Formula 1 CEO Stefano Domenicali has said that the idea of sprint races has received a fantastic response from everyone inside the sport, as the plan to introduce them in 2021 looks set to happen. The former Ferrari team principal added the final format is still up for discussion but hopes to reveal how will work before the season-opener in Bahrain.
If approved, there is likely to be three events on the calendar that will host a sprint race on a Saturday during the upcoming season: they are the Canadian Grand Prix at Montreal, the Italian Grand Prix at Monza and the Brazilian Grand Prix at Interlagos.
Qualifying would take place on Friday and it would set the grid for the sprint races; the result of those would give up the grid for the Grand Prix on Sunday.
“Our objective is to try to offer to the people that are coming to the event, to the people that are watching television, to the people that are really a fan of Formula 1, something that is exciting,” Domenicali said.
“So the idea that we have shared, and I think have received great feedback from everyone in the sport, is that we will try to figure out something that will give us a qualifying on Friday, Saturday a sprint race that will determine the great order for the Sunday race. That will give us the thrill of a great weekend that will be beneficial to all the parties involved.
This is something that we are debating with the teams and the FIA in the next weeks in order to present the final format before the start of the season in Bahrain.”
Despite the Italian’s huge enthusiasm for the idea, some of the drivers don’t seem totally convinced at the present time. Here are some of the thoughts of those who were asked about it recently.
"I think, ultimately, if the best guys and the best teams are still coming out on top, and it's kind of not manipulated or artificial, so to speak, then I'm less scared of it.
Competition is obviously what I love most, so I would love to do more races and less practice or whatever. So it kind of does go towards probably what I want.
But I think the biggest thing is I want an F1 win to still feel as big as what it should be. I don't ever want an F1 win to feel diluted, or just somewhat lower than what it should.
So if they do bring in another race on the weekend, as long as it kind of carries the same value, then I guess I'm certainly more open-minded towards that."
“It's not necessarily about more racing [on a weekend]. I quite like doing a one-and-a-half-hour race, because if we have good cars like we can race closely and more teams are able to fight for victory, you don't need sprint races.
“I think we don't need to really mix it up that much the whole programme. We just need to make sure that you fight for the win.”
“I just think we’ve got to be careful that we don’t lose the DNA of Formula 1. I think it's a very thin line. It's a bit risky. I’m open to it.
I don't know what to expect really, how it will change the format in Formula 1 once we've done it. For me, the most important thing is that F1 keeps with the DNA.”
You can read the thoughts of Binotto, Leclerc and Sainz on it here.