have to enter a minimum of three drivers with the key rule being you can use a driver in the maximum of 14 of first 21 sprints. Best two drivers of each team would qualify for the final sprints of the season. This would guarantee every team would have to use a third driver in 14 sprints of the season. This would give us a chance to see more drivers racing in every season and more additional drama.

    Sprint championship should be seperate from the main championship and they should consider interesting formats like for example drafting grid slots: according to the results of the last race drivers would select a grid row where they start – the limit would be they would be able to start in each grid row just like twice per season. That would also guarantee different grids over the course of the season in each race and would guarantee drivers like Verstappen or Leclerc would have to start three times 15th or worse. The system would be fair for all over the course of the whole season and would bring us an additional tactical drama.

  26. My gut feel has always been that introducing sprints is the thin edge of the wedge towards a complete change in how things will ultimately end up.

    There’s a general trend towards shortening any events that take any length of time because viewers “apparently” prefer it that way.

    Give it a couple more years and F1 will devolve into most weekends being made up of 3 short races with just a rare few holding traditional format long races (labelled endurance races).

    Sadly, there’s really no way to prevent this. The commercial rights holders will tell us “that’s what the fans want” and they know that it will give them more scope to access more of the almighty sponsorship dollar and as someone said “cash is king”

    It’s not for me, neither is the 20/20 (now 100) format for cricket but that’s all that gets rammed down the throats of the public. I’ll just find something else to do.

  27. I have liked “Sprint championship” and Rookie Fridays
    Although, I have commented multiple times about the or something like 1 year. And reading the title of the article, something very similar to the “Rookie Fridays” system came to my mind.

    I think “Rookie Fridays” would be best as a separate championship as well. It could heat the seat under some “older” and underperforimg regular dirvers. While it would help to get some real evaluation for the better candidates outside of F1, instead of “some bring the car home” during occasional FP1 outings. That way we could see, if they are any good or really good with the current car formula, because some FPs or an occasional random race as a standin might not prove that to the desired extent. While the opportunity to field-test the best F2 and F3 drivers is quite annoyingly little nowadays, and the managers are happily signing with the proven but older drivers time after time. This way we might miss out on some really hot talents, because they have very few outings to prove themselves, their functionality, in the current formula. And what else would really matter? For example I do not expect too much from Stroll until 2026, he adapted not so easily to the new car, and there will be a good amount of carryover until 2026. That is many years.

    I think the Sprint format can not really provide much more than the regular race. But without pitstops / pit strategy it might even provide less. So potential cures:

    – Let’s have mandatory pitstops. I like multi stop races. And I accept, that these cars are bigger and heavier than most of the comparably fast series like LMP or Indy, so if those have multiple pit stops, why would Pirelli be so extra bad to need them at a faster series with heavierm or comparably heavy cars.

    So unless the cars will be a bit lighter, smaller and more nimble at the same time, or the Netflix fans would easily accept that without DRS the F1 GP would not provide more than a few good looking overtakes / race, I do not expect the sprints providing better racing than the already very strategy based GPs. I think having trains was there before DRS, and sometimes that contributed to the unique atmosphere of the actual GP. So I not really minded the few overtakes. Monaco is an unique jamboree for me :)

    – Then many are saying, that due to the bad risk/reward ratio, bigger teams not trying hard at sprints. Then the sprint championship should reward a significant amount of money for its best performers, and there should be a way to spend it on the development, by raising the cost cap allowance of those high performers. But carefully, not to create too much performance inequalities via this. But being financially rewarding is maybe the only way to motivate the current field of wealthy manufactureres.

    I still have no problems with the cost cap. Real world (road relevant?) engineering is constrained by money. If the cap is sufficiently low, then that can bring less reluctance to a more rapidly changing formula. And the teams should get out of the decision making, as the are not authorities, but participants. Rules and refree decisions of many sports are made without asking the participants. This is the way to restoring the dignity, and that will not happen with the authorities being dragged around in the dirt and mud by the riches.
    The problem with the cap, is that the spendings are not evaluated quickly enough. It should be evaulated much quicker to actually look good and trustworthy. I think the participants are so well off that they should pay an extra for a while for the better stewarding and scrutineering if that is necessary.
    Maybe, as the current decisions about the 2021 sepndings came to sunlight, the approach to spendings will be similarly strategical as the approach to installing new powertrain components and taking the penalty for it. I consider the latter as a strategy element, why not to use that is the rules allowed. Cost cap-wise, tehre were a lot of words about that the teams initially not wanted to have sporing penalties for the overspendings, or administrating flaws. Well with the exception of huge breaches, I am ok with that. Currently the participants are used to this approach, they are the royals here. I have not expected a very different penalties, considering how much was being spent on all development, by the backing manufacturers, and sponsors + the actual teams before the cost cap era. Although this alone not grants the long term survival of the cost cap as a rule, too much bad tasting events and it might be dropped as an escape route of the sport.

    1. … commented multiple times about “outsourcing” the sprint format into a separate “Sprint championship” for something like 1 year.

      Of course, the errata of my above lengthy is almost endless :D :(

  28. A sprint race needs sprint PUs.

    No fuel flow limit, no energy recovery or deployment limit, heck even have a DRS free for all on the car side of things.

    Mandate soft tyres for dry sessions and watch calamity unfold. Brilliant telly.

  29. Races are by far preferable to testing, which is what free practise is. Whether or not more races impacts the championship seems like a moot point; the championship is just a bunch of numbers, while having more racing is actually something that directly increases the amount of entertainment F1 puts out. Because that’s what F1 is; an entertainment product.

    However, 30 minute-ish races don’t work with modern F1 cars, which are endurance cars for all practical purposes save for the poor tyres. Series with successful short races usually have cars that match the format. They’re nimble, quick, can take a bit of pushing around, and definitely don’t have to nurse tyres.

    Modern F1 cars are built to regulations revolving around 305km races. So let them do that. Twice, if need be.

  30. First, remove the sprint race from the equation of Qualifying and Race Start Position. Qualifying should provide the starting grid. Purists rejoice!!

    Second, make the sprint race in a spec car. Porsche Cup, Miatas, Lianas, Licettis, high performance, budget cars. Make it the same for every sprint or different cars each sprint. It actually shows the skill of the driver, all cars being equal, and the points actually make some sense. You telling me Senna besting the field in spec 190Es was garbage?!? I’m sure the idea of it rubs some the wrong way, but come on, that would be great racing.

    To quote Felipe Massa, “for sure.”

  31. The thing about sprint races, rubbish tyres, and amateur race management is that it makes other series look better than they used to by comparison.

    F1 has reduced as a percentage of my total motor racing viewing.

  32. I love the idea of Rookie Fridays but I doubt it would ever get the green light. The chances of teams looking at huge repair bills at the end of sprint races is too high.

  33. I wouldn’t mind trying a reverse championship order grid sprint race. 10 points for a win descending to 6th. I’d really like to keep qualifying as is, on Saturday and for the main Race.

  34. They should make a separate tournament of it with a sprint race on one circuit at (almost) every continent, at least those they are already racing at. The points should not count to the F1 championship, it should be a separate award. And it would make sense to have those sprints on the same track as a GP but a week prior to/after it. Would mean to reduce the races they have in F1 championship.
    Otherwise I don’t think we will need them at all. Or they would need to make special events for it, but then having like 2 sprint races at an event (but no GP then) and those are counting to the F1 championship… so to somehow break the regular manner of the many GPs we nowadays have.

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