F1 ‘not even thinking’ about having sprints every round

Date published: October 23 2021 - Finley Crebolder

The start of sprint qualifying at Monza. Italy September 2021

Stefano Domenicali has promised that having sprint qualifying sessions at every race weekend isn’t something that is being considered.

The format, which features traditional qualifying on Friday and a Saturday sprint race that sets the grid for the main event on Sunday, has been trialled twice this year and will take place again in Brazil.

The sport has been pleased with the outcome of said trials and is planning on using the format at around double the number of race weekends in 2022.

Reactions from fans, drivers and teams have been relatively mixed though, and many don’t like the idea of sprints becoming a regular thing.

Domenicali has reassured them that the sport isn’t even considering having sprints at every single round of the season going forward, but says a recent fan survey, conducted by F1, Nielsen Sport and Motorsport Network, shows they’re popular.

“The number is very, very encouraging,” The F1 CEO said as per Motorsport.com.

“We see, from what we see as a figure, the mixed feelings of more traditional fans [who are] less happy for the change, while the new fans are really happy to see things moving in a different way. So it’s basically the thing that I see is correct to consider.

“And that’s why, as I state on the survey, we are not even thinking to go with all the grands prix in a different format.

“We believe that we can create a very fixed number, that will be I think six in the near future, with this format, with changes that we are thinking [about] together with the teams in order to improve the quality of the offer.”

Stefano Domenicali on the grid at the Austrian GP. Red Bull Ring July 2021.

While sprint races haven’t been unanimously popular, they’ve undoubtedly been more positively received than reverse grids when the sport showed an interest in introducing them.

That was very much evident in the aforementioned survey, with 68% of fans saying they don’t want such a format to be used.

While he and his colleagues were once fairly keen on the idea, Domenicali has now acknowledged it’s not wanted.

 

“We know that it’s not part of the discussion we are having,” the Italian added.

“So I think that [the results are] encouraging, and the trend is confirmed by this kind of mix, the avid or traditional fans versus the new fans.

“That is why this is really the right place where we need to find the right compromise.”