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Why F1 sprint qualifying will require a technical rethink from teams

Why F1 sprint qualifying will require a technical rethink from teams

F1 News

Why F1 sprint qualifying will require a technical rethink from teams

Why F1 sprint qualifying will require a technical rethink from teams

McLaren technical director James Key has warned of the technical challenges the F1 teams face under the new sprint qualifying weekend format.

F1 will trial sprint qualifying at three race weekends this season, with Silverstone recently confirming details of how the revised schedule will be spread across the British Grand Prix in mid-July.

Teams have already lost an hour of free practice running on Fridays under new rules this season with the two 90-minute sessions both reduced to an hour apiece.

Under the new format, second practice will be replaced by the current qualifying hour, a factor Key believes will make it difficult to introduce new parts at the weekends concerned.

“If you think about what we did in Spain with those new aero parts, that is a very difficult thing to try and get into a sprint race weekend," said Key.

"There’s just not going to be enough time so I think from a technical perspective we’ll treat the weekends differently.

“There will be more prep work on set up. There will certainly be a lot more pre-event simulation work to work out how various scenarios could play out and how a sprint race could affect how things go forward after that - hitting a qualifying session much earlier of course, so really only having an hour to prepare for that and how we treat it.

“You’ve got the split between high-fuel running and working out your tyres for the Sunday race and trying to get the lower-fuel, fresh-tyre feeling for the car in as well.

“From a technical perspective, it is about preparation, simulation and using your time smartly, and that is something we are all going to have to learn but will be very well prepared for.”

Despite the challenges, Key revealed McLaren has a reasonable understanding so far after the teams played a role in shaping the sprint weekend format.

“Our simulation guys have been supporting these regulations as they have been developed to try and give an idea as to how this is going to work out," added Key.

“For us, clearly from a car perspective, it doesn’t really change anything other than thinking about how we will quickly adapt to a different weekend format.

"But I think it is the format and the time you have got which is going to be the biggest difference technically.

"So we’re going to probably have to try and use those weekends in a different way."

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