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Azerbaijan to feature two qualifying sessions?


As the tinkering continues, the Azerbaijan Grand Prix Sprint weekend looks likely to feature two qualifying sessions.

As part of the plan to spice up the show and give meaning to every session in which the cars appear, it is anticipated, as previously suggested by F1 boss, Stefano Domenicali that Sprint weekends will feature two qualifying sessions.

The talk in Melbourne is that the Azerbaijan Grand Prix weekend, which features the first of six Sprints this year, will see free practice on Friday morning with qualifying for Sunday's Grand Prix in the afternoon.

Saturday morning would feature a stand-alone qualifying session for the subsequent Sprint.

As if this wasn't enough, as Two Ton Ted from Teddington might say, to make it a little more interesting, there is talk of limiting the number of tyre sets available to each driver to the bare minimum. Indeed, there is even talk of qualifying for the Sprint consisting of each driver being allowed just one timed lap on a clear track.

"We are talking about having a second qualifying at the moment,” confirmed Guenther Steiner. "We don't know how we do it and if we do it."

"Hopefully, we can tidy up the format for the sprint races coming up that are a bit more dynamic," added Christian Horner. “I know that the sporting directors have been working hard on that and hopefully we can get that finalised.”

On a day that Melbourne saw 110,000 fans pass through the turnstiles, as confirmed by Domenicali, in terms of the move to hold fewer practice sessions, Otmar Szafnauer said: "I think we need a good balance. I think we still need a bit of practice to dial in the car to get the set-up right. I think it will favour drivers that are experienced if we do reduce the practice.

"It might hurt some of the rookies," he added. "So I understand what Stefano was saying in the Formula 1 Commission that we should look at every session that we're out on track to make it interesting for the fans. And I think a practice session or two would still be interesting, even though we may do some other things."

"I agree," added Mario Isola. "We collect useful data from the practice sessions, for the usage of the tyres, possible strategies. And we need a good balance, probably.

"I understand also, the position of Stefano, to try to encourage sessions that are interesting for our spectators. I believe the discussion started from the role of FP2 during the Sprint events, with the cars that are in parc ferme - so, very limited possibility for the teams to react to any change.

"That was still interesting for us, for the tyre, but it's not enough. So I'm sure that we can find a good solution together with the teams, they have sporting directors that are very good and discussing any small detail to try to avoid any unintended consequences. So I'm sure that we can find a good balance between the two."

"I think we need to take it step-by-step," said Steiner, "get over this hurdle of how we can do a second qualifier on the weekend in the Sprint events, and then maybe go the next step, what are we doing next?

"I think we don't have to sort out everything in one shot now all of a sudden, not doing free practice sessions and stuff. I don't think that’s what Stefano wanted to say. Stefano had a little bit more of (putting) his vision out there for the future, because that is, I think, what he has to do for FOM - have a vision, where are we going?

"So I think let's take it step-by-step, sort that one out and then see how much practice we need to make the car safe to get enough data that you can set them up and to give Pirelli enough data so they've got something decent to work with."

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1. Posted by alvarezh3, 31/03/2023 23:56

"A few weeks ago, I came across an article about why was the NFL the king of TV in the U.S. of A. There were the customary reasons, like the fact that each team plays only once a week (only once a year, twice a week with a Thursday game). NBA, NHL and MLB teams play a few times a week.

Last year, 82 of the top 100 most-watched TV shows were NFL games. But what got my attention was that a study found out that the main reason for such a big audience was that "Every game mattered and every team seemingly had a chance."

I believe that is what F1 needs: A race where every team seemingly has a chance for at least a podium.

If we believe that the above is true, then the use of gimmicks to shuffle the starting grid, is not going to increase the viewers count by much. There will be move overtaking, but at the end of the race the teams with the fastest car will end up the winners, race, after race, after race........boring!

Who is going to go to the stadium (or watch on TV) if Arsenal, Real Madrid, or the Dallas Cowboys are always the losers with no chance of almost ever winning?

We just saw In Jedda how Verstappen ended up where he usually ends up: 1st, or 2nd. even after starting 15th.

To increase viewers interest seems to be to shuffle who ends up in the podium by having teams that are as equally competitive as possible, and not by who starts at the front of the grid, which is, IMV, what F1 is trying to artificially manipulate."

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2. Posted by Defiant, 31/03/2023 21:02

"I've done nothing but complain about sprints since their inception, but if they're actually considering changes, a sprint quali and a race quali would be one that I would support.

I also like the idea of 1 lap of a clear track for the sprint quali. Whether gods be damned. Order can be done by the driver number. WDC if using #1 would go first and everyone else would have him as the target.

Friday could be the sprint quali and sprint, then Saturday and Sunday are the usual quali and race days.


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3. Posted by Superbird70, 31/03/2023 19:56

"Why not just have a ralley type start. Send them off at 5 or 10 second intervals.


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4. Posted by alvarezh3, 31/03/2023 19:15

"When two quali sessions becomes not "spicy" enough, then they will have a lottery draw.

To save on tires (the excuse), one set for the whole week end. You have a flat, you get two new on the same axle to force an unbalanced car and you go to the end of the grid. That will certainly "spice" up the spectacle.

I have more bright "thrilling" ideas, enough for now.

Yes sir, artificial spicing, which is to begin real soon, is the exiting future of F1 ! "

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5. Posted by Superbird70, 31/03/2023 18:12

"Why don't they just spread the current scheme out over three days. Preliminary knock out Friday am, second round Saturday am, final qualifying Sunday am with race in the pm. Free practice in between qualifiers. Constant action."

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6. Posted by Mad Matt, 31/03/2023 16:25

"@Rock Doc... perhaps 1 bonus point if you can run over a competitor who is too slow getting to their car... and a 2 point style bonus if you can do it while in a power slide? "

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7. Posted by Rock Doc, 31/03/2023 15:36

"I think we need to go back to basics on the Sprint quali. Let put the 'Sprint' back into Sprint races.

Line the cars up on the grid in the order of the last race. Then, like in the old days, have the drivers run to the cars and get strapped. Lets say have them run from the back of the grid and give those at the back a bit of a head start.

I'm sure this would produce some of the extra excitement Liberty are looking for. And for some extra fun/excitement we can make it an egg and spoon race. What's not to like?

Oh ... was that going to be the joke post for tomorrow. Sorry got ahead of myself there."

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8. Posted by Burton, 31/03/2023 12:49

"Why can't the Sprint qualy be on Friday instead of the regular one? At least that way people who can't watch because they're at work won't miss anything important."

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