Formula 1’s directiors have been thinking, now for a while, of new ways of engagement and enhancement to make the sport of something the most attractive for a new generation of fans. The minds of men like Stefano Domenicali and Ross Brawn accorded to introduce three tests for a new format of race weekend including sprint-qualifying races on the 2021 championship calendar. The first of which is set to take place at Silverstone for this week’s British GP.
MotorLat was present at today's McLaren virtual media event altogether with selected media. Team Principal Andreas Seidl spoke on the biggest challenges the team will face in an unusual ‘home race weekend’ for the Woking-based team.
“It’s obviously very compressed; you have to get in a single session what you normally put in three sessions. It is clear that you need to be very careful in trying –for example, things in the cars– because afterward, you have to lock in your car for qualifying. But of course, at the same time, you want to have a performing car going into qualifying, that’s why you have to find the right balance in order to be as prepared as possible.” He said.
“In general, the biggest challenge of this weekend is making sure you’re clear of the regulations to be quick, in terms of we’re not racing with the same race weekend at the same sequence we’ve done for many years. That’s where we are focusing as a team.”
But according to the German, “having qualifying today is not a big mix compared to what we usually see.”
“We’ll try to keep on the high ranking for Friday and then maintain it for Saturday lunchtime.”
The early days of the week have been a bit turbulent for McLaren, as Lando Norris was the victim of a mugging in which he lost a Richard Mille watch, minutes after visiting Wembley for the Euro final match between England and Italy. Seidl was questioned on how the 21-years-old Briton’s mental status was, ahead of the race weekend at Silverstone.
“Obviously the beginning of the week wasn’t ideal. As Lando said yesterday, he’s not in perfect condition but at the same time, with the support he has from the team is clear his focus is here on this weekend, we don’t expect a big issue there.”
Problems didn’t stay there for McLaren, as CEO Zak Brown tested positive for Coronavirus. Now with a bit more than a year with the pandemic going on in the world, the Team Principal said it is “something we have to deal with. The team together with FIA and F1 we have always being able to catch some cases early before the team gathers together again.” Seidl commented.
“We expect to finally focus on the race weekend and the execution.”
Andreas Seidl concluded by giving his view on what will be next for the sprint-qualifying weekend and stated it is very clear that the high commands on F1 and motorsport, sooner rather than later, will have to sit down and analyze the learnings on the implementation of this format looking forward to 2022.
“From my personal opinion, the thing we are going to face this weekend I think we have accepted this is a kind of experiment as well, and in the end, we came up all together with the system that we will get now, with the points that are going to be given Saturday afternoon… I simply think, once we have done this race and this year with special weekends, finally we will have to sit and discuss the pros and cons and decide whether we take it to the next step.”
“In the end, we are absolutely fine to introduce new things, new formats, as long as it doesn’t go against the principle of what we are always asking for, which is ‘let´s not introduce artificial changes’