close global

Welcome to GPFans


  • NL
  • GB
  • ES-MX
  • US
  • GB
Why F1 must make DRASTIC changes to controversial feature

Why F1 must make DRASTIC changes to controversial feature

Why F1 must make DRASTIC changes to controversial feature

Why F1 must make DRASTIC changes to controversial feature

Formula 1 has had three years to experiment with its sprint format and is yet to experience any success of note.

Whilst it showed glimmers of hope in the middle of an intense title battle in 2021, the last two seasons have proven that the format has potential but the setup is completely wrong.

One of the main issues is that the sport’s very own drivers don’t even like it – how can you expect fans to be engaged with something that paddock personnel aren’t inspired by themselves?

There have been calls in the past for the format to be adapted, and for 2024 the sport has a chance to alter its current arrangements.

READ MORE: F1 reveals 2024 sprint races after calendar controversy

Lewis Hamilton dices with Sergio Perez at the 2021 Brazilian Grand Prix
Max Verstappen dominated the sprint format in 2023, taking 75% of victories

What is the problem with F1 sprint races?

The sprint format is a high-risk, low-reward scenario for most of the teams on the grid.

It’s simply not worth risking millions in damage for the shot at a few extra points, which is why if F1 wants to keep sprints going long-term, they must raise the stakes.

With all sorts of variables involved, such as saving tyres for the Sunday spectacle, most teams don’t see the benefit of the event.

Sunday’s longer races bring more attrition, and naturally mean that teams at the bottom of the order would rather reserve their allocation of tyres for later in the weekend in the hope that they can pick up a point.

Teams are faced with tyre dilemmas on most sprint weekends

Asking them to finish eighth from the back of the grid in a 30-minute dash gives them no hope, and it’s a pretty boring affair for the fans.

As we’ve seen on multiple occasions this year, these races can become nothing but glorified test sessions for half of the field if the cars are sparsely organised on track.

Teams at the front don’t want to risk damage and drivers are willing to take their ‘Sunday drive’ a day early every week.

READ MORE: Russell uses rival F1 teams to attack sprint weekends

How could it be fixed?

The solution is a fairly simple one and is part of the reason why Formula 2’s format has been so successful for the last decade.

Implementing reverse grids would do wonders for the sprint, with drivers forced to take more risk and true championship permutations in order if they would further increase the number of points on offer.

Teams at the bottom of the midfield would receive more opportunities to shine with reverse grids

This would also make things somewhat intense for the teams towards the back of the pack who can secure large hauls of points on any given weekend.

All in all, a shake-up to the format by permitting reverse grids and increasing the number of points on offer would only increase fan engagement, make weekends more exciting and do the sport good.

Qatar provided one of the best sprint races of the season with a mixed up grid

It would also mean that the format wouldn’t have to be outlawed any time soon, buying it more time to prove itself.

READ MORE: F1 sprint 'champion' revealed but Hamilton in SHOCK position

What happens if they decide to leave it?

Fans will grow completely fed up with the sprint format – as they are already showing signs of having done.

The format will fade into irrelevance and eventually disappear forever if it’s left to another few seasons of boring 30-minute instalments, sending fans to sleep and annoying the drivers.

Max Verstappen isn't a fan of the format and made it clear over the last few events of the season

It’s widely known that Max Verstappen isn’t a fan, and after a year where numbers suffered as a result of Red Bull dominance – the sprint has to find a way to deliver before the higher ups decide it simply isn’t worth the fuss.

We’ve seen Kevin Magnussen take a pole position, Oscar Piastri take a maiden victory (of sorts) and Lewis Hamilton stage a dramatic comeback in the midst of a title charge.

So, there’s no reason why there can’t be more of these spectacular moments in the future – and bring them in higher frequency with the opportunity for backmarkers to start at the sharp end of the grid.

READ MORE: F1 champion urges discussion over 'confusing' sprint weekend format

Do Not Sell My Personal Information
Ontdek het op Google Play