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Brawn: (Sprint) Pole must mean pole

NEWS STORY
02/11/2021

F1 MD, Ross Brawn agrees that the driver who claims pole position on Sprint weekends must be officially awarded the honour as opposed to the driver who wins the Sprint 'race'.

Reading between the lines of Ross Brawn's comments to the media on Monday in reference to the Sprint format, one cannot help but feel that, after just two trials, the powers that be are already seeking to spice up a format intended to spice up race weekends.

One of the criticisms of the format, certainly as far as drivers are concerned, is that despite claiming pole position on Friday for Saturday's race, it is the winner of said race who is officially designated as having won pole and subsequently starts the Grand Prix from the coveted position.

Drivers have argued that the official title of pole-winner at any given Grand Prix is the driver who proves fastest in qualifying, as has always been the case.

"Pole 100% has to go to the fastest guy in qualifying," argues 2016 world champion, Nico Rosberg, according to Reuters. "The sprint race winner should not be awarded pole position. That will totally cannibalise the historic F1 statistics."

Determined that the Sprint format will ultimately become the 'new norm', Ross Brawn agrees.

"It's been a consistent comment amongst fans and media and drivers that the person who does the fastest single lap with low fuel in that competition is the pole position holder," admits Brawn. "I guess we hadn't really considered that, if I'm honest, when we set out this new format.

"Personally I would like to see a reversion to that being pole position but these things are decided with the FIA and the teams," he added.

"There is broad opinion that Friday should be pole position for the sprint weekends, so that's something I would hope we can get through for next year. I'm optimistic on that one."

Meanwhile, the F1 MD says that much of the criticism of the format comes from "avid" - read diehard - fans unwilling to adapt to something new.

"The 'avid' fans, our real, dedicated fans, have not been convinced yet, they're indifferent," he admitted. "They all watched it... by the way, they didn't turn off, they were fascinated by it.

"But the majority of our 'normal' fans and particularly our new fans were positive about the concept," he insists. "They particularly liked the action on a Friday. They felt Friday was now worth watching which it hadn't been before.

"From a fan perspective we've had a good response," he continued. "We look at the demographics and we seem to have engaged some more younger and casual audience with the sprint.

"In terms of how dramatic we make change, we're going to be relatively conservative in the step we make for next year. What we don't want to do is lose it because we've been overambitious."

Other than the fact that it is the "avid" fans who will sit through the debacle that was Spa and come back for more... as they always have, those new, younger fans are going to want further changes, most notably to the length of Grands Prix, which is where the sport will find itself running into trouble in terms of retaining the purity of a basic format which has, for the most part, successfully endured for over seventy years.

While Brawn insists that Fridays are now worth watching, let's not forget that for some time he and his colleagues were pushing for race weekends to be reduced to two days of action, a move objected to by the teams and promoters.

Consequently, stuck with the three-day format the sport's powers that be had to come up with a way of making all three days worthwhile.

While some have argued that points for qualifying would add some spice, let's not forget that until the early 90s, qualifying would be held over two days, Friday and Saturday.

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READERS COMMENTS

 

1. Posted by Stitch431, 03/11/2021 7:16

"Total rubbish, that means the sprint race is not necessary anymore, as the polesitter already knows he is starting from the pole regardless of the results of the sprintrace. they will not take any risk for half the points there if they know they can win more by staying out of trouble in the sprint race."

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2. Posted by elsiebc, 02/11/2021 16:43

"They should cater to the younger fans, the next generation and their attention span, because that's going to be their base after us "avid" fans get the ass of being taken for granted. They should have 10 minute races with texting breaks every two to three minutes. They could have those fans text in to vote on when the next texting break occurs."

Rating: Positive (1)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

3. Posted by Roli, 02/11/2021 14:25

"Just get rid of this ridiculous gimmick. Total waste of time (and engine life). Qually and then race. All this rubbish is just for more advertising and MONEY."

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4. Posted by stoney, 02/11/2021 14:17

"The "real, dedicated fans" don't like it. And so F1 decides they are not "normal" fans.

"Normal" fans are those that subscribe to Netflix and watch Drive To Survive, then?"

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5. Posted by Wokingchap, 02/11/2021 11:17

"I don't remember points ever being awarded for qualifying. Surely gaining the best position on the grid is the 'win' not points."

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6. Posted by Motorsport-fan, 02/11/2021 10:50

"The rhetoric confirms F1 is heading for a new format with the old qualifying system confined to the history books. "

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