F1 | Todt on sprint races: We are happy to do something but we don't want to damage the sport
FIA president Jean Todt spoke to the Cambridge Union about the heated debates currently raging in Formula 1 about the possibility of introducing a sprint race and a reverse grid.
Todt states that at the heart of all the debates is a difficult question for the FIA: how do we make the sport more enjoyable without jeopardizing its core values?
At this time, it seems that at least three sprint races will be held next season, all on Saturday, to decide the starting order for the Grand Prix on Sunday. Todt describes the FIA's decision by referring to the crucial issue that the FIA faces as a result of Mercedes' long-standing dominance, “If we can find, and we are trying to do that, innovative ways of creating more excitement, a better show, we will do it But not at the cost of damaging the sport.”
Todt went on to say to the Cambridge Union, "There is some intention to introduce a super-qualifying for two or three Grands Prix, which is already starting this year. We are happy to do something but we don’t want to damage the sport.”
Overall, Yes, there should be a cost limit, but no, there should not be a reverse grid.
The Frenchman is hopeful that once teams can fight Mercedes in the future, ideas like sprint or reserve grid races can be scrapped:
"We can only hope that there will be more [competition] in the future. Not only for Ferrari, but it's good to see Red Bull being able to challenge Mercedes, to see Max Verstappen being able to challenge Lewis Hamilton."
The budget cap was also implemented after the same consideration by Formula One's governing body. According to Todt, “I think the first big step was to decide to implement a cost cap, which is a kind of game-changer.”
Todt specifically addresses the three major teams and claims that limiting them would improve overall Formula 1 enthusiasm, “The cost cap is affecting mainly three teams: Mercedes, Red Bull and Ferrari. The other seven teams are not hurt by the cost cap, so what that means is that it will create less discrepancy between the small, medium and big teams.”
However, his support for a better Formula One display has its limits. The former Ferrari boss, for example, is completely opposed to a reverse grid layout. In response to this, he says, "It is completely artificial ... [and] would be completely against the interests of the sport and the nature of the sport.”