Sebastian Vettel has become the first to openly criticise Formula 1's plan to introduce sprint races to help spice up a grand prix weekend.
The proposal at present is that a sprint race would replace Saturday qualifying, the result of which would comprise the grid for Sunday's grand prix. Second practice on a Friday would make way for qualifying for the sprint race.
No firm rules are in place, with F1, the FIA, teams and drivers to more rigorously discuss the matter at some point in Bahrain prior to the season-opening race at the end of the month.
A three-race trial has been pencilled in for the grands prix in Canada, Italy and Brazil.
“I don’t know what’s the thinking behind it,” said Vettel in a select media conference that included GPFans Global. “I don’t like it.
“Why would you have a pre-final to a final? What’s the point of that? I don’t understand it.
“Obviously if there is a race on Saturday then I will have to take part because I still want to drive on Sunday.
"But in my point of view, it makes no sense. You have the grand prix and it’s always been around 300 kilometres and the main challenge of the weekend.
“I think if you have to introduce something like this then there’s something else you need to fix rather than the format, another race or another two minutes or Q4 or Q5, whatever,” he said.
“It’s shifting or taking the focus a little bit away from the real problem. It’s more of a patch rather than really a fix.”
Team-mate Lance Stroll also has concerns, believing F1 has "bigger problems to solve", although was not as firmly against the idea as Vettel.
Stroll added: “There are bigger fundamental issues that sport has to address. It could be great, I’m not against the idea, I don’t think it’s ridiculous.
“Maybe we have to try and see what the fans think, see what the drivers think, how it goes.
"Because it’s one of those things, just like every regulation change or format change that we do in Formula 1, it’s always a bit of a question mark until you try it and see for real how it impacts the sport.
"I'm not entirely sure, but like I said, I think there are some bigger fundamental changes that the sport has to make.
"It’s not just a sprint race it’s making the grid more competitive, it’s getting all the teams closer together, giving us an opportunity aerodynamically and the tyres as well, to race closer wheel-to-wheel, fight harder which at the moment we can’t do because we lose so much aerodynamic load behind the car.
"With these tyres we have there’s so much thermal sensitivity that as soon as we get behind a car we lose load and we drop out of the tyre temperature window, and we lose grip and it just makes it really challenging to fight another car on track.
“So I think there are some technical issues that we’ve got to be thinking [about] which is bigger picture stuff.”
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