Red Bull team principal Christian Horner admitted Formula 1 needs to take another look at how to address the shortcoming of its sprint race format.
“For me, parc ferme is a bit of a joke,” said Horner. “You have one session to set your car up and then the engineers may as well go home at that point. That needs looking at and that I’m sure was a contributing factor to the right height issues [for] the teams that fell foul of the regulations [in Austin].
“Effectively it’s just a long run on a sprint race and there’s no real jeopardy to it. There’s no real incentive behind it.”
Horner’s driver Max Verstappen has won more sprint races than anyone and clinched the drivers’ championship in one at Qatar. But he remains a staunch critic of the format and has repeatedly called for F1 to drop it.
However Horner believes its shortcomings can be addressed. “I think it just needs to be looked at and modified to say how can it be improved? How can we make this better? How can it be more satisfying for the drivers?
“If the drivers enjoy it and find it rewarding and the teams find it rewarding, then I think the fans ultimately will. But I think we should really go to the fans and get their feedback, as well of what is it that they want?”
F1 increased the number of sprint races from three to six this year and for the first time made them standalone events which did not decide the starting order for the grand prix. With one sprint race remaining in Brazil next week, Horner said F1 needs to take another look at their popularity once the season is over.
“It’d be interesting to look at the data at the end of the year of how popular have the sprint races been because, at the end of the day, it’s all about the fans and the reason we do sprint races is to try and provide more entertainment to create a more attractive event.
“I think that it’s still a very new concept. And I think we have to be honest with ourselves and like I [say] we can always improve the car, I think we can always improve the format.
“We need to look openly and honestly at the end of the year, when we’ve got all the samples of the sprint races and say ‘okay, what can we do better, what can be learned, and how can we improve the spectacle and the event and I think there’s many things that could be done to improve it.”
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