Hakkinen found sprint ‘exciting’ and ‘courageous’

Date published: July 22 2021 - Finley Crebolder

Mika Hakkinen

Mika Hakkinen is a big fan of sprint qualifying, saying that he can only think of positives after it was tried for the first time.

The session, a short race taking place on Saturday to set the starting grid for the main one on Sunday, was used for the first time at the British Grand Prix – and the Italian Grand Prix at Monza has now officially been confirmed as the venue for the second test of the format.

It was generally well-received by drivers and fans alike, with many feeling it was a worthwhile addition to the sport.

Hakkinen felt the same, finding it exciting as it ups the ante for the teams and drivers and is unpredictable.

“I found the new race weekend format really exciting to watch. I could not think of anything negative about it, only positive,” he said in his column for Unibet.

“By having only one practice session before qualifying on Friday, Formula One gave the teams and drivers a lot of work to do in a short period of time. It gave the teams additional pressure and introduced risk.

“[It] provided some surprises, with Fernando Alonso doing a great job to make up places and therefore start the race in a much stronger grid position. Meanwhile, with Sergio Perez, we saw what can happen when you make a mistake. It increases the possibility of unpredictable outcomes.”

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The future of the format going forward is still very much unclear, with it being tested twice more before the end of the 2021 campaign.

Hakkinen thinks it’s definitely worthwhile using it at a few races every season to mix things up a bit and bring new fans to the sport.

“The new format is clearly there to provide the fans with more excitement, to help grow the sport, build audience interest and attract new followers,” the Finn added.

“From my side, it definitely adds something new and positive to Formula One. At the moment the idea is going to be tested at three races, with the next one planned for the Italian Grand Prix in Monza, and I can see how Formula One could introduce this for selected events each season.

“It is a courageous move to shake things up, and after watching the Silverstone event Iā€™m looking forward to the next one.”