Last week, Stefano Domenicali, while insisting that reverse grids would not happen admitted that the sport is still keen to try sprint races in a bid to ‘spice-up’ race weekends.
“What we’re looking at is what could be the approach of the so-called sprint race on a Saturday,” he said in a video conference. “We are thinking if this could be tested already this year,” he admitted. “There are discussions going on with the teams in the right forum, and I think that maybe this could be the only one thing that could be interesting.”
It’s understood that the sprint race, the grid order for which would be decided in free practice, would run for about 100 km – around a third of the traditional race distance – and take place on Saturday afternoon, the finishing order deciding the grid order for the following day’s Grand Prix.
However, to further ‘spice-up’ the action, and no doubt in a bid to prevent tactical gamesmanship, championship points would be awarded.
The first 8 drivers would all score, with the points thought to be around half those normally awarded for a full race.
Ironically, the BBC claims that if approved by the commission, the sprint race would feature at just three rounds this year, those in Canada, Brazil and Monza. However, as it currently stands, due to the ongoing uncertainty over the pandemic, not least the increasing restrictions on travel, at least two of those events look highly unlikely to take place.
When F1 bosses suggested the idea last year, along with reverse grids, Mercedes was against the proposal, however it is understood the German team is now willing to accept the concept of a sprint race.
Furthermore it’s understood that to allay teams fears concerning costs in terms of the additional mileage incurred over the weekend and the increased possibility of damage, F1 bosses are willing to increase team payments for those particular weekends by around £55k ($75k).