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Russell proposes sprint format shake-up

Russell proposes sprint format shake-up

Russell proposes sprint format shake-up

Russell proposes sprint format shake-up
Ian Parkes & Sam Hall

George Russell believes it would be possible to introduce sprint races at each grand prix weekend but only if the sport makes a change to the existing F1 regulations.

F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali has made clear his ambition to shake up the current weekend format so there is something for drivers to fight for in each session beyond FP1.

After trialling the sprint at three grands prix last year, it has since been F1's intention to push for the additional event at six races, only for the FIA to vote against it earlier this season.

Although the teams voted in favour of extending the number of sprints, Domenicali's suggestion has been met with a mixed reaction from the drivers, with championship leader Max Verstappen the most vocal in his opposition.

Although Russell is in favour of the Italian's idea, the Mercedes driver conceded it is not without its problems.

"I do think it is quite exciting for everybody when you go into that sprint race and you’re fighting for something every single day," said Russell.

"These cars are awfully complex and you do need those practice sessions to get the car in the right window.

"There’s so much margin for error to get it wrong with the set-up and you can be totally out of the window, and with only one session and a couple of red flags, or if you have a mechanical issue, then that is basically your weekend over.

"So, I'm definitely open to it. Perhaps we need to be able to make set-up changes after qualifying and after the sprint races, rather than being locked in from a Friday afternoon."

MotoGP sprint introduction "bold"

MotoGP announced recently it will introduce a new sprint format at all weekends from 2023 despite never trialling a shorter race.

Russell feels such a move is "bold", with the drivers in F1 at least sampling a sprint prior to F1's push for more as it seeks to grow its platform that has blossomed in recent years, much to the Briton's delight, allowing it to try new ideas.

"Motorbikes and F1 are two very different beasts and having two wheels less, there’s more chance of making errors or falling off and injuring yourself, whereas I guess there is a little bit more margin for us," assessed Russell.

"Globally, the direction Formula 1 is heading, we are in such a great era at the moment. We all have to be so thankful for the job Formula 1 is doing.

"It’s pretty exceptional to see the growth and excitement around the sport compared with others that have plateaued or are even fading away. It’s a pretty special time to be here.

"Hopefully, it can continue to grow. I don’t know how big it can continue to do that, looking 10 years ahead, but I really hope we can continue this journey."

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