No longer will the driver, starting on pole position on sunday be the one who delivered the fastest lap of the weekend. So far now a short hundred kilometer race will give us the final grid for the main event, the change that will be trialled at three events. This year has left some excited that f1 is experimenting with a shorter format, but for others it’s viewed with great skepticism. There are fears that saturday’s sprint will detract from the delight and the jeopardy of sunday and take away some of the shine of the main event. Plenty of fans are happy with the current saturday qualifying format as it is and after all, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. The varied benefits and consequences mean that any decisions about whether sprint race has become a permanent feature in years to come will be incredibly complex. How can we judge if the sprint races are a failure or a success? Ultimately, a failed sprint race experiment might be easiest to conclude if the event fails to deliver an uplift in viewership or race weekend attendance, although thanks to kovid the latter might not be a fair judgment. If the saturday sprint qualifying is duller than a race around sochi and if it impacts sunday by making the main grand prix too predictable, then it’ll be pretty easy to say that the idea should be binned off. The difficulty will come if the sprint qualifying format brings a mixed bag of consequences.
What if the viewership goes up, which is good for race promoters and tv companies, but the spectacle over the whole weekend, isn’t as good, and we get a dud race on sunday or what? If the sprint race turns out to be the highlight of the weekend and viewers come to the conclusion that they only really need to tune in on saturdays for their weekend hit of action, there could be a scenario too, where qualifying and the sprint races are boring. But the strategic implications of how they impact the weekend means we get a much better and more unpredictable race on sunday. After all, will drivers really risk that much in saturday’s sprint race, knowing that an off or a collision would be disaster for sunday? Could saturday turn out to be a procession after one lap? Some are convinced this will be the case, but a look back at the macau grand prix history books which for years now has effectively run sprint qualifying on its saturdays, shows that while drivers are not as aggressive as they are in the main event, there is often Still plenty of action to get excited about, then we have to consider that the verdict on sprint races could be determined by how that specific race weekend plays out a sprint race mistake from lewis hamilton that drops him to the back of the field before a stunning Charge back on sunday would be viewed as brilliant, but a mistake from hamilton in qualifying that dumps him into the midfield and then a recovery on saturday.
That puts him back on the front row for a sunday march to victory could be viewed as something well. Maybe not so great either of those scenarios playing out would be down to pure coincidence, but would cloud many of the other issues about sprint. Races, there’s also the novelty of the experiment. To consider too, nobody will want to miss the first sprint race at silverstone, but would that inform us of their longer term potential to keep engagement with fans high? How f1 comes to judge the success of sprint? Races will be fascinating to see. Perhaps the key to it is simply that everyone in f1 is prepared to give it a chance. If it works overall, then give it a chance to carry on and if it doesn’t don’t waste time, defending it and just move on f1 is definitely being open minded with its new experiment, f1’s managing director of motorsports ross braun said that they will evaluate this event. Silverstone and then decide if, in the future it forms a feature of the f1 season. If it doesn’t work, we put our hands up and we’ll. Think again, how do you feel about sprint races coming to f1? Are you a fan? Are you one of the skeptics? Let us know your opinion in the comments below. Thank you so much for watching.