At Silverstone and Monza, the two venues that have hosted sprint qualifying races so far this year, Friday practice is reduced to just 60 minutes of racing instead of the usual 120.
The day also includes a qualifying session that determines the grid for Saturday’s sprint race.
The format made Friday’s practice session alone more important and intense for F1 teams, which was well received by several drivers.
“I like this format for Friday,” said Leclerc. “I think for Friday it’s definitely something positive. I’m a bit bored on normal Friday, because FP1, FP2 nothing to gain, nothing to lose.
“You do a few more laps, it’s always good, but you have so many other chances to recover what you lost in FP1 for example.
“Now FP1 is a natural session that is really worth pushing and finding the limits. And I think it’s also good for us riders to just go out on a track and push straight away.
“It’s more interesting for the show too. So I like the Friday format like this personally.”
Charles Leclerc, Ferrari SF21, Daniel Ricciardo, McLaren MCL35M and Carlos Sainz Jr., Ferrari SF21
Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images
Ferrari teammate Sainz agrees that Fridays have become more exciting thanks to the reduced racing.
“I think Friday is clearly improved for everyone, it’s progress,” he said. “I think FP1 is exciting, because you know you can’t go wrong and you have to learn.
“Also for the teams with the amount of simulation tools that there are today, it forces the teams, you know, to be modern, up to date and on top of the simulations to try to put together a good car. Friday already. “
Leclerc and Sainz agree, however, that the sprint qualifying race format needs to be improved in order to be more interesting for fans and drivers after enjoying the Monza event less than the one at Silverstone.
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“I didn’t like it that much here at Monza,” Leclerc said. “And I think there might be a place to try something different for the sprint qualifying.
“There have been quite a few ideas already. And I think we’re more or less all on the same line trying to do something different for the sprint qualifying.”
Sainz added: “I agree with Charles, we have to find a way to make Saturday a little more exciting, because at the moment I don’t think there is much enthusiasm for qualifying on Saturday.
“I don’t think a sprint qualifying is more exciting than qualifying on Saturday. So we have to find a way to make Saturday a little more exciting.”
Photo By: Charles Coates / Motorsport Images
Ferrari team boss Mattia Binotto suggested over the Italian GP weekend that he would host reverse grid races on an experimental basis, but insisted it remained open to mind to other ideas.
“I think the new format is always a positive experience, if you watch it in the whole weekend, obviously not looking at the single day, but overall in terms of the weekend, already having some action Friday I think it’s positive, ”Binotto said.
“So overall I think we should judge him positively. Now how can we improve it? Obviously, there are ideas like the inverted grid.
“If it’s not that one I’m pretty sure there will be other discussions or ideas to come through the F1 commission with F1, FIA and all the other team managers. therefore totally open-minded.
“I think what we need is to honestly view this as an overall positive experience so far, which still needs to be [time] or can be improved. And let’s see what can be the best ideas compared to the one I suggested. “