Sprint races should not decide title says Brawn

by Jun 18, 20210 comments


Ross Brawn admits that fellow F1 bosses are keen that the world championship should not be decided by sprint races.

As it stands, Silverstone, Monza and Interlagos are set to host the controversial Sprint Qualifying races this season.

The new format, intended to spice up the weekend, will see qualifying take place on Friday afternoon (or evening) to decide the grid order for a 100 km sprint race on Saturday.

The result of the sprint race – for which minimal points will be awarded to the first three finishers – will decide the grid for Sunday’s Grand Prix.

With the title fight looking as though it could go down to the wire – technical directives aside – in a clear case of wanting their cake and eating it, F1 bosses are keen that the title is not decided by the sprint events.

“We’d probably want to avoid the title being decided on a Saturday,” Brawn told reporters at Paul Ricard.

“If we went to the last race and a driver could win the championship on Saturday by winning a sprint event, that could bring an added dimension,” he admitted, “but I think we’ll just try to avoid it while we find out how successful it is.

“We want to pick an event ideally a few races before the end of the season and we always want to pick tracks where we think the racing can take place in a short format with overtaking opportunities and a little bit of tyre degradation. I don’t think we want to do it at the last race.”

And it is here that the sport faces a quandary.

While the Silverstone and Monza events will go ahead, it is almost certain that Brazil will not happen. Indeed, a number of events are still likely to be abandoned, including Australia and Mexico.

This would leave F1 with a problem as it would then either have to use Sprint Qualifying in Austin or one of the two final races on the calendar, Saudi Arabia or Abu Dhabi… as Ross and his fellow F1 bosses have now come to realise.

Admitting that the whole concept of Sprint Qualifying is an anathema to purists – and that includes many within the paddock – Brawn insists that if the format doesn’t prove popular it will be dropped.

“We will never force this through if it’s clearly not a success,” he said.

“There’s no incentive in doing it if the audience don’t engage,” he added, sounding every inch the marketing man this poacher turned gamekeeper he has sadly become.

“I think one of the great things about what’s happening is that it’s three races, it’s not the season. If we don’t get the response we hope, then we’ll put our hands up and stay the way we are.”

Check out our Thursday gallery from Paul Ricard, here.


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