Brawn: F1 Sprint Qualifying enhanced British GP
By Mat Coch
Wednesday 21st July, 2021 - 12:41pm
Formula 1 boss Ross Brawn believes the sport’s first-ever Sprint Qualifying session served to enhance the British Grand Prix weekend.
The Silverstone event was used as a test bed for the new system, which sees a 30-minute sprint encounter to determine the final grid.
Changes to the weekend format to accommodate the session saw teams left with just an hour of practice before their cars went into parc ferme conditions.
An elimination style Qualifying session followed on Friday afternoon, before a second hour of practice on Saturday morning.
A 30-minute sprint then took place on Saturday afternoon, the starting order for that having been generated by Qualifying the previous day.
In that session, Max Verstappen usurped Lewis Hamilton to claim pole for Sunday’s Grand Prix while Sergio Perez in the second Red Bull spun out.
The final grid was therefore different from that set in qualifying, though Perez starting from the pit lane (after the team retired him on Saturday and replaced his rear wing for Sunday) the only significant change.
“I’m very pleased with F1’s first Sprint weekend,” Brawn, F1’s managing director of motorsport, wrote in his post-event column.
“Our belief was that it would add more engagement for fans across three days – and it definitely did.
“I don’t see how it did anything other than enhance the race weekend.
“The fact that teams had less time to practice had a significant impact on the weekend.”
Following Saturday’s running, questions were raised over the usefulness of Free Practice 2.
With cars under parc ferme conditions there was little teams could do to tweak there cars, theoretically nullifying the need for track time.
“I don’t think it’s a waste of time because FP1 we used to really get ready for qualifying,” countered Lando Norris.
“FP1 is now what FP3 normally is, really, and FP2 is getting ready for the race.
“So I think they’re both very valuable for both situations.”
The Sprint Qualifying format is set to be trialled at two further events, the Italian and Sao Paulo Grands Prix, before being reviewed and considered further.
“We’ll go away and reflect on the format in the next week or two,” Brawn said.
“I’m sure there will be things we can pick up with teams and then digest the feedback.
“It’s a great first step in this experiment, with two more Sprints to come.
“I want to emphasise that we won’t make a judgment on whether it will be part of our championship in the future until we have done all three Sprints on three different tracks.”