On Monday, the team bosses as well as the governing bodies of F1 gave a green light to the idea of introducing sprint qualifying sessions at three different events this season to see if this format is something that could potentially improve the sport in the future. It has been confirmed that the first two will take place at Silverstone and at Monza, with the third one being so far unspecified.
Although the idea of sprint races/qualifying has heavily divided F1 fans, journalists and others alike, the F1’s managing director of motorsport Ross Brawn made it clear that it is highly unlikely this format will ever be utilised at every Grand Prix in the future. Instead, he says that in case the sprint races will work out and will go ahead in 2022 season, they will choose specific venues to host them, rather than having them at every race in the calendar.
As he said: “I’m not sure this format would be as successful at Monaco. We’re considering these weekends being Grand Slam events, spread through the season, so it is something different. I don’t think it’ll go to the whole season. I think it’ll be a limited number of races, but that is to be decided.”
Brawn has made it clear he believes that this format will be good F1, as it it a solution that suited both teams and drivers, despite a heavy debate amongst fans regarding the Saturday sprint races.
As he said: “[One of the challenges was] finding a format that had the right balance between giving us an opportunity to have exciting Friday and Saturday running – perhaps a shorter format race but one which did not take anything away from main event. We had to find that balance. Everyone had a different opinion on what that should look like. It was also about finding an economic and logistical solution that didn’t impact teams too severely.
“They want this event, but they are all working under massive challenges and we had to find a solution that worked with them without compromising the event.”
He added: “The drivers are open minded about the format - and that’s all we ask, that the drivers keep an open mind so we can evaluate this event and then we decide if in the future it forms a feature of the F1 season. If it doesn’t work, we put hands up and we will think again.”