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Formula 1 Brazilian GP

Sainz: Current F1 sprint format "too revealing" of Sunday races

Carlos Sainz reckons that Formula 1's current sprint format could use further tweaks, citing that the Saturday sprint race is "too revealing" of how Sunday's grand prix will play out.

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB19, Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes F1 W14, Charles Leclerc, Ferrari SF-23, Lando Norris, McLaren MCL60, Carlos Sainz, Ferrari SF-23, the rest of the field at the start

The sixth and final sprint race of the 2023 season will take place over the Sao Paulo Grand Prix weekend, as Interlagos becomes the only circuit to have hosted sprints in all three seasons since F1 began to experiment with introducing shortened races.

Sprint races were used as a method of setting the grid during 2021 and 2022 for the full grands prix, but 2023's reformat has effectively created a standalone day for sprint qualifying and the race on Saturdays.

Sainz reckons that F1 should keep experimenting with different formats for the sprints, if to develop a situation where the Saturday race does not end up being too reflective of the main event on Sunday.

"Right now, I agree that six is enough. But I agree that Saturday is too revealing of what's going to happen on Sunday, which is basically the first stint of the race of Sunday, what you're watching on TV.

"And this doesn't help. I think the show is the main race, is the grand prix. So if you've arrived to that point, you'd better try something else on Saturday.

"Is that reverse grids? Is that single-lap qualifying? I don't know. But I think given that the sprint format is a bit of an experiment going on right now in Formula 1, I would be open to keep experimenting to see which format is best.

"For me, the one we have now, it's just Saturday doesn't feel completely right for what then comes on Sunday."

Carlos Sainz, Scuderia Ferrari

Photo by: Sam Bloxham / Motorsport Images

Carlos Sainz, Scuderia Ferrari

Sainz's former team-mate Lando Norris suggested that, if the format was up to him, he would prefer that the sprint race element was gone and the race weekend compressed into two days with a single practice session preceding qualifying.

This was a format that F1 experimented with during the COVID-affected 2020 season, as the Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix was held over two days with a solitary 90-minute practice session.

"I've always liked the normal race weekends, to be honest. So if I could just choose, I'd just go back to having that," said Norris.

"The reason is for the fans and to put on more of a show and things like that. I like the challenge of just FP1 and then qualifying, I think it's better. I think it's for me more enjoyable, more of a challenge for the engineers and for us as drivers.

"So if we just had FP1, qualifying, and a main race - a Saturday-Sunday, it'll be nice over two days. I think that's maybe the only thing, but it's not my choice, so it doesn't matter."

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