F1 Adds a Sprint at Silverstone on Saturday

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Formula 1 is trying something different. During the British Grand Prix, the sport is experimenting with a new system to add even more excitement to the Grand Prix weekends and attract new fans.

It will be a 62-mile race sprint, One-third of the race without a pit stop on Sunday.

The traditional ranking has been moved to Friday, which will determine the ranking on the grid for the sprint. The outcome of the shorter race will determine the order and pole position of the other cars starting the Grand Prix. Drivers who perform well in the sprint will be closer to the front.

Ross Brawn, general manager of motorsport, said 20 drivers will be engaged.

“I’ve said this before, but I think race drivers will race each other in a supermarket parking lot with shopping carts,” he said. “It’s in their nature to want to beat each other. There is nothing worse for them than being beaten by someone.

“You could argue that the sprint is only a precursor to the main event, the Grand Prix, but I think they’ll be dying to beat each other and show who’s the fastest.”

Brawn said the idea came from Chase Carey, the former CEO of Formula 1 owner Liberty Media Corporation.

“There’s been increasing engagement on social media, perhaps with a different audience, and we were seeing a new group of enthusiastic fans from the ‘Drive to Survive’ series to Formula 1,” Brawn said, referring to the Netflix show. .

“We looked at how we could increase our content and engage with fans who want their Formula 1 in less time,” said Brawn. “This is where we finally get to the sprint concept.”

The British Grand Prix is ​​the first of three races that will test the sprint. The Italian Grand Prix and the United States or São Paulo Grand Prix will stage the others.

The top three drivers will earn points for the drivers’ championship, three for the first, two for the second, and one for the third.

“The point has been made and we must understand, we cannot reduce non-sprint races,” he said.

“They still have to be a great success, a great weekend.”

Several factors will determine which races will include the new event, Brawn said, including the nature of the track, the strength of the race’s live audience, and whether the event can be enhanced by the sprint.

“It’s my opinion and this is an informal view, half a dozen events next year could be a nice step towards where we are now,” he said.

“I don’t think we’re going to want to go that fast for a whole season of sprint racing, but let’s see how we go this season.”

Jean Todt, president of the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile, the sport’s governing body, opposes sprinting.

“If you ask me if I’m a big fan of this, the answer is no,” she said. “I don’t think F1 needs that.

“But on the other hand, if people want to try something, it won’t hurt the race on Sunday. Sunday will be a different way to have a starting grid. So it costs nothing to try.”

Aston Martin driver Sebastian Vettel, who won four titles with Red Bull from 2010 to 2013, is skeptical.

“It makes the weekend a little busier,” she said. “You have less time to prepare; After entering the track, you need to make your final setup very quickly. But it should be the same for everyone, and frankly, if we like it, if people like it, and what it can bring to the weekend, we’ll find out how it feels.”

Brawn can understand the opposition, but said Formula 1 needs to try new initiatives to attract a diverse audience.

“I understand,” he said. “They’re enjoying the formula for a Grand Prix weekend and they like to see qualifying go ahead on the grid. I ask traditionalists to keep an open mind and wait and see if they like it.

“We will never push for it unless it is clearly a success. If we don’t see strong engagement from fans and the benefits, there’s no incentive to do that.”

Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton is happy that Formula 1 is trying something new. “I’ve always said we need some kind of different format for certain races throughout the year.”

“So I like that they keep an open mind and make changes. From these experimental weekends, I hope the sport will learn how and how we can implement better racing in the future.”

Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc said the sprint is fine as long as it doesn’t devalue the Sunday race.

“But it can be interesting to do a sprint and we’ll see the cars max out from the first lap to the last lap, which will be good for us drivers.”

Brawn said Formula 1 would “look at other initiatives” if the sprint didn’t work out, but was optimistic.

“I think it will be a very good event, a great race and the drivers will go after it.”

“Do we think they’re going to have a different mindset going into Turn 1 because it’s a sprint?” He said, referring to Red Bull’s Hamilton and Max Verstappen, who are 32 points ahead of Hamilton in the drivers’ standings. “I don’t think so, somehow, but this has to be established. That’s what we need to learn.”

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