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Why Mercedes found "high-stakes" sprint exciting

Why Mercedes found "high-stakes" sprint exciting

F1 News

Why Mercedes found "high-stakes" sprint exciting

Why Mercedes found "high-stakes" sprint exciting
Ian Parkes & Ewan Gale

Mercedes trackside engineering director Andrew Shovlin has described the sprint weekend format as "exciting" due to the "high-stakes" nature of the Friday running.

Qualifying as we know it was shifted to Friday evening after a single practice session earlier in the day, with parc fermé conditions being brought in ahead of the session.

This meant set-ups were essentially locked in for the weekend, giving engineers a headache to ensure drivers were happy with the car before the important business began.

"It is really exciting having the one-hour session and then straight into parc fermé," said Shovlin.

"It makes it from an engineering point of view quite high stakes because if you put the car in the wrong place at the start you have got a very difficult job to unpick it going into qualifying and then you are going to suffer with that for the next 400km of racing with the two races added together so that element is quite fun.

"The problem I have is the weekend is sort of difficult. The sprint quali didn't work for Lewis having put the car on pole on Friday, but really the fans are the ones that need to judge on that and the teams will work around whatever is good for the sport."

Why drivers can push for whole sprint

One of the novelties of the 17-lap sprint on Saturday was the ability to watch drivers on lower fuel loads and fresh tyres attack the event at full effort, rather than sitting in position to meet milage numbers for race strategy.

"You can afford to push because you know where the end of the stint is," explained Shovlin.

"The reality was, though that once you got a couple of laps into it, it was very difficult to create any opportunity.

"There is a lot of energy here and it is incredibly hot conditions for Silverstone and you are overheating.

"You can push because in a race, you don't know if you are going to go 15 laps or 30 laps, whereas in the sprint you know how far you have got to go, it is just there was nothing really to gain from driving flat out because it was so hard to create the opportunity."

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