Sprint races may be called ‘super qualifying’

Date published: March 3 2021

Formula 1 grid

The name that has been proposed for the sprint races that could be brought into Formula 1 for 2021 is “super qualifying”.

That is according to Alpine executive director Marcin Budkowski, who was discussing the concept which does largely have the support of the teams, but remains controversial with some drivers.

100km sprint races on a Saturday may be trialed at three rounds of the 2021 season, and would form the grid for the grand prix on Sunday.

And Budkowski revealed that the name proposed to teams for these sprint races is ‘super qualifying’, and he is absolutely behind the proposal.

“Sprint races or whatever they’re going to be called, ‘super qualifying’, it’s excitement over three days, really,” he is quoted by RaceFans.net.

“You’re going to qualify on the Friday, we’re going to race on Saturday and race again on Sunday.

“We’re going to go a lot less prepared into qualifying. For the fans, whether at the circuit or at home, it is three days of excitement.

“Teams sometimes look at it as we are so obsessed about competing with each other, we are so obsessed about improving our competitiveness and our performance, at the end of the day, we need to put on a good show. I think that’s going to help putting on a good show for the fans.

“So let’s try a new format. It’s a great opportunity to see if that’s something we want to carry over into next season.”

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New Formula 1 boss Stefano Domenicali, who has backed the introduction of sprint races, has made it clear that the celebrations for winning the sprint race and winning the main grand prix would be distinct, in order to avoid devaluing the traditional main Sunday race.

One of the main concerns for the drivers has been losing the prestige of winning in Formula 1 if there were sprint races.

“We have to make sure that there is a difference between the iconic celebration of the race,” said Domenicali.

“It is the iconic moment at the end of the event, Sunday afternoon, that’s the peak of the sports event and that has to be kept separate from the other moments. So the most important celebration will still be Sunday afternoon and not Saturday.”

“What is absolutely key is the integrity of the sport in the DNA,” added Chloe Targett-Adams, F1’s head of race promotions.

“So in changing format, we make sure we don’t lose that because that’s not going to work for the teams, the fans, for our wider commercial partners and promoters.

“I think the sprint race concept that our motorsport team, working with the FIA and the teams, are obviously in discussion around is a very interesting way of looking at updating the format while still preserving the DNA of the sport.

“Obviously there are details that they are working through now with a view to looking at having that rolling out at three races this year.”

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