Formula 1 is considering a change to the sprint race format in which they do not decide the starting grid for the Grand Prix.
The series introduced the Sprint format last year. Qualifying for the sprint rounds takes place on Friday, which sets the starting order for Saturday’s 100km race, which determines the grid for the Grand Prix.
Several drivers said Saturday’s race would not make for a good race because they knew their finishing position would set the starting order for the big race. This makes them apathetic to face danger.
F1 is understood to be talking to teams that making the sprint races stand alone – like those in Formula 2 and Formula 3 – would create more excitement and action. The final decision has not been taken, but the choice will be considered.
According to Max Verstappen, today’s sprint races fail to create the desired excitement because they set the starting order of the race. He said drivers “don’t really compete” in racing because of this.
“I’m not a fan of it because I feel like we’re not a race,” said the world champion. “There are quite a few. [championship] The points you get but you know you can’t really risk it because the main competition is where you get the points. You don’t make pit stops so wear the tires that go the distance.
F1 has already confirmed that the number of sprint races will increase from three to six next year. He is in talks with the team about possible changes to the format, which would include cutting the link between where drivers finish the race and where they start the grand prix.
Furthermore, Kevin Magnussen believes that this will improve the quality of sprint racing.
“Max has a good point that you want to take less risk in the sprint because it will decide the position for Sunday,” he said. “So I think maybe a good fix is to identify that, so you can go for it.”
Both drivers say the benefit of sprint events is reducing the amount of practice drivers have before the big race.
“I enjoy going straight from practice to qualifying,” said Magnussen. “It puts a lot of pressure on finding your rhythm quickly and getting your setup right. I feel like there’s three practices, so I like that kind of thing.”
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