Revised Sprint Weekend

MONTREAL, QUEBEC - JUNE 19: Pierre Gasly of France and Scuderia AlphaTauri waves to the crowd on the drivers parade ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Canada at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve on June 19, 2022 in Montreal, Quebec. (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images) // Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool // SI202206191248 // Usage for editorial use only //

The FIA have changed the Sprint weekend process to allow for car set-up changes prior to Sunday’s race.

You’ll recall that last year the cars were in Parc Fermé condition after FP1 and this meant very little could be done to the car over the balance of the weekend to improve its performance but this has changed.

With the new format, FP1 is followed by a shootout and sprint under an initial parc ferme. This allows teams to make adjustments to their cars before a second parc ferme period applies to the main qualifying as well as the race.

An interesting article over at Autosport quoted Alpine driver Pierre Gasly as saying:

“I think that’s great,” said Gasly. “I think that was missing, definitely. We ended up last year having amazing, brilliant, genius guys on a Friday afternoon being forbidden to touch anything on our car.

“That’s what they are paid for, that’s why they are the best. It was a bit sad, because they have much more to bring to the table than just one or two clicks of front flap and tyre pressure.

“F1 is the top of engineering, and I think it’s great we still give them the opportunity to always make these continuous improvements through the weekend.”

Pierre is correct and this was one of the biggest issues with the Sprint race weekend format. Once you made your initial runs, you were locked into the weekend. The thought here is that it would add an element of randomness in on-track performance but it negates the real value of an outstanding team or the ability to recover.

It’s a good move by the FIA but it could only be bettered by doing away with eh Sprint weekend but that’s just my opinion. Every time a car races, there should be a clear and definitive point in it racing. Up until the Sprint race concept, F1 raced for a championship. The Sprint is raced for entertainment mainly.

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Xean Drury

Hopefully they’ll get rid of the Sprint Shoot Out next (I think that’s the ‘Sprint Qualifying’ one? The whole damn thing’s a word salad IMO)