F1 team bosses open to sprint race format, but it makes 'no sense' to Vettel

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Formula 1 team bosses have responded favourably to plans to introduce sprint races at some Grands Prix in 2021.

In recent years, F1 chiefs have tried and failed three times to shake up the weekend format at select tracks by replacing qualifying with a short race where the grid would be formed by reversing the championship order.

For this season, the reverse grid element has been replaced by a Friday qualifying session for the 100km sprint race, and F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali was pleased with the reaction the proposal got.

"The idea that we have shared - and I think has received great feedback from everyone in the sport - will give us the thrill of a great weekend that will be beneficial to all the parties involved," he said in a conference call with Liberty Media investors last week.

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“This is something that we are debating with the teams and the FIA in the next weeks, in order to present the final format before the start of the season in Bahrain.

“Our objective is to try to offer to the people that are coming to the event, to the people that are watching television, to the people that are really fans of Formula 1, something that is exciting."

It is reported the races could be dubbed 'super qualifying' with the Canadian, Italian and Brazilian GP's identified as the three trial races in 2021.

Critically, this plan has the support of perhaps the most important team on the grid, Ferrari.

“We are obviously very engaged in the discussions with F1 and the FIA,” team boss Mattia Binotto was quoted by GPFans.

“We believe that changing for more spectacle and eventually for unpredictable races will be great. I think we are practical in discussions.

“We support a change because that change will somehow achieve the goals and the objectives I just mentioned.

“The discussion, at least for the moment, seems to be promising for a good output but still I think we need to look at all the details. Details will make a difference in this respect.

“The work has to continue and hopefully we will find a good solution.”

Also giving his approval was Mercedes boss Toto Wolff, citing the impact similar changes had on other series. 

“The sprint races are an interesting format in my opinion, and an experiment which I believe we need to do," said the Austrian.

“I have seen in other racing series – DTM – that the audience almost doubled when having a Saturday and Sunday race and that obviously can be monetised.

“I think if we are to do this without some interference to create a fake show, it has merit to try it.

“I’m not sure we will like the outcome because qualifying, how we have it today, is a real qualifying, and a sprint race always bears the risk of damage which can be costly and obviously has a huge impact on Sunday’s grid and Sunday’s ability to perform.

“For sure, it is going to create controversy too, but giving it a try for three races in 2021, in the right framework, we would be up for it.”

Drivers too are also slowly being persuaded, though many have made it clear sprint races shouldn't "devalue" winning in F1.

However, Sebastian Vettel remains entirely unconvinced. 

“I don’t know what’s the thinking behind it. I don’t like it,” said the four-time world champion this week.

“Why would you have a pre-final to a final? What’s the point of that? I don’t understand it.

"Obviously, if there is a race on Saturday then I will have to take part because I still want to drive on Sunday but from my point of view, it makes no sense.

“You have the Grand Prix and it’s always been run 300km and the main challenge of the weekend.

“I think if you have to introduce something like this then there’s something else you need to fix rather than the format – another race, or Q4 or Q5 or whatever it is.

"It’s shifting or taking the focus away from the real problem. It’s more of a patch rather than really a fix.”