Sprint race start, Interlagos, 2022

Sprint races ‘still haven’t proved their worth’ – Gasly

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In the round-up: Alpine driver Pierre Gasly does not believe that Formula 1’s sprint race format has yet proven itself as a spectacle.

In brief

Sprint races ‘haven’t proved their worth to me as a spectacle’ – Gasly

Alpine driver Pierre Gasly does not believe that Formula 1’s sprint race format has yet proven itself as a spectacle.

The format has featured at three rounds for both of the last two year and will be expanded to six rounds this season. Gasly says he prefers the traditional race weekend format of qualifying on Saturday followed by a single race on Sunday.

“Personally I really like the normal format with the qualifying on Saturday and then one grand prix on Sunday,” Gasly said.

“Sprint races – I see the positives financially for the organisation. In terms of spectacle, it still hasn’t proved to me that it’s worth having more and more races. So in my opinion, the normal format is better.

F2, F3 to ship race fuel to Melbourne three months in advance

Formula 2 and FIA Formula 3 will send their race fuels to Melbourne three months in advance of the series’ first races at the Albert Park circuit.

Asked about the logistics of travelling to Australia, series CEO Bruno Michel said that some resources had to be sent out well in advance of the event in early April.

“It’s complicated, but we really enjoy to do that,” said Michel. “Especially because it’s at the beginning of the season, it’s going to be right after Bahrain. So there are a lot of things that needs to be organised in advance.

“We need to, for instance, send the fuel very, very early in advance because we knew it takes three months to get there and we’re not going to fly it. So yes, it makes things a little bit more complicated. In terms of cost, it’s not going to change anything for the teams because we will pay for the freight because the promoter is giving us the money to pay for that. So that’s absolutely fine.”

Quotes: Hazel Southwell

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Comment of the day

After David Coulthard expressed his belief that Red Bull are unlikely to enter into a new period of dominance, @rbalonso is not so sure the sport will not see a repeat of the early 2010s…

Regarding DC’s comments, I have horrible Deja Vu to the first Red Bull era. I think he’s right that the grid will tighter up; Ferrari will be less impacted by the cost cap development and Mercedes seem to understand the issues caused at the start of the season.

With that said, we had a small mid season rule change and ended up with the number 1 Red Bull driver dominate the second half of what should’ve been a close Ferrari/Red Bull championship, just like 2013. The era was also characterised by an aero-dominant Red Bull with a clear number one versus a silver Mercedes powered car with 2 Brits. Ferrari are in the hunt with a driver in Leclerc who has seized the initiative even if the team were reluctant to give him it.

There are a couple of points to reflect on: first is F1 too similar and secondly, what tactics can be used to stop Red Bull. Merc had a great split strategy in 2019/20 but you need it to be one-on-one for that to work. Ferrari need the 2010 team with the start of 2022 car I fear.
RBAlonso

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Happy birthday to Regis and T3X!

On this day in motorsport

  • Born on this day in 1957: Beppe Gabbiani, who entered 17 F1 races and failed to qualify for all but three of them.

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Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...

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  • 34 comments on “Sprint races ‘still haven’t proved their worth’ – Gasly”

    1. Someone got paid. That’s enough of a spectacle to prove their “worth.”

    2. They’ll not listen to the critics of the sprints anyway so all talking about them does is keep polarising the fan base. It makes some people more money so who cares whether it improves the sport.

      1. so who cares whether it improves the sport.

        It’s always going to be subjective whether any change does or does not offer an improvement.

        I think the sprints can potentially be a great improvement – but there will always be factors within F1 that prevent them from reaching their potential.

        Still, there is the constant factor that if F1 was good enough without making format tweaks and other alterations, they probably wouldn’t.
        The audience appears to be growing, so whatever they are doing seems to be working…

        1. Yeah, crypto.com wrote them a fat check so they tweaked and altered the format to give them advertising. It’s working all right…

          1. Which all the teams happily welcomed and accepted….

            And I reckon you meant that F1 made the option of becoming a sprint title sponsor a decent, even attractive, proposition – given that only a tiny handful of other brands now sponsor F1.
            What would you find more enticing as an advertiser – 3-6 featured sprint events with your brand headlining, or signage at a corner or two on every circuit – all blurry in the background….

            1. Which all the teams happily welcomed and accepted….

              It’s not the teams that write the rules. That’s the FIA’s raison d’etre.

            2. It’s not the teams that write the rules.

              They certainly don’t do it completely themselves, I agree – but they sure do have a huge amount of influence over them these days. Almost nothing is done without the teams’ approval.
              F1’s rule making (and also their application) is very much group effort between the 3 parties involved – it hasn’t solely been the domain of the FIA for a long time…. Or ever?
              At the very least since Bernie sunk is claws into F1 management.

      2. @slowmo Let’s all together support how awesome and brilliant the sprint is. Maybe then they will turn their backs on us and end them ;)

    3. Shipping race fuel to the opposite side of the world is an enormous waste of money… Absolute craziness, especially when there is plenty of local stock of equivalent fuel available locally.

