The Sao Paulo Grand Prix Weekend: A Showcase of Formula 1’s Unique Experimentation
As the sixth and final sprint race of the 2023 season approaches, Interlagos solidifies its position as a trailblazer in introducing shortened races. This iconic circuit has been the sole host of sprints throughout all three seasons since F1’s venture into experimental formats.
Sprint races were initially implemented as a means to determine the starting grid for full-length grands prix during 2021 and 2022. However, this year’s reformatting has brought about an exciting change – creating a standalone day dedicated to sprint qualifying and racing on Saturdays.
An Ongoing Journey Towards Finding the Perfect Balance
Ferrari driver Carlos Sainz shares his belief that F1 should continue exploring different formats for sprint races, aiming to create a Saturday race that doesn’t overly predict Sunday’s main event. He acknowledges that while six sprints may be sufficient at present, it is crucial to find ways to enhance the spectacle provided by each race weekend.
“Right now, I agree that six is enough. But I agree that Saturday is too revealing of what’s going to happen on Sunday, which is basically the first stint of the race of Sunday, what you’re watching on TV. And this doesn’t help. I think the show is [the] main race; it’s [the] grand prix. So if you’ve arrived at that point, you’d better try something else on Saturday.”
Carlos Sainz raises thought-provoking questions about potential solutions, such as implementing reverse grids or single-lap qualifying, in search of the ideal format for sprint races. With F1’s ongoing experimentations, he advocates for continuous exploration to determine which format offers the most thrilling and captivating experience.
Lando Norris: A Return to Traditional Race Weekends
Lando Norris, former teammate of Carlos Sainz and a driver known for his candidness, expresses his preference for reverting to conventional race weekends. The young talent highlights that compressing the race weekend into two days with a single practice session preceding qualifying can enhance the overall spectacle.
“I’ve always liked the normal race weekends, to be honest. So if I could just choose, I’d just go back to having that. The reason is for the fans and [to] put on more of a show and things like that. I like the challenge of just FP1 and then qualifying; I think it’s better. It’s [a] more enjoyable, [and] more challenging situation both for us drivers but also interesting technically.”