‘New’, ‘Innovative’, ‘More action on the track’ – Formula 1 has already gone out of its way to stir up anticipation for this historic weekend at Silverstone.
It’s stupid that drivers don’t really want to join in that song of praise just yet. This is especially true of the speaker. Lewis Hamilton says he doesn’t have the highest hopes, “There will probably be a parade. There will probably be a few overtaking maneuvers, but it won’t be particularly exciting.”
For the record world champion, what will happen in his home race is initially nothing more than an experience: it is scheduled to take place three times this year, and qualifying sessions are also planned for the sprint in Monza and in one of the overseas races. Then it is analyzed whether the format is suitable for the future.
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The weekend race will be heavily rebuilt for this. There is only one free practice at the start, the second Friday session is already the first qualification: in the usual format with Q1, Q2 and Q3, the starting grid for the race is in three sections. Another free practice session will take place on Saturday, followed by the qualifying race.
Brown: ‘If you’re a real racing driver, you have to appreciate it’
A third of the Grand Prix distance, 17 laps at Silverstone, must be completed, and in about half an hour the grid for Sunday’s British Grand Prix (4:00pm) will be ready. From a Formula 1 perspective, this approach outweighs the opportunities.
If Friday is used only for preparation, the three-day competition sessions are supposed to enhance the weekend. In addition, the judges are confident that they have laid the foundation for a 30-minute hard race. While tire wear in a Grand Prix often leads to a wait-and-see tactic, there should be full throttle in racing the full distance.
“We tried to make that possible,” says Ross Brawn, sporting director of Formula 1: “We don’t want anyone to hold back.” This opportunity, then, does not often exist in modern motorsport. And if you’re a true racing driver, you should appreciate it: “They’ll also be racing with a supermarket cart,” says Brown, “it’s in their nature to beat each other.”
Haas President Steiner: Sprint Qualification Successful ‘If Fans Like It’
Fall height could become a problem for this very promising format: if you risk too much in the sprint, you could be knocked out or left behind too much – and ruin your grand prix at the same time. Gunther Steiner, team boss at Mick Schumacher’s Haas stable, says what some chiefs probably think in the track. The sprint is basically considered successful “if the fans like it”. However, he himself will order its drivers to stay away from the anger and keep the car on the right track.
Saturday at Silverstone will bring the first answers. Even if the formula turns out to be compelling in the end, it probably won’t completely replace the regular qualifiers. “In Monaco, for example, success is not likely to be. We want to distribute the sprint races as special events on the calendar,” Brown says.
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