Zak Brown has suggested mandatory pit stops as a possible solution of how to make sprint races more exciting.
After the six in 2023, Formula 1 has held 11 sprint races in total but has yet to find the perfect way of adapting it to the race weekend schedule.
With reigning World Champion Max Verstappen being the most vocal critic of the format, Formula 1 has vowed to make changes to the sprint and Brown has offered his opinion.
Zak Brown supports sprint pit stop changes
Brown is one of few whose team has actually won a sprint with Oscar Piastri pipping Verstappen in Qatar but despite this success, the McLaren CEO has recognised the format needs tweaking.
But he is generally on board with the concept, disagreeing with Verstappen that it spoils the rest of the race weekend.
“I don’t think they take away from the glamour of the grand prix but I do think we need to, which we are doing, look at the format,” he told the Track Limits podcast.
“I think he’d [Verstappen] say on the whole they haven’t been quite as exciting as they can be. So whether that’s reverse grids, whether that’s mandatory pit stops, whether it’s a super super soft tyre that goes off halfway through the race. I think we do need to do something to mix up the race.”
Brown’s personal favourite would be to introduce the mandatory pit stop with teams currently able to start and end the sprint on the same rubber providing they have not had a crash.
“I think mandatory pit stops would be good,” Brown said. “And I think if we had super soft tyres that deliberately went off halfway through and you then had to decide do you change? Do you not change?
“I think that would be a way to kind of condense [it into a] mini grand prix and make it because right now there’s no strategy. Sprint race, you just sprint so I think that would be interesting.”
Verstappen’s main complaint is the lack of meaning behind the shortened format.
“If you want my honest opinion about sprint weekends, I don’t really get excited by it,” he said after taking pole in the shootout and winning the sprint in Austin.
“I just feel like once you complete [Friday] qualifying you are a bit lost. I feel like we only need one qualifying in the weekend where you really put everything on the line and it feels great.
“This morning as well, I put it on P1 and was like ‘pfft it’s a Saturday, there’s not many points anyway for the race’. And besides that like now we’ve done this race everyone more or less knows what’s going to happen tomorrow between all the cars in terms of pace, so it takes away a bit the excitement of it.
“If we had not done today, and we only have the qualifying that we had yesterday, you don’t really know what’s going to happen in the race, it’s exciting to turn on the TV because you don’t know, and also we don’t know … but now we know.”