Alonso offers novel idea to ‘spice up’ sprint shootout
By Ian Parkes
Thursday 4th May, 2023 - 5:41pm
Fernando Alonso feels F1’s new sprint shootout needs spicing up following its debut in Azerbaijan.
F1 unveiled its new programme for a sprint weekend that included two qualifying sessions, along with the shorter race and the grand prix.
Saturday, in particular, was a standalone affair for the sprint, featuring a slightly truncated qualifying compared to the regular one-lap showdown, with a four-and-a-half-hour gap to the one-third distance race.
“I think it’s okay,” said Alonso, when asked for his thoughts as to how he felt the day had panned out before finishing fourth in the grand prix on Sunday.
“Obviously, I like the idea of less practice, and the fans, for sure, will like to see more action.
“The only point for me is that I felt the (sprint) qualifying was a little bit repetitive of what we had the day before.
“It was more or less the same cars that went through Q1 and Q2 – only Alex (Albon) and George (Russell) instead of Tsunoda and others (Oscar Piastri), but for the rest of us, it was very similar.
“We can maybe spice up things a little bit more for Saturday’s qualifying.
“Easy to say but then the teams will never agree to spice up too many things.
“So I think we have to trust (F1) and listen to the fans as well to see if they really like it and try to help.”
Asked by Speedcafe as to what his proposal would be to add spice, after a pause, Alonso broke out into a smile and replied: “Red Bulls starting last!”
Aston Martin not at optimum in Baku
Team principal Mike Krack felt there were pros and cons with the new format, although believed the weekend was a positive overall as there was enough intrigue thrown into the mix.
Asked as to how far away he felt the AMR23s were from an optimal set-up given there was only one practice session ahead of two qualifying, a sprint and a grand prix, he replied: “It’s difficult to put a number on it.
“We saw that some teams chose to start from the pit lane to adjust their cars.
“Alpine lost a lot of time in FP1, so they chose to change the set-up of their car.
“We can safely say we were not optimum, we didn’t hit the optimum in several areas.
“But this is what the new format is bringing. I think this is also a bit intentional.
“It was quite important we kept somehow the DNA that still the fast cars can qualify in front, but that you reduce – maybe a little bit – that you have the complete order at all times.
“So it’s mixing things up a little but not mixing it up completely, and from that point of view, it’s a step in the right direction.”
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