Domenicali: F1 may not have podiums after sprint race

Formula 1 may elect to skip having a normal podium after its Saturday sprint races in a bid to not take the shine off the main Grand Prix on Sunday.

Domenicali: F1 may not have podiums after sprint race
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The sport’s bosses are currently putting together the final plans for the trial of a Saturday qualifying race at select events this year.

If the plans gets the necessary support from teams, which looks likely, then the revised format is set to run at the Canadian, Italian and Brazilian Grands Prix.

One of the factors being considered is to ensure that the shorter race on Saturday does not detract from the focus being on the main race on Sunday.

That is why, F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali has said that thoughts are being given to making sure that nothing allows the Saturday event to overshadow the main event.

“We are defining the sprint races now and we will present the programme before the Bahrain Grand Prix,” said Domenicali, at an event where F1 revealed a new tie-up with Ferrari Trento to provide its sparkling wine for the podiums from this year.

“We have to make sure that there is a difference between the iconic celebration of the race – which is the iconic moment at the end of the event on Sunday afternoon.

“That's the peak of the event and that has to be kept separate from the other moments. So the most important celebration will still be Sunday afternoon, and not Saturday.”

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F1 is still weighing up a formal title for the sprint race, and one of the main suggestions being considered for it to be labelled simply the ‘qualifying race’.

However, Renault executive director Marcin Budkowski has suggested an alternative name idea, as he reckoned the shake-up to the weekend schedule would be good for the spectacle.

“Sprint races, or whatever they’re going to be called - super qualifying - it’s excitement over three days,” he said.

“We can qualify on the Friday, race on the Saturday, and race again on the Sunday. And we’re going to go a lot less prepared into qualifying. For the fans at the circuit or at home, it’s three days of excitement.

“Teams sometimes look at it, and we’re so obsessed about competing with each other, we’re so obsessed about proving our competitiveness and performance, but we need to put on a good show.

“I think that’s going to help putting a good show for the fans. So let’s try new formats. It’s a great opportunity to see if it’s something we want to carry over for the next seasons.”

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