‘Why don’t we try it?’ – F1 team bosses support sprints

Tom Rawcliffe
Seidl Wolff Horner PA

Seidl Wolff Horner PA

Sprint race proposals seem to have split the Formula 1 fanbase, but the sport’s team principals have reiterated their support for the trials.

Sprint races are looking likely to be trialled at three grands prix this season, with CEO Stefano Domenicali confirming that Silverstone will be one of the host venues.

In a meeting with the teams last month, F1 bosses received positive feedback from its teams, but they wanted some more clarity over how exactly they would work, something which they are still waiting for.

Nevertheless, they are very open to the idea of changing the format of the race weekend, with Red Bull boss Christian Horner one of those encouraged by the idea.

Speaking at the Bahrain testing, Horner said: “There’s always a million reasons not to do something, but I think the concept’s interesting.

“I think the way they’re looking at introducing it is reasonably responsible over three events, so why don’t we try it? Let’s give it a go.

“There’s a lot of work going on behind the scenes with the team managers and the sporting directors to ensure the right regulations are in place for it.

“Hopefully it will be an interesting spectacle. But if it’s what the promoters want to do, we’re happy to support.”

Wolff Horner PA
Wolff Horner PA

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Boss at Red Bull’s rivals Mercedes, Toto Wolff, is also happy for the sport to trial the event, and once that has happened they can properly evaluate whether or not there is place for it in the sport.

“I think speaking for our team and hearing the opinions, we are probably more on the purist side,” he said.

“We appreciate the 70-year-old history of [having the] Grand Prix on a Sunday. But I would agree that one thing is for sure: by having a little race on Saturday, we will have a large increase in audiences. I’ve seen it in DTM and Touring Cars, that we were almost able to double the TV audiences with the second race.

“I think we should give it a go and then be really honest to ourselves: what was the financial impact, and impact on the eyeballs, that we were able to generate? What was the show factor? And as Christian said, there’s many pros and cons.

“I think if we all stick our heads together, we can find a solution that is of mutual benefit. Formula 1 is what we do all together and we need to entertain the people.”

Andreas Seidl, McLaren team principal, also showed his support, and he believes that the teams could come to a decision this weekend, but ultimately it is then “down to Formula 1”.

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