This post was submitted by one of our contributor’s, under the pen name Blaue Kits. A writer who prefers to remain annonymous, but none the less, bring us and you some quality opinions. Enjoy.
F1 Sprint® format is infamously known for being divisive with fans of the sport, many being split down the middle as either pro- or anti-Sprint. The debate is now more relevant than ever with six Sprint weekends lined up for the 2023 championships. This is the perfect time to pitch my thoughts and suggestions on exactly this but first, some interesting information. I have conducted my own qualitative research on this exact debate and though the scope was very limited(not many motorsport fans in Africa) the findings have given perspective on the divisive nature of Sprint weekends.
The first piece of info is that of the total F1 fans I have held conversations with, approximately 45% are pro-Sprint with 45% being anti-Sprint and the remaining 10% having not made a preference.I count myself among the 10% but leaning more towards pro-Sprint since I see untapped potential in Sprint racing. The other piece of info is that while many in the anti-Sprint crop don’t bother with Free Practice sessions at all, a significant majority of the pro-Sprint side keep up with Free Practice even if just FP3. This would explain the divide as the anti-Sprint side find the Friday Quali an inconvenience and vent that frustration on the Sprint. However, many on both sides do agree on the fact that the Sprint dilutes the overall excitement of the weekend as many duels set up by Quali play out at the Sprint robbing the main race of some juicy action. That out of the way I have some amendments that could swing the anti-Sprint fans as well as justify the swell in sprint races.
Most important is to let Quali set the grid for the Race on Sunday. This not only maintains the action, but could also double the action as any battle that plays out on Saturday could loop on Sunday with different outcomes. F1 should also formalize the sprints as a separate alternative championship with the points counting towards a Sprint Champion instead of counting towards the World Champion. This legitimizes having six sprints as they do not create a scenario where the championship fight ends too soon due to a massive points gap being created from the Sprints. An additional suggestion is to start with the reverse grid of the final Constructor’s table of the last Championships on the first Sprint with the rest being one long race with the reverse grid of the previous Sprint setting the grid for the next. To complete the F1 Sprint Championships, have the Las Vegas GP as the Sprint Championship finale with double points(sprint format point distribution) since it’s a Saturday Night Race and the perfect place to crown a Sprint Champion.
Second step is to amend parc fermé rules to allow teams more room for more sprint focused setups. Since teams won’t have to worry about finishing with race day settings, more teams could optimize to give the cars pace otherwise unavailable due to conservative setups that ensure the car holds together for a race distance. Other details include allowing teams to reduce the amount of fuel in the cars to make them as light as possible for the full stint as well as unlimited battery deployment. F1 has already amended DRS rules to allow for deployment after just one lap of green flag racing, why not go all the way? Finally, they should bring back ‘Party Mode’ for the engines for Sprints exclusively. Of course this has to come with an extra engine allocation since I don’t see engines lasting for as long as they’re required to if subjected to party mode every other sprint. The idea of F1 drivers on the absolute edge of their machinery and giving lap times only ever seen in Q3 for a racing stint is too tempting to pass.
If implemented, the following suggestions could capitalize on the potential of F1 Sprint while retaining the tried and proven formula of the classic Grand Prix. We can have the cake and eat it too while also making it way tastier.