Bottas: Simulations and gut feel key to new F1 Sprint format

Valtteri Bottas suggests 'gut feel' will be important in the new F1 Sprint format

Valtteri Bottas suggests ‘gut feel’ will be important in the new F1 Sprint format

This weekend’s revised F1 Sprint format will leave teams scrambling for long-run data with limited practice time available suggests Valtteri Bottas.

Teams will have just 60 minutes of practice before Qualifying for Sunday’s Azerbaijan Grand Prix, at which point cars enter parc ferme.

With their set-up locked, the Sprint Shootout will follow on Saturday, the outcome of which determines the grid for the F1 Sprint.

The Shootout replaces what would have been Free Practice 2, the session during which teams would complete their long runs to get a better read of tyre wear for the race.

According to Alfa Romeo Sauber driver Valtteri Bottas, that will see teams relying more on pre-event simulations than normal.

“I think it’s a combination of simulations, experienced gathered in the past years, gut feeling, different calculations, and whatever feedback we can give as drivers after FP1 from the last we do and the tyre wear numbers that we see,” the Finn explained.

“Then you need to make a plan based on those and hope it goes right.

“Obviously, there’s lots of preparation done before the weekend already and we kind of have an idea, but we need to confirm those things in practice.

“Definitely, you need to get it right and it’s not easy.”

The change in format, which was only voted through by the F1 Commission and FIA World Motor Sport Council on Tuesday, is one Bottas likes.

“I like the fact that it’s straight into action – well, just one practice, but it becomes more and more valuable,” he said.

“Every day has a session that really matters and Saturday’s, yeah, a proper day.

“It’s definitely more demanding mentally, maybe even physically because you need to be switched on for the whole weekend.

“You can’t just take the Friday as a normal practice day, but I think it’s good.”

The sole 60-minute practice session in Baku begins at 13:30 local time (19:30 AEST) ahead of Qualifying at 17:30 (23:30 AEST).

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