Bernie Ecclestone has derided the new proposed sprint qualifying format in Formula 1, branding it “complete nonsense”.
With three test sprint races confirmed for 2021, the first of which being at the British Grand Prix at Silverstone in July, Formula 1 are trying the format in an attempt to increase track action throughout a race weekend.
The 90-year-old left his sport in 2017 after Liberty Media acquired Formula 1, but has remained outspoken on the direction the sport has taken since his departure – disagreeing with the new proposal in its current form, suggesting a reverse grid to encourage more overtaking.
“The way they have decided it now is complete nonsense,” Ecclestone is quoted as having told Sport Bild by Sport1.
“If the winner of the sprint race also gets points and is also on the first grid position, at the end of the season that does not give a true reflection of who is really the best driver.
“My original idea was to give the winner of a sprint race maybe ten points, but let him start the race from tenth place. If he had then moved up to third place in the race, for example, his real ability would have been better seen.”
— Planet F1 (@Planet_F1) April 26, 2021
Sprint qualifying will alter how a race weekend pans out, with a standard qualifying session on a Friday followed by the 100km sprint race – which will last around 30 minutes – with the results of that forming the grid for Sunday’s Grand Prix.
This is not the first time Ecclestone has voiced his opposition to sprint qualifying, saying that the shortened race should be fundamentally different to how the standard race plays out on a Sunday.
“People only watch the main race if there is something different on offer to the sprint. Why should Sunday’s race be any different to Saturday’s when the result of the sprint is the grid for the main race?” he said to Auto Motor und Sport back in February.
If there is anything you need to find out about sprint qualifying and how it will work, head to our comprehensive guide here.