Will the race format revolution in Formula 1 become standard in future? At the Silverstone race weekend in mid-July, qualifying on Saturday was replaced for the first time by a sprint race over 100 kilometres.
The starting grid for the race on the following day was determined at this race, and the top three drivers also received three, two and one points for the world championship standings. The format, which is already established in Formula 2, is to be tested in two more races this season – and may become the standard in the future.
F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali (56) revealed to the “Gazzetta dello Sport”: “There is a wish to race every weekend with this format. We will study the issue at the end of the year, but we are in no hurry at all.”
The former Ferrari boss explained that he felt a desire to promote events with sprint races as much as possible. In any case, he said, the debut in Britain had convinced him:
“We offered new content, plus the fact that results are important on all three days is a new element.”
Unlike traditional races, where Friday was reserved for two free practice sessions, race weekends with the new sprint format already have qualifying on Friday evening for the shortened race on Saturday. The second practice session takes place on Saturday, the third free practice session is omitted.
However, not all teams and drivers in Formula 1 have been so convinced so far. Even before the introduction of the new format, which celebrated its debut in Silverstone, there had been criticism. Even after the first 100 kilometres in the new format, not all doubts had been dispelled.
There are concerns about the question of how big the risk is for the teams. Red Bull driver Sergio Perez, for example, flew off the track in the sprint race and had to start the important race from the pits in last place. Accordingly, there are fears that the teams are taking little risk and that the sprint races offer limited entertainment value.
In Silverstone, on the other hand, there was the hoped-for action on the track as Max Verstappen took Lewis Hamilton at the start and defended a narrow lead.
“Many people were also against the halo and now no one doubts it,” Domenicali dismissed.