      I’ve always liked what they do in Japan – the only fuel allowed to be used at a race meeting is what is commercially available at the venue. No outside fuel sources or stocks can be bought in.
      So instead of needlessly and wastefully shipping fuel all over the place, the teams simply send someone to purchase a fuel sample in the weeks leading up to the event and use it to tune their engines to that specific fuel.
      You know, like in an engineering competition, which motorsport used to be….

      1. That might work in a domestic series, but you cannot expect all of Formula 1’s Premium Planet Pollution Partners to run gas stations near all the tracks the series runs at.

        1. Would be nice if it were a prerequisite for the position of Global Series Partner for a global racing (marketing) series….
          Aramco does not exist in Australia.
          Most of F2/F3’s other global partners (Pirelli, Dallara, Hewland and Marelli) all have manufacturer direct or wholesale partners locally, though…

          1. Aramco does not exist in Australia.

            Thought they were tied up with United, but I’ve been (consistently) wrong before.

            1. United switched supply contracts from Exxon to Aramco a year ago.
              Nevertheless – United isn’t an Aramco brand or affiliate, just a third-party on-selling their product under their own, independent business name.

        2. This is for the F2 and F3 racers only. I expect that the F1 teams handle their own through their fuel supply agreements.
          Likely this concept is driven by the use of “sustainable derived fuel sources”
          Not that this makes it wise, efficient, sustainable or economical to ship fuel half way around the globe.
          One can also wonder about the shelf life. Or is the sour taste just me.?

      2. Japan imports almost all their oil. No matter what, the fuel has been shipped.

        1. No kidding.
          They don’t do special bulk consignments of race fuel just for the support series at a 1 weekend event though.
          Never mind the fact that Japan is geographically closer and more convenient to the oil production and has 100 million people more than Australia does….

          1. Are you imagining a small boat with only the fuel aboard? This will be a container on a normal container ship. Whether it comes in as crude or whether it comes in as refined fuel doesn’t really make any difference. Id expect the refined fuel to be much smaller but don’t know anything about refining fuel.

    4. DC talking up Ferrari and Merc just like a pundit should.
      Although his logic re Ferrari is a bit of a stretch

    5. I can’t help thinking George would be saying “Nicely done. George!” On that tweet.

    6. I’ve yet to hear anyone say anything sportingly positive about a sprint race weekend. It is, after all, merely another way of making the grid for the Grand Prix more predictable – another chance for a fast car to undo a poor qualification.
      Financially, yes, sportingly absolutely not and in my opinion it cheapens F1 as a special product – reducing it’s uniqueness and glamour with more and more and more races, and with the extremely restrictive technical regs making the cars less and less different, they combine towards making it nothing more than another F2 with faster cars. Is F1 more competitive than in previous years?.. perhaps, but even if the cars are closer on pace it is no less predictable. They even had to bend the rules to make a false title showdown in 2021, when there was already a final race showdown.
      Is F1 making money? Hell yes.

      And if that’s what the teams and F1 are happy with, I guess it’s what we’ll have to get used to, and if we don’t like it strongly enough, we can always take our money/viewership elsewhere… But there is no harm in making sure that the organisers know that it’s not the thing the fans want, and that it’s not the thing the drivers want.

      Personally, I think that the uniqueness of F1 has been almost completely eroded to the point where it may just as well be yet another spec series. Another Indycar, another F2, another series to not reserve a Sunday afternoon specially just to watch, to not get up in the middle of the night to witness, to not look forward to – maybe to watch if you have nothing better to do. And that’s a crying shame, because F1 should be a spectacle of man and machine like no other.

      1. Unfortunately I think this analysis is correct. No one really seems to care if the direction of F1 is correct as long as it is making more and more money. For all those involved. The concerns of the drivers and a large section of the fan base are largely ignored.

        People will point to the fact that viewing figures are going up but these viewers often don’t recall what F1 was like in the past. To someone new to the sport it probably seems quite competitive and attractive/glamorous.

        1. People will point to the fact that viewing figures are going up but these viewers often don’t recall what F1 was like in the past.

          It doesn’t matter what F1 was like in the past. The present and the future are not the past.
          F1’s changed. A lot… In fact, it’s always changing, and always has been.

          One thing is for sure, though – it won’t be going back to the past. Not while manufacturers are the priority.

          1. My point was that F1 was better in the past, in my opinion. It’s always had its faults and it is constantly changing/evolving. People new to the sport won’t know any different, mostly.

            1. IMO F1 was subjectively better in the past too (in some ways) – but that’s completely irrelevant. It’s not going to be that way ever again.
              Don’t forget that you were new to F1 at some point too…

              In addition, F1’s audience has changed a lot since ‘the past.’ A lot of current (and potential) F1 viewers simply don’t want monotonous, boring ‘races’ without any on-track competition – which did happen all too regularly before.

      2. I’ve yet to hear anyone say anything sportingly positive about a sprint race weekend.

        As I said above – the teams do everything they can to eliminate the sporting element.
        Sprints work great in series where they are given prominence and importance. Where they actually make a real difference, and there is no reason not to take them as seriously as a longer race.

