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Wolff issues DAMNING verdict over F1 sprint weekends

Wolff issues DAMNING verdict over F1 sprint weekends

F1 News

Wolff issues DAMNING verdict over F1 sprint weekends

Wolff issues DAMNING verdict over F1 sprint weekends

Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff has said that he doesn't like sprint weekends in their current format because they 'take a lot of suspense away from the Sunday', as Formula 1 heads to Brazil for another weekend of alternative scheduling.

This weekend's Brazilian Grand Prix will be the third race in the last four that has been a sprint weekend, meaning just one practice session takes place on the Friday before qualifying, a ploy designed to make Fridays more competitive during events.

A shorter qualifying ensues on the Saturday, setting the grid for a sprint race later that day. That all culminates in the main race on Sunday, where the majority of points are up for grabs.

This packed schedule across sprint weekends this season has been up for debate in recent races, particularly at the United States GP, where Saturday's action was seemingly devoid of real quality.

Part of the reason for this may be that, having only had one practice session to fine tune their car before it goes into parc ferme conditions, teams begin to use the sprint shootout and the sprint race in order to gather more data that may help them in the main race.

Oscar Piastri won the sprint race at the Qatar GP, only the second time this season that Red Bull have been beaten in a race
Max Verstappen has recently brandished sprint weekends as 'pointless'
Toto Wolff was left reeling after Lewis Hamilton was disqualified from the United States GP

We saw this at the Qatar GP too, where uncertain tyre degradation rates due to a new track layout and unbearably hot conditions, played havoc with the whole schedule.

Now, Wolff believes that F1 should think again about the timetable of these events, particularly with Brazil being the last sprint weekend of the season.

“You can definitely support Stefano on the decisions that are good for business, I am more conservative, I don’t like the sprint weekends," he told Sky Sports F1 at the Mexican GP.

"I think it’s a weird schedule, you’re taking alot of suspense away from the Sunday, how the rankings are going to fall in place, I’d rather not have them at all.”

Wolff believes sprint led to Hamilton disqualification

Lewis Hamilton and Charles Leclerc were disqualified from the US Grand Prix

After the somewhat 'dangerous' conditions drivers faced at the Qatar GP, F1 headed to Austin for another sprint weekend later in October.

This particular event led to more performance-based problems for the teams caused by having just the one practice session.

That was especially true for Aston Martin, who had to start from the pit lane with both of their cars after not gaining enough data on the Friday due to reliability issues in the session.

After the main race on the Sunday, Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton and Ferrari's Charles Leclerc were disqualified from the race for having excessive wear on their skid blocks, a problem which Wolff believes may have been accentuated by strict parc ferme rules.

“The problem with the sprint races is that you can’t touch the car," he continued,

"The car goes into parc ferme, you can’t adjust it anymore and we thought on Saturday ‘hmm that could be on the limit, but probably with a little bit of a margin’

"But we had a new floor, we got more downforce and probably also in the sprint race we didn’t run as much of a non-DRS laps which smashed the floor more so it was just the stars were not aligned."

READ MORE: Verstappen questions F1 over POINTLESS sprint race weekends

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