F1 Contemplates Format Overhaul Amidst Perplexity and Talks with Teams
In a surprising move this year, F1 decided to shake things up by changing the format of its six sprint weekends. The traditional flow of the weekend was disrupted as the sprint race received a separate qualifying session on Saturday, disconnecting it from Sunday’s main grand prix.
This new approach left fans confused and raised eyebrows among teams. Not only did it interrupt the usual rhythm of the weekend, but it also meant that cars were subjected to parc ferme rules starting from Friday’s sole free practice session onwards.
However, F1 is not one to shy away from feedback. After receiving input from both fans and teams, discussions have begun between F1 officials and team representatives to come up with a format overhaul for 2024 that would bring back some semblance of a traditional grand prix schedule.
One proposal being considered is moving qualifying for Sunday’s grand prix back to its typical Saturday afternoon slot. In this scenario, the sprint race would be held on Saturday morning instead. To make room for this change, the sprint shootout that sets the grid for the sprint race would be moved to Friday afternoon after a single free practice session.
The potential benefits of these changes are twofold: less confusion among fans and more opportunity for teams to adjust their setups ahead of grand prix qualifying by reopening parc ferme after the morning sprint race on Saturday.
Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff revealed that conversations have already taken place with F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali. He believes this format adjustment would simplify things and make it easier for fans to follow the action.
Aston Martin’s performance director, Tom McCullough, echoed similar sentiments. While acknowledging the headache it presents from a technical standpoint, he emphasized the importance of creating an exciting experience for both commercial interests and fans alike.
Notably, even Ferrari sporting director Diego Ioverno highlighted the need to ensure teams have enough time to react between a Saturday morning sprint race and subsequent qualifying session.
The discussions are ongoing, and no final decision has been reached yet. However, all parties involved are committed to finding a solution that benefits spectators while preserving the thrill of two races over a single weekend.