Nobody will take a risk with "confusing" sprint race format – Wolff

Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff believes Formula 1's underwhelming sprint race format leaves "everyone confused" as drivers are discouraged from taking risks in Saturday's sprint to not compromise their actual grand prix.

Nobody will take a risk with "confusing" sprint race format – Wolff

F1 decided to trial sprint races at three grands prix in 2021, with the 100km sprints on Saturday setting the grid for Sunday's full-length race.

The two sprint races F1 has held so far, in Silverstone and Monza, produced mixed results at best. The running order was largely established after the first lap, as a lack of pitstops and overtaking meant drivers were generally resigned to following the train.

With just minor points at stake for the top 3, and the result setting the grid for Sunday's race, Mercedes chief Wolff believes drivers are discouraged from taking any risks in the sprints, because the risk-reward balance isn't quite right.

"First of all, everybody's confused," Wolff said. "I don't know how it is with you, I don't even know what session is when.

"I believe the sprint race format as it stands at the moment, doesn't give a lot of benefit because nobody will take a serious risk.

"There's too little points at stake and the risk of compromising your Sunday grand prix, with points all the way back to 10th position, is just not worth the risk.

"So, what we've seen is a combination of general difficulties in overtaking because the straight-line speeds are very similar, but also because, even Turn 1 and 2, nobody takes a risk."

Read Also:

Wolff said F1 was right to trial the format and hopes it produces better results at Interlagos, when the third and last sprint event of 2021 is scheduled. But the Austrian doesn't believe the sprint format, as it exists today, should be kept next year.

"I think let's give it another try in Brazil, let's see if anything changes, but that was a worthwhile experiment and for me, and this is just a personal opinion or the opinion of my engineers here, it's not fish, not meat," he explained.

"I think sprint races were worth a try - I'm not sure if we will keep them."

Toto Wolff, Team Principal and CEO, Mercedes AMG, with Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes

Toto Wolff, Team Principal and CEO, Mercedes AMG, with Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes

Photo by: Steve Etherington / Motorsport Images

shares
comments

Related video

Win tickets to McLaren’s HQ
Previous article

Win tickets to McLaren’s HQ

Next article

Aston Martin confirms Vettel and Stroll for F1 2022

Aston Martin confirms Vettel and Stroll for F1 2022
Load comments
Why Norris doesn’t expect Mr Nice Guy praise for much longer Prime

Why Norris doesn’t expect Mr Nice Guy praise for much longer

Earning praise from rivals has been a welcome sign that Lando Norris is becoming established among Formula 1's elite. But the McLaren driver is confident that his team's upward curve can put him in the mix to contend for titles in the future, when he's hoping the compliments will be replaced by being deemed an equal adversary

What Ferrari still needs to improve to return to F1 title contention Prime

What Ferrari still needs to improve to return to F1 title contention

After a disastrous 2020 in which it slumped to sixth in the F1 constructors' standings, Ferrari has rebounded strongly and is on course to finish third - despite regulations that forced it to carryover much of its forgettable SF1000 machine. Yet while it can be pleased with its improvement, there are still steps it must make if 2022 is to yield a return to winning ways

How F1 teams and personnel react in pressurised situations Prime

How F1 teams and personnel react in pressurised situations

OPINION: The pressure is firmly on Red Bull and Mercedes as Formula 1 2021 embarks on its final double-header. How the respective teams deal with that will be a crucial factor in deciding the outcome of the drivers' and constructors' championships, as Motorsport.com's technical consultant and ex-McLaren F1 engineer Tim Wright explains.

Formula 1
Dec 1, 2021
How getting sacked from Benetton made Mercedes' Allison Prime

How getting sacked from Benetton made Mercedes' Allison

He’s had a hand in world championship-winning Formula 1 cars for Benetton, Renault and Mercedes, and was also a cog in the Schumacher-Ferrari axis. Having recently ‘moved upstairs’ as Mercedes chief technical officer, James Allison tells Stuart Codling about his career path and why being axed by Benetton was one of the best things that ever happened to him.

Formula 1
Nov 28, 2021
The remarkable qualities that propelled Kubica’s F1 comeback Prime

The remarkable qualities that propelled Kubica’s F1 comeback

It’s easy to look at Robert Kubica’s second Formula 1 career and feel a sense of sadness that he didn’t reach the heights for which he seemed destined. But as Ben Anderson discovered, performance and results are almost meaningless in this context – something more fundamental and incredible happened…

Formula 1
Nov 27, 2021
The humbling changes Ricciardo made to deliver for McLaren Prime

The humbling changes Ricciardo made to deliver for McLaren

From being lapped by his own teammate in Monaco to winning at Monza, it’s been a tumultuous first season at McLaren for Daniel Ricciardo. But, as he tells STUART CODLING, there’s more to the story of his turnaround than having a lovely summer holiday during Formula 1's summer break...

Formula 1
Nov 26, 2021
The potential benefits of losing the F1 constructors' title Prime

The potential benefits of losing the F1 constructors' title

As the battle continues to rage over the F1 2021 drivers' championship, teams up and down the grid are turning their attentions to the prize money attributed to each position in the constructors' standings. But F1's sliding scale rules governing wind tunnel and CFD use will soften the blow for those who miss out on the top places

Formula 1
Nov 25, 2021
The invisible enemy that's made Hamilton's title charge tougher Prime

The invisible enemy that's made Hamilton's title charge tougher

After winning his past few Formula 1 titles as a canter, Lewis Hamilton currently trails Max Verstappen by eight points heading into the final double-header of 2021. Although Red Bull has been his biggest on-track challenge, Hamilton feels that he has just as much to grapple with away from the circuit

Formula 1
Nov 24, 2021