Ferrari are bracing themselves for a “mess” at Silverstone as Formula 1 teams try to adjust to a new weekend format which includes a sprint race on Saturday.
The traditional three practice sessions, followed by qualifying and the race, are out of the window for the British Grand Prix as the first sprint race format is trialled at the home of British motorsport.
First practice will instead be followed by the qualifying session on Friday evening, which will set the grid for the sprint race on Saturday afternoon, and sandwiched in between on Saturday lunchtime will be the second practice. Normality returns on Sunday afternoon with the race proper.
While the format continues to be met scepticism from fans, drivers and teams alike, Ferrari boss Mattia Binotto thinks the excitement could come just from Formula 1 stepping into the unknown and creating some unpredictability in the process.
Sprint Qualifying comes to @F1 at Silverstone this weekend 🇬🇧
— Haas F1 Team (@HaasF1Team) July 13, 2021
“We have got a new tyre specification at Silverstone, which we tested in Austria, but most of the teams need to have some more experience on it,” Binotto said.
“There will be very little time for it because it’s only the Friday morning [practice session] before going into qualifying – so you are really going straight into qualifying with the new spec.
“It’s a new format, there is very little experience because it is parc ferme from Friday afternoon onwards, and that’s really exciting. It could be exciting.
“I think there may be some mess because set-ups will not be optimised thanks to a lack of experiences on the tyres, so I think it can be a great race weekend in that respect.”
While Formula 1 is keen to keep hold of the sprint race format – with two more trials set to follow Silverstone later this season – Binotto believes the different format could be reserved for double-headers at the same circuit in order to spice up the respective weekends.
He added; “I think in the future if we’ve got two races at the same circuit, we may consider the sprint qualifying race format again try to change a bit the format of the weekend.”