Points for first 10 Sprint finishers?


Admitting he can see the commercial need for the Sprint, Toto Wolff suggests revision of the points on offer is one of the tweaks that should be considered.

Much like many things in life these days, the decision has already been taken. The majority may not be in favour, but as far as the powers that be are concerned the die is cast.

Though many remain unconvinced by the Sprint format it is clear that F1, in its infinite wisdom, is pushing ahead with the idea. Indeed it was recently revealed that one-third of next year's 23 races will feature Sprint events.

An early critic of the format, Mercedes boss, Toto Wolff appears to have been won over - or strong-armed - and while admitting that he can see the commercial sense behind the move, says the format needs to be tweaked.

Following the trials at Silverstone and Monza there will be a third Sprint in Brazil next month, after which the sport's various stakeholders will begin analysing how things can be improved.

True, both the British and Italian Grands Prix were memorable, but this had little to do with the sprint. While the clashes involving Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen put both races on the front pages, it was the freedom in terms of tyre choice as opposed to a 'mixed up' grid following the Sprint that sparked the most interest.

"We are pleased with the learnings from the first two F1 Sprints," F1 boss, Stefano Domenicali told the sport's official website. "What is clear is that it changes the dynamic of the weekend.

"But we want to wait until the last test in Brazil and then prepare the right package for the future," he added.

"The highlight must be the format of the weekend," he insisted. "Starting from Friday, action mode is fully engaged. It’s why the promoters are happy. We have received requests from a lot of promoters to host the Sprint.

"From a sporting perspective, we have seen that the less time you have to practice, the more unpredictable the action is on track in qualifying and the race.

"There is some fine tuning we need to do," he admitted, "but we are working through that now. It’s always easy to be negative and not change but we push to go in this direction because we see the enthusiasm from young generation and the wider interest from those around the world."

"Stefano will know best from a commercial standpoint," said Toto Wolff. "He's an expert. If Stefano says it creates much more audiences and therefore an ability to monetize and create some special races, then I guess we need to follow his call.

"All the logic speaks for, from a commercial standpoint, more sprint races," he continued, "because you just generate another interesting session; one on Friday, one on Saturday and one on Sunday. So I think I get that.

"I think that if we were to do more, then maybe the format overall needs to be tweaked," he admitted. "How many points are attributed? Is it really 3-2-1, or should it go back to 10th place, without undervaluing the Grand Prix? So that's a fine line which you need to balance.

"The old traditionalist in me wants to have a Grand Prix on a Sunday at two or three o'clock. We just need to accept that maybe it needs a format tweak and have Sprint races."

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Published: 18/10/2021
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