Ferrari's Carlos Sainz says that the sprint format needs some spice
Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz says that talks are ongoing over a way to spice-up Formula 1’s sprint weekend format.
2021 saw the debut of sprint qualifying at three rounds across the season, the format seeing a sprint race setting the grid for the main grands prix.
The traditional Q1, Q2 and Q3 qualifying moves forward a day, determining the sprint grid.
The trials were enough to convince Formula 1 to roll out sprint qualifying again in 2022, once more at three rounds, the first of those having now taken place.
Sainz had used the sprint at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix to bring himself back into contention after crashing in qualifying, starting P10 but finishing P4.
That hard work was undone though by Daniel Ricciardo after the McLaren driver spun Sainz into the gravel on the opening lap of the race.
Sainz believes there is “good potential” in the sprint format, with discussions ongoing over how to add a bit more “spice”.
“It’s something that we are discussing with FOM and FIA to maybe spice up a bit the sprint weekend,” he said, quoted by Motorsportweek.com.
“I think there is good potential there.”
But, Sainz is concerned with the growing schedule for drivers, not only in terms of races on the expanding calendar, but also due to the increasing number of meetings and other activities which drivers now also are faced with on a race weekend.
“Obviously on a standard weekend, we are going towards more number of races,” he explained.
“But for some reason that maybe we didn’t expect this year, both Thursday and Friday have become a lot longer for the drivers.
“The amount of media that we are facing every day, and the amount of time that we are spending at the track in meetings and activities has increased a lot, even as we are going towards a higher number of races.
“So, we are going to need to find a way to control this in a more efficient way, let’s say.”
Two more sprints remain for 2022, those to take place in Austria and Brazil, but the future of the format is uncertain beyond there.
Formula 1 and the teams are said to be united on their desire to increase the number of sprints, but at the latest F1 Commission meeting, it emerged that the FIA are not yet ready to commit, citing the added costs of holding more sprints, since this will mean more operational staff are needed.
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