F1 has decided to try sprint races at three grand prix in 2021, with Saturday’s 100km sprints establishing the full race grid on Sunday.
The two sprint races that F1 has hosted so far, at Silverstone and Monza, have produced mixed results at best. The running order was largely established after the first lap, as the lack of pit stops and overtaking meant drivers were generally resigned to following the train.
Red Bull’s Sergio Perez was among the drivers to criticize the format, describing it as “very boring”.
With only minor points on the line for the top three and the grid-setting result for Sunday’s race, Mercedes boss Wolff believes the drivers are discouraged from taking risks in the sprints as the balance risks- reward is not quite correct.
“First of all, everyone is confused,” Wolff said. “I don’t know what it’s like with you, I don’t even know which session is when.
“I think the sprint racing format as it is now is not giving a lot of benefit because no one is going to take a serious risk.
“There are too few points at stake and the risk of jeopardizing your Sunday Grand Prix, with points going all the way up to 10th place, is just not worth the risk.
“So what we saw is a combination of general passing difficulties because the straight-line speeds are very similar, but also because even in turns 1 and 2 nobody is taking a risk.”
Toto Wolff, Team Principal and CEO, Mercedes AMG, with Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes
Photo By: Steve Etherington / Motorsport Images
Wolff said F1 was right to try the format and hope it produces better results at Interlagos, when the third and final sprint of 2021 is due. But the Austrian doesn’t think the sprint format, as it exists today, should be kept next year.
“I think we have to try another time in Brazil, let’s see if anything changes, but it was an interesting experience and for me, and it’s just a personal opinion or the opinion of my engineers here, this n it’s not fish, not meat, ”he explained.
“I think the sprint races were worth a try – I don’t know if we’ll keep them.”