Leclerc, Perez suggest tweaks to F1 Sprint format
By Mat Coch
Tuesday 2nd May, 2023 - 11:11pm
Drivers have suggested a number of tweaks to the newly revised F1 Sprint format employed over the Azerbaijan Grand Prix weekend.
Voted into the rules the week of the Baku event, it saw the introduction of an all-new qualifying session specifically for the Sprint.
That change was well received by drivers who had previously taken a low-risk approach to the Saturday afternoon races given they’d determined the grid for the grand prix proper.
However, while that issue was overcome, there were nuances of the new rules which some suggest could be tidied up to further improve the show.
“I don’t hate this format. I think it’s a better format than last year’s Sprint format,” said Sprint pole-sitter Charles Leclerc when asked by Speedcafe.
“I wouldn’t want this to be the standard format in the future, I think it’s fine if we have three, four races like that in a year.”
The new format and qualifying session brought with it rules surrounding tyres.
Drivers had to use a new set of mediums in the first two phases of the Sprint Shootout and a new soft if they made it through to the final segment.
That saw Lando Norris sidelined as he didn’t have a new set of red-walled Pirellis available.
“Things I would like to change maybe is the role of the new soft in SQ3, I think, to be able to at least use a use soft time,” Leclerc said.
“There are a few things that can be changed to be to improve those weekends.”
Sergio Perez, who won Saturday’s encounter, agreed with Leclerc.
“I’m happy if we if we have three, four races like this,” he said.
“[It’s] Just making sure we correct small details like the timing, like the usage of the tyres.
“I think it looks really bad to have, I think two cars without tyres in Q3
“Just to make sure that we correct for that and when you just have few races like this on the year, maximum.”
Perez also suggested the timings between the Sprint Shootout and F1 Sprint could be looked at too as the format ramps up the pressure on drivers and teams.
“Especially for the top teams, it can only go wrong for you,” he reasoned.
“Just making a mistake can be extremely costly throughout the weekend.
“Already from FP1, especially in a circuit like this, where there is no room for errors.
“The format as well, I felt like after doing the Sprint quali, there’s like four hours waiting.
“I think it’s just a little bit too much.
“Probably we have Just to review the timings and try to make it a bit more efficient, try to keep everyone more in the zone, and make it a little bit shorter.”
Fernando Alonso too has suggested the weekend was somewhat repetitive and something could be done to spice it up.
Max Verstappen meanwhile detests the concept and has suggested it be scrapped altogether.
The next Sprint weekend is slated for the Austrian Grand Prix at the Red Bull Ring on June 30 – July 2.
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