SPRINT races could replace traditional qualifying in some Grands Prix this season as F1 chiefs consider radical new proposals to spice up the sport.
The idea was mentioned last week by new F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali with the Saturday short races to determine Sunday’s grid.
Lewis Hamilton in qualifying at the Bahrain GPCredit: EPA
It means that on some occasions this year, qualifying will be ditched in favour of the sprint races as opposed to reverse grid races.
The top eight finishers from the new qualifying format would pick up around half the points earned from a traditional race.
The plans will be outlined at a meeting on Thursday with the Canadian, Italian and Brazilian Grands Prix expected to be earmarked for the new format to spice up the action.
Domenicali said last week: “It’s important to think of new ideas to be more attractive or interesting, but no need to lose the traditional approach to racing.
“What we learned when we were changing the qualifying every two days was something that burnt our fingers.
“We need to avoid that, and therefore now I think that the format is quite stable. What we’re looking at is what could be the approach to a so-called Saturday sprint race.
“We’re thinking of testing this already this year. There are ongoing discussions with teams in the right forum.”
Elsewhere, Lewis Hamilton’s one-year Mercedes deal has been labelled as “unusual” by former F1 driver Martin Brundle.
The world champion stalled on signing new terms with the Silver Arrows only to agree a short-term 10-month deal when the expectation was it would be for at least two seasons.
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And Sky Sports F1 commentator Brundle believes is smacks of the duo failing to agree on a long-term solution that has left them with Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas both out of contract at the end of this season.
He said: “I think it is very unusual, the situation alone. It has taken a long time, and for a team and a driver of such stature a one-year deal is unusual.
“It seemed like they couldn’t work it out, but had to force it because the new season is coming up.
“I think they thought the winter tests are coming, we have to do something.
“A one-year deal leaves Lewis, Valtteri and George Russell, the young driver who led of course when Hamilton was sidelined with Covid-19 back in Bahrain, all out of contract at the end of this year.
“Clearly at least one of the parties wanted to keep their options open, I suspect that was Mercedes, so they put it to bed for this year and are saying they will sort 2022 out somewhat earlier.”