Formula One fans are FURIOUS with plans to introduce ‘sprint races’ to decide grid places in 2021 – as they accuse the sport of a ‘gimmick’ that will ‘hand Lewis Hamilton the championship’
- Sprint races could be trialled at up to three Formula One races in 2021
- Teams likely to pass through a vote on one of the sport’s most radical proposals
- But fans have been largely negative to the idea via their social media posts
- Fans fear the shake up could be just a gimmick and have little effect
Formula One fans have hit out at the sport following bold plans to revamp the grand prix weekend, including the introduction of qualifying sprint races.
Following a meeting between the FIA governing body, F1 chiefs as well as the teams on the grid on Thursday, there was unanimous approval for sprint races to be trialled during the upcoming season.
Although the idea has not yet been voted through, it is likely to get eight of the ten votes needed from each of the F1 teams to be rubber stamped before the start of the campaign.
Formula One is expected to introduce sprint races on a trial basis during the 2021 season
Proposed plans will see a sprint race, between a third and half the length of a traditional grand prix, feature in place of qualifying with the finishing order determining the grid order for Sunday’s traditional event.
The new race could also feature half-points awarded to the top eight, with qualifying for the race set to replace the second free practice session which is typically held on a Friday afternoon.
If the move goes ahead it will be one of the biggest format shake ups since the inception of the world championship in 1950, and fans were largely negative towards the radical proposals on social media.
The Monza circuit in Italy is expected to be one track that trials the proposals next term
One fan claimed there was nothing wrong with the traditional qualifying format that has been tweaked throughout the years and that it did not deserve to be replaced by a gimmick, saying: ‘No, no and more no. Qualy is fine as it is. We don’t want you’re gimmicky sprintraces.’
Another was open minded to the prospect of a change but criticised its application, and its lack of being able to jumble a starting order heading into the traditional grand prix,
They said: ‘Well mix up the grid then for sprint races or this concept is going to fail seriously. It makes no difference if you have 45mins of the result that you would have if the race runs 90min. If you want to make the sprint race interesting then mix up the grid.’
However there was support for the idea, with one fan tweeting: ‘Why is everyone so against it? Its just experimental, Also I for one wouldn’t mind having more competitive sessions.
Fans are split on whether the new rules could play into world champion Lewis Hamilton and his Mercedes team’s advantage
Another echoed the sentiment, suggesting it was worth trying if it could end Mercedes domination of the sport: ‘Let’s at least try it, we have nothing to lose. If it means Mercedes might not win then let’s do it.’
Mercedes have clean swept the drivers’ and constructors’ championships every season since 2014, with Briton’s Lewis Hamilton claiming six of his seven titles during that period.
However, one fan believes the rules play into the current world champion’s hands in his status as team leader as he targets an unprecedented eighth world title this term.
They said: ‘Really Formula One? Points for sprint races? Firstly I detest the idea of Formula One becoming like Formula Two… secondly with team orders, you’re handing Lewis Hamilton the championship before the August break.’
HOW F1 COULD LOOK IN 2021…
Free practice one (90 mins)
Free practice two (90 mins)
Free practice three (60 mins)
Free practice one (90 mins)
Sprint race qualifying
Free practice two (60 mins)
Former McLaren driver Pedro de la Rosa believes a change of format is not needed in Formula One, suggesting it was down to the teams to improve and challenge Mercedes’ dominance
Former McLaren driver Pedro de la Rosa though believed it was down to Mercedes’ rivals to catch up and help make the sport more exciting rather than change the format.
‘Not so sure what sprint races could bring?’, he said. ‘I rather they kept the same race format but we had more than 2 cars that can win races… No race format tweaks needed then.’
Should the votes go through it is likely it will be trialled across three races this season in Canada, Italy and Brazil. If successful the proposal could feature at even more venues in 2022.
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