F1 pushing for Saturday sprint races but reverse grid idea is 'over'

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Formula 1 CEO Stefano Domenicali says talks continue over introducing a Saturday sprint race at some Grands Prix but the reverse grid idea is "over".

Over the past few years, F1 motorsport boss Ross Brawn has been pushing for some qualifying sessions to be replaced by a 30-minute sprint race with the grid determined by reverse championship order.

In each case, he has failed to get the necessary unanimous approval, but Domenicali believes by removing the most controversial element, there might be more room for agreement.

“Reverse grid is over, that's something I can tell you,” he told reporters this week. “I think that it’s important to think maybe of new ideas of being more attractive or interesting, [but] we don’t have to lose the traditional approach of racing.

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“I think that what we learned in the period where we were changing qualifying every two days has been something that has burned our fingers. So we need to avoid that. Now I think that the formula is quite stable," the Italian noted.

“What we are looking at, for sure, is what could be the approach of the so-called sprint race on Saturday. We are thinking if this could be tested already this year.

“There are discussions going on with the teams, in the right forum. And I think that maybe this could be the only thing that could be interesting.”

It's unknown if these sprint races would replace qualifying as previously proposed, or be an addition to qualifying and the main Grand Prix on a Sunday.

As for Brawn, he remains keen to experiment with the format, while also maintaining the integrity of the championship.

“What I’d like to see is some weekends where we do run a different format, and we can judge what the responses are, so we don’t commit the whole championship to a new format,” he told RaceFans recently.

“That would be a sensible way to move forward, find new avenues that would appeal to the fans and perhaps appeal to new fans. We don’t want to alienate our existing fans. We’re very loyal to our fan base.

“But if we can find ways of engaging with new fans, that would be for everyone’s benefit.

“[Two or three races] is enough to judge the impact of it without debasing the championship,” he added.

“What you don’t want to do is have a championship that’s spoiled because you’ve done something which creates strange results.”