        As far as ‘uniqueness’ goes – F1 is one of the only major headline series that does use them, actually making them more unique. No sprints in Super Formula or Indycar…. Just one long race.

        And if that’s what the teams and F1 are happy with, I guess it’s what we’ll have to get used to and if we don’t like it strongly enough, we can always take our money/viewership elsewhere

        Yep. F1 isn’t run by traditionalist fans. Other interests take priority in this business.

        Personally, I think that the uniqueness of F1 has been almost completely eroded to the point where it may just as well be yet another spec series.

        That would almost certainly improve the on-track product. F1 hasn’t been particularly special for quite a long time.

        If you aren’t willing to put time aside for series that provide on-track competition and action, then perhaps motorsport just isn’t for you anyway. Indycar and F2 both blow F1 out of the water when it comes to decent racing.

        And that’s a crying shame, because F1 should be a spectacle of man and machine like no other.

        Then maybe they should restore a bit more of the ‘man’ aspect, and reduce a lot of the ‘computer’ aspect…

    7. I utterly detest the Sprint format.

      I don’t like that the sport will eventually ask for 3 days a week from me 25 times (or half) the year. I don’t like that it diluted the importance of pace over one lap. I don’t like how it makes the Grand Prix grid more predictable and reveals the strategies for the race to the teams and the fans.

      I’ve heard arguments that it’s better than a free practice session. Arguably yes, but at what cost?

      I’ve always seen this as a money grab, an oversaturation of the product to try to compete with football. Last week Wolff said “the numbers don’t work for FE”. We should be limiting F1 running to 2 days, one practice, standard quali and a usual GP ran 20 times a year. That would allow the fans more time to invest in other sports like FE, Indycar, F2, WEC and WRC.

      The global Motorsport model is broken and the sprint format is another reason why.

      1. I think the problem with the sprint format is it’s no long about whether it ‘improves the show’ or not, it’s the fact those who pushed it in the first place have been so disingenuous and are refusing to listen to any form of critisim.

        If it’s a money grab then it’s an encredibly short sighted one as it will never capture the interest of casual fans who only watch the main race where the cars, teams and drivers can fully stretch out their skill, technical and stratetic abilities which sprint races don’t allow.

        I don’t think the “better then a practice session” argument is particularly good, especially as it shows how poor sprint races are in having to be compared to practice sessions to look ‘good’.

        1. I don’t think the “better then a practice session” argument is particularly good, especially as it shows how poor sprint races are in having to be compared to practice sessions to look ‘good’.

          It’s the perfect comparison, because it is the only one. Sprints don’t replace any other session, do they.

          Besides, for those who argue that the sprints are really that terrible, that can only mean that the practice session would have been even worse. Which is almost always the case – and is, not at all ironically, why most of F1’s audience doesn’t bother with Friday at all on a ‘normal’ weekend.

          1. The main reason people do not watch on Friday’s is that Friday is a working day.
            I have not managed to watch any of the qualifying sessions on a Friday.
            The real comparison is not between the popularity of a practice session and that of a sprint race, but between the popularity of a normal weekend and one featuring a sprint race.

    8. I utterly detest the Sprint format.

      That’s because they are doing it wrong.

      A short form race, featuring none of the current drivers, but using last year’s car (saves team expense) and driven by new super licence holders. That’s what it should be.

      You get more experienced drivers joining the normal F1 grid and therefore a likelihood of fewer crashes. Weed out the crash boys.
      You get a chance for more weeding out of drivers who are competent at F2 level and just fail miserably at F1
      You get a bigger pool of available seats for promising drivers to show their prowess, possibly an opportunity for women to show that some of them might be as good as the men.

      Oh, and a short form race to keep the short attention span millennials and youths happy to see the end before they absolutely must swipe left on their fondle slab.

      1. A short form race, featuring none of the current drivers, but using last year’s car (saves team expense) and driven by new super licence holders. That’s what it should be.

        Who is this supposed to appeal to

        There are about five people who care about “new super license holders,” and three of them are the person themselves and their parents.

        (Besides, cars other than the current machinery are completely impractical.)

      2. A short form race, featuring none of the current drivers, but using last year’s car (saves team expense) and driven by new super licence holders. That’s what it should be.

        You think shipping and running a completely different car and parts (nevermind having to continue to manufacture parts for an obsolete car) is going to save the teams money?

        Strange!

      3. So F2, but without the main race? F1.sprint?

        That’s just silly.

      4. “A short form race, featuring none of the current drivers”

        I think this is a fantastic idea, especially if it was the Constructor who amassed the points awarded, and NOT the new drivers. They would reap the rewards of a great performance with an almost guaranteed seat in a future year, making the hunger for better performance that much more compelling.

        If the constructor reaped the points then they would want their Car and Driver to be the best they could be, because the “Constructors Championship” is still a huge deal to the company and the individuals who work their butts off to achieve it.

        Well said Asanator, even the FIA and especially the sponsors would be all for it, and the fans would see the Qually still being the spectacle that awards the grid position, not a mickey mouse race.

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