F1 is back this weekend for the British Grand Prix and ready to give us a taste of the Sprint Qualifying format. On Saturday drivers will engage in a 100km race to secure their place on the starting grid for Sunday’s - real - race.
Haas Team Principal Gunther Steiner is "looking forward to it because” , he said, “it's something new and something new always gives opportunity and hopefully we can be a part of that. I think the success will be if the fans like it.”
Nonetheless he believes it could use some improvements and refinements.
“At the moment I think it's a good format but if there's something we can enhance, and the fans embrace it, that would be good and then I would say let's do more of it."
But what is he expecting from this new format?
"I think for sure the drivers will race hard because in qualifying everyone races hard and this is like a sprint race which defines the qualifying positions.”
“From our side, this year it's all about learning so running the race, having a few more race starts during the year because of sprint qualifying format will be an advantage next year,” commented Steiner. “On the sprint, I will tell them [Mazepin and Schumacher] to keep their noses clean and keep the cars on the track."
"I'm not sure what to expect from the Sprint Qualifying format,” added Mazepin. “I think with the current tires you need to plan the amount of laps you're going to be doing on them. Hopefully we can push flat out for the whole time as normally we do not get to do that. Potentially, every lap will be like a qualifying lap for that short period of time."
Here in Silverstone last year, his teammate Mick Schumacher went quite close to victory in the F2 sprint race. And now he is also looking forward to seeing how things will play out for Haas on this first try. "I think that with the new qualifying format, we will definitely need to approach the weekend differently,” he said. “We only have one free practice session to set-up the car how we want it to be for the whole weekend. In FP2 we will try and learn something for the main event, but it will definitely be very different, it's going to be interesting."