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Tyre strategy, not reverse grids, best way to spice up F1 sprints - Stella

McLaren boss Andrea Stella believes that offset tyre strategies are key to helping make Formula 1’s sprint races more exciting. 

Oscar Piastri, McLaren MCL60, on the grid before the race

A lacklustre sprint race at the United States Grand Prix has prompted discussions about what F1 needs to do to ramp up the entertainment factor with the Saturday events. 

As Motorsport.com revealed, F1 chiefs are believed to be now considering a raft of radical ideas – including reverse grids and a standalone championship – as part of an effort to change things for the future. 

While calls for an overhaul of the sprint format do have support from some teams, not everyone is in favour of being so bold with potential changes to how things are run. 

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff said he felt that reversing sprint grids would be a retrograde step for F1, and Stella too has said he is not hugely in favour of going that far. 

Instead, the McLaren team principal thinks that better racing in sprints comes down to a variation of tyre strategies – something that happened at the Qatar Grand Prix when soft runners charged to the front early on but then fell back. 

"Most of the times the action comes from people guessing decisions on tyres," said Stella, when asked by Motorsport.com for his thoughts on making sprint races more exciting. 

"If you think about Qatar, some cars decided to start on soft, and this created quite a bit of action, compounded with the safety cars.  

Lando Norris, McLaren MCL60, Carlos Sainz, Ferrari SF-23, Oscar Piastri, McLaren MCL60

Photo by: Andy Hone / Motorsport Images

Lando Norris, McLaren MCL60, Carlos Sainz, Ferrari SF-23, Oscar Piastri, McLaren MCL60

"Then you had the medium starters having to go through the soft starters, and this made this pretty exciting.  

"In a similar way, I think [in Austin], Carlos [Sainz] being the only one on soft didn't help us for sure because Lando [Norris] lost quite a bit of time behind him. Then there was some action in trying to pass Carlos." 

Stella thinks that trying to create ways that deliver more variation of tyre calls in the sprints is a much better way forward for F1, than gimmicks like reverse grids. 

"I'm not a great fan of creating too much of an artificial spectacle," he said. "At the same time, I think there may be some margin to think more creatively. 

"Personally, I'm not sure exactly how this can be done. Like I said, quite a bit of the action comes from tyre usage. So, the way you use the tyres could be a way of creating action without reversing the grid."  

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