Guenther Steiner predicts chaos with proposed new sprint format

Sam Cooper
Haas team boss Guenther Steiner at the Austrian Grand Prix. Spielberg, July 2022.

Haas' Guenther Steiner at the Austrian Grand Prix. Spielberg, July 2022.

Guenther Steiner has warned F1 teams to prepare for “chaos” as Baku gets set to host two races in two days.

The Azerbaijani capital is the venue for the first of six sprint races to be held in 2023 but unlike the other five host circuits, Baku is a street track and home to the narrowest section of any F1 circuit.

This has rightly caused some concern amongst the teams and their drivers who face not only an expensive repair bill but also a race against time to rebuild their car should they suffer a crash during Saturday’s race.

For the teams at the top, the sprint format provides a small reward for a large risk but for teams further down the pecking order like Haas, they could find themselves moving upwards should a team ahead crash out.

Haas team boss Steiner predicted there could be “chaos” at the race which is the next stop on the Formula 1 calendar.

“It could be [chaotic], but that makes it interesting,” he told RACER. “Hopefully there is no chaos, but it could be. Baku is always a race…If you think in Australia we had three red flags can you imagine how many red flags we will have in Baku in two races?!”

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Not only will Baku play host to the first sprint event of the year, it is also expected to be the guinea pig for a new weekend structure with qualifying sessions held for both the sprint and the race itself.

There has been plenty of opposition to this, namely from Max Verstappen, but the teams at least are in agreement. Steiner said he believes the new format will be “much cooler” as Saturday morning currently is just for “watching grass grow.”

“Absolutely, I brought it up last year for the first time,” Steiner said. “I said Saturday morning is just like watching grass grow basically because you are out there and you cannot do anything on the car, you just go round. Yeah, you learn something about tires, but is it worthwhile to do it? No. It will be much cooler like this.

“We have to deal with new things but we always say F1 is so advanced that if in three weeks we cannot get this together then I think we need to change job, and not be telling people how advanced Formula 1 is!”