F1 held its second sprint race of 2021 at Monza last Saturday. Despite it turning into a total procession out front after the first lap, just like at Silverstone, Ross Brawn and Stefano Domenicali seem determined to press ahead with even more events next year.
Sergio Perez found last weekend’s sprint event at the iconic Italian venue “very boring.”
The Mexican added that ''there’s nothing happening in it, and I don’t see the benefit of having the sprint race. I can imagine it’s also boring for fans, boring for drivers. It doesn’t bring anything to be honest.''
However, Brawn was far more positive about it as he spoke about more engagement on Fridays from fans as normal qualifying takes place on that day when sprint events take place.
''We’re getting much more engagement with fans on a Friday than we’ve had recently,'' he said.
''The numbers I’ve seen that we were able to measure so far are stronger than they were at Silverstone. So everything’s positive, we don’t want to lose that, [but] we don’t want to go too far and turn people off.
''What we’re seeing is a strong increase in fan engagement. More people are watching a race weekend than we had before. Does that tail off if we do it all the time? Is it something we can maintain? So lots of decisions to balance, but it’s work to be done.''
While Domenicali said to Sport Bild: "We're doing three sprint races this year. In addition to Silverstone and Monza, there's also Brazil. The reactions, the tension, the rhythm are good. We are currently rethinking the format, but I can imagine that we will have up to seven sprint races."
F1 CEO Domenicali also suggested in the Sport Bild interview that a Grand Slam could be introduced as he believes F1 must change. Brawn also used the ‘Grand Slam’ term earlier in the year. A driver who wins both the Sprint title and coveted World Championship would be awarded it.
The Italian said: "We think - only one example - about a Grand Slam, an additional title like in tennis: who wins the Sprint title & the [World] Championship title is Grand Slam winner. F1 needs change & must be interesting for the young audience."
As for next year, Domenicali says the 2022 season should kick off in Bahrain, as discussions could take place to hold a race in Africa and Korea in future years.
"I would like to keep the F1 calendar at 23 races. We have inquiries from Africa, we are talking to South & North Africa, and one or two races in the Far East, such as Korea. I can imagine a third of the races in Europe, the others spread around the world."