Formula 1 has been toying with several ideas on how to shake up the series and create more excitement. Last year, the notion of a reverse-grid race was shot down but this year the sport is keen to try a Saturday Sprint Race concept that establish the grid for Sunday’s race.
It seems the Canadian, Italian and Brazilian grands prix are targeted for a test run of this new format where Saturday’s Free Practice session would be axed and a qualifying session for the sprint race would be put in its place and the sprint race would run about 1/3rd of the distance of a full race.
The result of the sprint race would deliver reduced world championship points and establish the grid positions for Sunday’s full race. The idea is that this would bring more TV audience, create more excitement and, in the end, offer more racing over a weekend.
A couple of thoughts on this is that they have already cut Friday Free Practice sessions by a full hour in total and they would be eliminating Saturday’s Free Practice 3 session altogether. So if you are cutting out two hours of on-track action over a weekend, the series needs to figure out how to compensate for that. Running less over a weekend is not a recipe for happy fans.
The Sprint race might accommodate that lack of action for sure but I am curious if the teams like the idea of the wear and tear on their car? With three-engine limit for the season, would F1 allow for more engines and parts to be replaced without grid penalties? Would fans be happy with losing the current knockout qualifying session?
If the sprint race was adopted, one presumes you could potentially win a championship on Saturday during a sprint race and not on Sunday during the race. Also, would F1 allow for T-Car’s in the event a chassis get’s destroyed on Saturday and there isn’t enough time to re-build a new car?
With many fans still seeking some sort of reverse-grid sprint race, does this satisfy those folks in their desire to see more racing over a weekend or would this just be more points for Mercedes in 2021?
The concept is set to be presented at an F1 commission meeting this Thursday where the teams will discuss the potential engine freeze. The spring race concept will take a super majority vote to be approved.