Eddie Jordan proposes unique solution to end ‘shambolic’ F1 Sprint races

Henry Valantine
FIA F1 Sprint medal.

The sprint format is set for a shake-up ahead of the 2024 season.

While not a fan of the F1 Sprint in its current form, former team owner Eddie Jordan has offered a solution that he feels could be of benefit to young drivers.

He believes reducing the number of Sprints to four and using only drivers to have competed in 10 or fewer Grands Prix would encourage teams to utilise young talent, while offering drivers the opportunity to showcase their talent on F1 weekends.

Eddie Jordan proposes F1 Sprint solution with current format a ‘failure’

Sprints have divided opinion since their arrival in Formula 1 three years ago, with the shortened races taking place over a one-third race distance and a smaller number of points being given out as a result.

Further changes to the structure of a race weekend are coming in 2024 as the teams look to extend the window in which they can make setup changes to their cars, with the Sprint itself now coming as the first action on a Saturday before Grand Prix qualifying in its traditional slot later on Saturday.

The first test of the latest changes will come at this weekend’s Chinese Grand Prix, with Shanghai returning to the calendar for the first time since 2019.

In accepting that the F1 Sprint is likely to stay, former eponymous team owner Jordan believes the shortened races can act as a proving ground for young talent at the four biggest heritage races of the season, to create the ‘Grand Slams’ of the calendar.

“Winning a sprint race is not winning a Grand Prix, they are not even close in my book,” Jordan said on the Formula For Success podcast.

“One is playful carry on getting a few points and the other is a hardcore Grand Prix, where you have to prepare and do things differently.

“I think sprint race needs to be called to question. I think it’s not providing what it should have provided or what they set out to provide and I have a solution, perhaps, to rookie drivers and sprint races.

“I think sprint racing is a failure. It’s shambolic. It shouldn’t be in the weekend for the Grand Prix.

“It’s distracting. It’s taking us away from what we’re really there to do to see who wins the Grand Prix.

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“So now rather than lose it, I would propose having four Grands Prix, which are four of the races that are key in our calendar…so you talk about Spa, Silverstone, Monza, and then a choice of somewhere else, let’s put it into Monaco.

“So for me, when you have tennis and you have a Grand Slam, these would be for me the Grand Slam events.

“And what I would like to propose does happen so as it doesn’t need extra cars, it doesn’t need extra parts, that a sprint race, which can be shorter, because really, all you want to do is see the start of the race and see how people qualify…so you give them a chance to get the feel, soak up the atmosphere of the Saturday, and we have a sprint race at four events a year – and no driver can enter that race if they’ve completed in over 10 Grands Prix.

“So it gives some of those guys who are unlucky, that got squeezed out, some of the guys who are on the way up, and it gives them a chance.

“You can make it they have to do five Grands Prix, 10 Grands Prix, it doesn’t matter what that figure is. But I’m just saying you can’t have it open ended and anyone who’s a bit of a star and is just on the cusp and looking for a drive come there.

“But anyway, that’s my proposal. My proposal is that we pick four races, get rid of sprint racing, and make these sprint races into four of them per year in the circuits that have been loyal to Formula 1 for the longest time – and I think that’s a way of repaying it.

“And I do believe this. It needs to be doctored. I’m not saying that’s the full complete package, but that’s my view [of] how I think this could be handled.”

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