Drivers eye reverse grids for F1 sprint races

Sep.11 (GMM) Formula 1 is considering uncoupling the new Saturday ‘sprint race’ from the qualifying format in future.

At Monza, the sport is trialling the new ‘sprint qualifying’ format – with a normal-style Friday qualifying session setting the grid for a short race on Saturday – for the second time.

However, while Valtteri Bottas will start Saturday’s race from pole, he will then move down the order for the main event on Sunday because of a pre-qualifying engine change.

That sort of complexity, but also to ramp up interest even further, means F1 managing director Ross Brawn is considering making the Saturday sprint a stand-alone race rather than a qualifying session.

“How we do this format in detail is something we have to discuss,” said Alpha Tauri boss Franz Tost.

“But the race on Sunday must remain absolutely the highlight.”

F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali has revealed that a full third of the grands prix in 2022 – therefore 7 or 8 of the 23 events – are likely to feature sprint races in 2022.

“We need to have a look at what could happen in Monza and then on another track in Sao Paulo and then we will see if we have to change it or not,” Alfa Romeo boss Frederic Vasseur said at Monza.

Ferrari’s Mattia Binotto agreed at Monza when asked about the rumours of a format tweak for 2022: “I think honestly it is too early to decide.”

He revealed that some of the drivers are even proposing that the grid for the Saturday sprint should be decided based on reverse-order of the championship.

“Such ideas can be interesting but I think it is too early to judge and decide,” the Italian insisted.

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