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Sprint race and third driver GP being discussed

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Sprint race and third driver GP being discussed
By:
Jul 3, 2015, 10:40 AM

Formula 1's proposals to revamp the weekend schedule include ideas such as a Saturday sprint event, and even a standalone race for junior drivers in third cars to earn their place on the proper grand prix grid, Motorsport.com can reveal.

Start: Nico Rosberg, Mercedes AMG F1 Team leads
Romain Grosjean, Lotus F1 E23 and Pastor Maldonado, Lotus F1 E23 at the start of the race
Nico Rosberg, Mercedes AMG F1 W06 leads team mate Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1 W06 at the start of the race
Nico Rosberg, Mercedes AMG F1 W06 and team mate Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1 W06 battle for the lead at the start of the race
Nico Rosberg, Mercedes AMG F1 W06 and Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1 W06 battle at the start of the race
Max Verstappen, Scuderia Toro Rosso STR10 and Jenson Button, McLaren MP4-30 at the back of the race before the start of the race
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1 W06 leads at the start of the race

Following a meeting of the F1 Strategy Group earlier this week, the FIA and Bernie Ecclestone are now evaluating a number of ideas that could be introduced as early as next year.

A statement said: "Several exciting and innovative changes to the qualifying and race weekend formats have also been discussed and are being evaluated by FIA and FOM for a 2016 introduction."

Although some radical proposals, like a single-make saloon car race for all F1 drivers, were talked about but ruled out as too complicated, other ideas are still being considered.

One suggestion is for the weekend to turn into a double-header event, with Saturday featuring a qualifying session and sprint race, while Sunday hosts another qualifying session and longer main grand prix.

Although some team bosses are in favour of the move, which they believe will boost television audiences, it is not thought that the FIA nor Bernie Ecclestone are especially keen.

Another idea that is being evaluated is much more radical, but would ensure that the status of the Sunday race is maintained.

It is for there to be a sprint race for junior drivers in third cars that would take place on Saturday, with the incentive that the highest finishers qualify to take place in the Sunday grand prix.

The ideas are to be discussed over the next few months, but will need support from all teams and F1's chiefs to be implemented.

"I think it's very embryonic in its discussion," Christian Horner told Motorsport.com. "It's good that there's a discussion going on about that kind of thing. I think it needs to be fully and properly considered. It's just ideas floating around at the moment."

Gimmicks ruled out

Teams have made it clear, however, that there will be no move to introduce gimmicks to try to deliver fake excitement to the Sunday race.

One source said: "Nobody has an appetite for radical, fake changes like reverse grids or success ballast, things like that."

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About this article

Series Formula 1
Author Jonathan Noble