F1 needs to try sprint races despite controversy - Wolff

Toto Wolff believes the introduction of sprint races to Formula 1 in 2021 is something the series "needs to do" despite accepting it will "create controversy".

F1 needs to try sprint races despite controversy - Wolff
Listen to this article

F1 is currently establishing details for the running of sprint races at three grands prix in 2021, staged on Saturdays to set the grid for the Sunday race.

The proposal to hold sprint races in Canada, Italy and Brazil received "broad support" from teams at the latest F1 Commission meeting, but requires further details to be finalised before a decision is taken later this month.

Drivers have so far been lukewarm over the plans, with many airing concerns that it could devalue the main grand prix on Sundays.

But Mercedes team principal Wolff felt adding another race to the weekend schedule could be successful for F1, citing DTM's decision to hold races on Saturday and Sunday since 2014 as proof of the benefits.

"The sprint races are an interesting format in my opinion, and an experiment which I believe we need to do," Wolff said when asked by Motorsport.com for his view on the plan. "I've seen in other racing series, like DTM, that the audience almost doubled with having a Saturday and Sunday race, and that obviously can be monetised.

"I think if we were to do this without some interference to create a fake show, then there is merit to try it.

"I'm not sure we will like the outcome, because qualifying as we have it today is a real qualifying and a sprint race always bears the risk of damage which can be costly and a huge impact on Sunday's grid and the ability to perform.

"For sure it is going to create controversy too, but giving it a try for three races in 2021 in the right framework, we will be up for it."

Read Also:

F1 had originally considered staging sprint races at some events in 2020 using a reverse grid format, only for Mercedes to block the proposal.

Wolff stressed at the time that Mercedes would not support a "lottery" format by reversing the grid to favour its rivals, saying it went against the DNA of F1.

Despite now being in favour of sprint races, Wolff said it was only because the grid for the Saturday event would still be determined by a regular qualifying session on Saturday, avoiding any artificial results.

"Reverse grids have no place in any sport that is based on measuring and competing in the true sense of sport," Wolff said.

"We are entertainment, but the moment we slide into show and Hollywood, you will lose a lot of credibility as a sport overall.

"Not every decision that increases the entertainment factor is right for Formula 1. It always needs to be balanced between the DNA of true sport, best man and machine wins, and what the fans would like to see."

shares
comments

Related video

We’ll “get the best” out of Vettel at Aston, says Szafnauer
Previous article

We’ll “get the best” out of Vettel at Aston, says Szafnauer

Next article

Alpine explains decision to ditch F1 team principal role

Alpine explains decision to ditch F1 team principal role
Inside AlphaTauri’s Faenza F1 factory Prime

Inside AlphaTauri’s Faenza F1 factory

AlphaTauri’s mission in F1 is to sell clothes and train young drivers rather than win the championship – but you still need a cutting-edge factory to do that. Team boss Franz Tost takes GP Racing’s Oleg Karpov on a guided tour of a facility that’s continuing to grow.

Formula 1
Jun 26, 2022
Connecting two of Ferrari's favourite F1 sons: Villeneuve and Leclerc Prime

Connecting two of Ferrari's favourite F1 sons: Villeneuve and Leclerc

Gilles Villeneuve's exploits behind the wheel of a Ferrari made him a legend to the tifosi, even 40 years after his death. The team's current Formula 1 star Charles Leclerc enjoys a similar status, and recently got behind the wheel of a very special car from the French-Canadian’s career.

Formula 1
Jun 24, 2022
How a 30cm metal wire triggered open warfare in the F1 paddock Prime

How a 30cm metal wire triggered open warfare in the F1 paddock

Porpoising has become the key talking point during the 2022 Formula 1 season, as teams battle to come to terms with it. An FIA technical directive ahead of the Canadian Grand Prix and a second stay appearing on the Mercedes cars only served to create a bigger debate and raise tensions further

Formula 1
Jun 23, 2022
Does Max Verstappen have any weaknesses left? Prime

Does Max Verstappen have any weaknesses left?

Having extended his Formula 1 points lead with victory in Canada, Max Verstappen has raised his game further following his 2021 title triumph. Even on the days where Red Bull appears to be second best to Ferrari, Verstappen is getting the most out of the car in each race. So, does he have any weaknesses that his title rivals can exploit?

Formula 1
Jun 22, 2022
How F1's future fuels can shape the automotive sector Prime

How F1's future fuels can shape the automotive sector

In 2026, Formula 1 plans to make the switch to a fully sustainable fuel, as the greater automotive world considers its own alternative propulsion methods. Biogasoline and e-fuels both have merit as 'drop-in' fuels but, equally, both have their shortcomings...

Formula 1
Jun 21, 2022
The breakthrough behind Sainz's best weekend of F1 2022 so far Prime

The breakthrough behind Sainz's best weekend of F1 2022 so far

OPINION: Carlos Sainz came close to winning in Monaco but needed that race’s specific circumstances for his shot at a maiden Formula 1 victory to appear. Last weekend in Canada, he led the line for Ferrari in Charles Leclerc’s absence from the front. And there’s a key reason why Sainz has turned his 2022 form around

Formula 1
Jun 21, 2022
Why “faster” Ferrari couldn’t beat Red Bull in Canadian GP Prime

Why “faster” Ferrari couldn’t beat Red Bull in Canadian GP

On paper the Canadian Grand Prix will go down as Max Verstappen’s latest triumph, fending off late pressure from Carlos Sainz to extend his Formula 1 world championship lead. But as safety car periods, virtual and real, shook up the race Ferrari demonstrated it can take the fight to Red Bull after recent failures.

Formula 1
Jun 20, 2022
Canadian Grand Prix Driver Ratings 2022 Prime

Canadian Grand Prix Driver Ratings 2022

Plenty of high scores but just a single perfect 10 from the first Montreal race in three years, as Max Verstappen fended off late pressure from Carlos Sainz. Here’s Autosport’s assessment on the Formula 1 drivers from the Canadian Grand Prix

Formula 1
Jun 20, 2022