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F1 looking at Saturday sprint races for upcoming season

F1 looking at Saturday sprint races for upcoming season

F1 News

F1 looking at Saturday sprint races for upcoming season

F1 looking at Saturday sprint races for upcoming season
Ian Parkes & Ewan Gale

Formula 1 is to hold talks with the 10 teams over trialling Saturday sprint races during the upcoming season, new CEO Stefano Domenicali has revealed.

Domenicali, who took over the reins from Chase Carey at the start of the year, has also confirmed the idea of reverse grids tabled last year by managing director motorsports Ross Brawn is officially "over".

Since the disruption to the sport caused early last season by the Covid-19 pandemic, F1 has pushed for various trial concepts to be implemented for potential further use, such as the two-day weekend format at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix.

While reverse grids were voted down, Brawn had hoped it could be resurrected at some point in the future. Domenicali, however, has now put the matter to rest by revealing the sport's DNA will be preserved.

"Reverse grids is over," said Domenicali, in a conference call with selected media, including GPFans Global. "That is something I can say. It is important to think of new ideas of being more attractive or interesting.

"We don't have to lose the traditional approach to racing. I think we have learned, in the season where we changed qualifying every two races, it burned our figures, so we need to avoid that. I think for now, the format is quite stable."

Domenicali, though, is open to freshening up the show in other ways, which is why a Saturday sprint race is under consideration.

The former Ferrari team principal added: "What we are looking at is what would be the approach of the sprint races on Saturdays. We have already been thinking about whether this could be tested this year.

"There are discussions with teams in the right forum and I think, maybe, this is the only one thing that could be interesting."

There was consternation in the paddock last December when Fernando Alonso took part in the end-of-season young driver test in Abu Dhabi, along with Sebastian Buemi and Robert Kubica.

With testing cut to an all-time low for F1, with just three days for pre-season planned ahead of the new campaign, Domenicali has insisted the sport must ensure young talent is given the opportunity to shine.

"The other thing we have focused on is to give a test to rookies, real rookies," he added.

"Today, with the fact we have less testing, we need to create not only the free practice as is written already in the regulations, but maybe we can create good events highlighting the fact that we need to focus on the rookies.

"There is a very good number of rookies that are already in Formula 1 but we cannot stop that flow going on.

"Therefore, that is another thing that we need to work with the teams to underline the value of the rookies in the teams and academies."

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