The sprint format that debuted during the British GP at Silverstone has been a shake up to the standard format of an F1 weekend - instead of Friday practice sessions, Saturday qualifying and Sunday race configuration, we had the qualifying taking place on Friday evening, followed by the 100km sprint on Saturday afternoon that decided the starting grid for Sundays race.
Talking about how the first sprint race weekend in F1 went, the FIA Race Director Michael Masi said: “I think the first event has been a success and we’ve seen it’s been amazing to have a full crowd here at the British Grand Prix.
“Everyone should be proud of what we achieved. Looking back, the original intention… gave three competitive elements across three days of the event, which for the viewers, the spectators, the public and the fans has its benefits.
“There was always an open mind from the FIA, F1 and the teams that we would take the first event, see what improvements could be made. Overall I think there’s one little element one team brought up which is inconsequential, it’s just something to think about that will be discussed.
“For Monza, we’ll sit down openly with everyone, take on any feedback and make any amendments we may need to make before Monza.”
Masi also admitted that the fact the sprint race, won by Max Verstappen, was so short came to him as a surprise. As he said during the interview: “The structure of a Grand Prix weekend has been quite stable for a number of years, so [the Sprint] was quite intense,” said Masi. “By the time you get through those first few laps and you hear the call we get over the radio, ‘10 laps to go’ and you go, ‘Jesus where’s that gone?’ You have to remind yourself.
“But I thought it was good. The excitement, Kimi [Raikkonen] and Fernando [Alonso], their overtaking off the start, all added to the spectacle and from what I understand it came across well from a spectators’ perspective… Speaking to friends around the globe, they liked it because it was different.”
He added: “Do I see it having a place at every event? No. Is it a different format – and F1’s been quite open in saying we’re looking at possibilities of different formats at different events in the future? Absolutely.”
It will definitely be interesting to see what types of changes will be made for Monza. The sprint race format was met with a polarising opinions on it, with many fans hating it, but many journalists, drivers and other paddock-related figures praising it. How different will it be, and will it eventually stay for next seasons? The second sprint race is not that far from us, as it will take place in three rounds place - during the Italian GP at Monza, just after Hungarian GP, Belgian GP and Dutch GP and a month of the summer break we are inevitably entering soon.