"Dramatically positive" reaction to Sprint format, says Domenicali


F1 boss, Stefano Domenicali says that the "dramatically positive" reaction to the maiden Sprint Qualifying weekend is likely to lead to it becoming a regular feature in 2022.

However, the Italian insists that the format will only be used at certain venues and will not become the norm.

In many ways, the first trial of the format, at Silverstone, didn't appear to change anything, for other than the decision to retire Sergio Perez in the closing stages of the Saturday Sprint the order was pretty much the same as ever.

Though Ross Brawn was quick to cite the format a success, the weekend was in fact dominated by the events at Copse on the opening lap of Sunday's race.

Nonetheless, Stefano Domenicali insists that following further Sprint weekends in Italy and Brazil, the format is likely to be continued next season.

"When we talk about the sprint format, the idea was to offer something different in order to make sure that there was something new that we can offer to all the stakeholders in F1," said the Italian in a conference call with Wall Street analysts.

"We have said that we wanted to do three tests," he continued, "one has been done in Silverstone, another one will be in Monza. And the other one will be at the end of the season in Brazil. At the end of this complete test, we're going to have a plan to see what will be the next step.

"What I can already say is that after the first sprint event in Silverstone, the response that we have, from the drivers, from the teams, the media, has been really positive," he added. "Also for the promoter, because every day we had something new to see. People coming to the track on Friday were really excited for the first qualifying already on Friday.

"So the outcome of the first event has been dramatically positive, if I may say, and it's great because that's brought attention, interest to TV, and also partners, because thanks to that we have brought in, for example, Crypto.com. And so we have already seen our financial influence being positive."

However, Domenicali was at pains to stress that the format - which will likely undergo some tweaks over the winter - will not become the norm.

"We're going to have a full debriefing, if I may say, at the end of the season. We have a plan for the future of course, we are developing that, we are fine-tuning after some of the comments that we received.

"What I can say is that if we move as we should in that direction in the future, it will be not every race. We have ideas to create a special format for certain historical grands prix, and certain special awards that we want to offer, and add to the already incredible platform of F1.

"So very, very positive comments after the first exercise and [we're] ready to prepare at the end of the three events a proposal that can bring home what we can see hopefully will be a big step and a different future of F1, also a sporting proposition."

While the Italian Grand Prix will go ahead it is virtually impossible for the Brazilian race to proceed, F1 continuing to announce such moves at the last possible minute.

Therefore, with it looking likely that the Circuit of the Americas will host two races, one of these is likely to be run to the Sprint format.

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Published: 07/08/2021
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