Last weekend in Monza F1 had a second taste of the sprint qualifying format that is set to be extended to more races – possibly 7, anticipated F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali- from 2022. The new format will be trialed for one last time this season at the Brazilian GP to see what can be improved.
As of now it has raised contrasting opinions. For FIA President Jean Todt the second free practice session, taking place on the morning before the sprint race, could be something to reflect on.
"For the moment this [sprint] format leaves me a bit perplexed over what happens between 12pm and 1pm on Saturday morning," he said talking to Italian media.
The session, he argues, has no use other than colleting data for the teams.
"This free practice hour is not understandable to the public nor the media. It can only be of interest to the teams to collect information, for example on tyre wear. From the point of view of the show, it makes no sense."
Information that McLaren driver Daniel Ricciardo believes could end up affecting the spectacular quality of the race.
"I'm not sure FP2 does a lot. I think actually we probably learn too much and then the races are a little kind of predictable,” he explained.
"I know about TV time, but I think for the health of the race, FP2 maybe hurts that a little bit because we kind of gain too much knowledge, so maybe that's something that'll change."
For Todt, however, the most important thing is that the focus doesn’t shift away from the actual Sunday race.
"It is an evolution of the competition. The grid is made from the result of the sprint qualifying,” he commented.
"An additional event was introduced on Saturday, which gives more meaning to the qualifying on Friday. What is important is that the main event is the Sunday race. There must be no confusion about this."
Just this morning Domenicali suggested that F1 is thinking about introducing a Grand Slam title for the winner of both the Sprint and World Championship titles. But Todt is being more cautious.
"For now, nothing is decided," he said. "We will see the feedback we will collect after the Monza and Interlagos experiences."