Sprints need more jeopardy, claims Horner


Following a fairly processional Sprint at COTA, Christian Horner believes the format needs something that will force drivers to "go for it".

Having spent the build-up telling viewers what a treat they were in for, with numerous teams and drivers in with a chance of victory, the Sky team was left with egg on its face when the 19-lap event was essentially decided at the first corner and tyre degradation meaning few were willing to take any subsequent risks.

While his driver won, thereby extending his championship lead over his closest rival, teammate Sergio Perez, to 213 points, Christian Horner believes the format needs some serious tweaking.

"I think you've got to add a bit more jeopardy," he said. "Whether you reverse the top ten or something with it... but then you've got to add enough points to it to make it worth it for the drivers' while to really go for it.

"We're in a process where we need to be open to change and evolution," he added. "I think the execution, we can do a better job in it, making it more exciting for the viewer."

Race winner Verstappen, never a fan of the Sprint, remains unconvinced, even though it was in the recent Qatar Sprint that he sealed his third title.

Reflecting on the 19-lap race, he believes that - in terms of strategy and tyre wear - it was like a movie trailer that gives away too much of the plot.

"I don't really get excited by it," he admitted. "Like now, we've done this race, everyone more or less knows what's going to happen tomorrow between all the cars in terms of pace, so takes a bit the excitement away from it if you wouldn't have done today.

"We only had qualifying that you had yesterday," he added, "you don't really know what's going to happen before the race. So everyone is very excited turning on the TV because you don't know. Now we know a little bit.

"I would just be disappointed because you more or less know that the picture, if nothing crazy happens, you know what's going to happen tomorrow. So I find that takes away that magic."

"The concept of the Sprint is still good," insisted Horner. "It could be that it's an opportunity to do something a bit different, and I think that there's still some more that we could do.

"I don't know whether you found that an entertaining race but I think if you were to have more points potentially available, if you were to reverse the top ten or something. I don't know. It needs some thought to tune it up."

Check out our Sunday gallery from COTA here.

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Published: 22/10/2023
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