Tuesday, May 28, 2024

F1 Drivers Express Discontent Over Latest Sprint Race Format Change

Formula 1 drivers have expressed dissatisfaction with the recent alteration to the sprint race format, with many indicating a preference for the previous version.

The latest change marks the fourth adjustment to Formula 1’s sprint race format in as many years since its introduction in 2021. This revised format, introduced for the second time this season in China, schedules the sprint race qualifying session on Friday, followed by the sprint race early on Saturday, with the grand prix qualifying later the same day. Teams now have the opportunity to adjust their cars’ setups between Saturday’s two sessions, a freedom they didn’t have in the previous format. However, many drivers were unimpressed by this change.

Valtteri Bottas expressed his preference for the older format, saying, “I have to say, actually, I probably preferred the old format myself. There was only one practice and the qualifying straight after was for the main race, so there was a bit more at stake.” Logan Sargeant echoed this sentiment, stating, “I would prefer having sprint quali and then having the GP quali the next morning. I don’t think it’s great having a Sprint race where you’re much slower than a qualifying lap and then straight to quali.”

While Oscar Piastri appreciated the change to the parc ferme rules, allowing teams to make more changes to their cars, he did express some discomfort with the new format. “I felt a little bit weird having the sprint race because it’s obviously a race in itself, kind of, and then preparing again for qualifying – it kind of feels like the race should be [at] the end of the day.”

The strain put upon the mechanics by the change to the parc ferme rules was also a concern raised by some drivers. Sergio Perez stated, “Opening the parc ferme I think puts a lot of workload on the mechanics and I think it’s something that we really have to look at it.”

Despite F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali’s push to expand the format beyond the current six rounds per season, Sargeant opposed the idea, saying, “I would just prefer 24 normal weekends. Leave it at that.”

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