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Melbourne eyeing Sprint?

NEWS STORY
31/10/2021

Australian Grand Prix CEO admits that he will talk to F1 bosses with a view to Melbourne hosting one of next season's numerous Sprints.

Though we have only had two of the three planned trials of the Sprint, F1 CEO, Stefano Domenicali has already admitted that it is planned to feature the Sprint at a third of next season's 23 Grands Prix.

Having had its last two races cancelled due to the pandemic, Melbourne is hoping to return in 2022 with a bang, and what could be better than hosting one of the first Sprints of the season.

Since the last race in 2019, extensive modifications which include widening the pitlane, resurfacing the entire track, modifying the chicane at Turn 11/12 and tightening the right-hander at Turn 13 have been carried out at the Albert Park circuit with the aim of aiding overtaking and increasing lap speeds.

These modifications, combined with the extensive rules overhaul should see Melbourne return with a bang, but Australian Grand Prix Corporation boss, Andrew Westacott would also like to see the weekend feature Sprint qualifying.

"I'm going to be talking about it with Formula 1 during November," he tells Speedcafe.com. "It's not something that I've had dialogue, the most important dialogue was getting agreement and making sure that everything was there for the calendar.

"Now that that's done, when Formula 1's got a lot on their plate, because obviously they're in a triple-header now with Austin, Mexico, and Brazil. But we'll be having dialogue with them about formats and everything else."

Trialled at Silverstone and Monza - and with the third and final trial scheduled for Brazil - F1 bosses, promoters, sections of the media and some team bosses have fallen over themselves in their praise for the format, even though a recent survey saw fans essentially give it the thumbs down.

Referring to the changes since 2019, Westacott admits that he is hoping the widened pitlane will see the pitlane speed limit increased from 60km/h to 80km/h, while the track modifications will mean another DRS zone.

"The DRS zones get signed off much closer to the lead up of the event," he said. "Everything indicates, through the great simulation work that Formula 1 has done, that there will be a fourth DRS. In the same way, the indication would be that the pit lane speed limit goes from 60(km/h) to 80(km/h).

"But Michael Masi is F1 race director," he added, "and the FIA guys and F1 guys don't decide that until a lot closer to the event. And I can understand that also, to a greater degree in the context of the new cars coming up for 2022."

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READERS COMMENTS

 

1. Posted by kenji, 01/11/2021 5:19

"It's quite interesting to see 3 negatives already. I think I know where two of them originate but there's probably more in the offing. That does surprise me a little because I thought [ mistakenly ] that all F1 followers here would relish a little more racing rather than a boring 3rd FP with xero competition and usually not too much running. But there you go......live and learn."

Rating: Neutral (0)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

2. Posted by kenji, 31/10/2021 12:15

"With an increase in the number of sprints planned for next year there is an argument for one of them to be held in Melbourne due to the revised track layout. I am looking forward to these innovative sprint races over a full season to see just how they work out. Seven would appear to be a sensible number. Interesting to read the results of the global survey and what they appear to say. The question re having sprints at every race as a permanent part of the GP week end was giving quite a resounding negative vote. Having a smaller selection of sprints actually achieved a positive vote. If I am reading the numbers correctly then it was 56% for and by extrapolation 44% against given that there were no numbers quoted covering those who were indecisive.if this was a political national election these numbers would be in the landslide category!!! "

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