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Formula 1 Is Ruining Its Best New Idea

Formula 1 will do more sprint races next year but reportedly without the most important feature.

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Formula 1 has had two sprint races so far this season, ahead of the British and Italian grands prix, with another scheduled for the Brazilian Grand Prix in a couple weeks. In those grands prix, the sprint race results determine the starting grid for the main race — instead of qualifying — but next year, apparently, that will not be the case.

That the sprint races have import on the following grand prix is, to my mind, what has made them such a huge success this year, because the only other thing at stake is a handful of championship points for the podium places. Without the starting grid also being on the line, the sprint races, to me, wouldn’t be much more than a stunt.


Well, apparently lots of other people feel differently, because Formula 1 said Monday that people want qualifying to determine a grand prix’s starting grid, not a sprint race, so they will probably go back to that next season while doubling the number of sprint races from three to six.

From The Guardian:

While discussion with the teams and the FIA is ongoing, [Formula 1 sporting director Ross Brawn] Brawn is confident that one of the biggest criticisms of the format will be addressed, that of setting the fastest lap in qualifying being rewarded with pole position.

“It’s been a consistent comment amongst fans and drivers that the person who does the fastest single lap with low fuel in qualifying is the pole position holder,” he said. “I guess we hadn’t really considered that when we set out this new format. I would like to see a reversion to that being pole position. There is broad opinion that Friday should be pole position for the sprint weekends, so I would hope we can get that through for next year. I am optimistic on that.”


Here is my idea for a compromise: How about having pole position be decided by qualifying but pole position only? The rest of grid can duke it out in the sprint race. What else is the point?

Anyway, the Guardian also says that it’s not been decided which grands prix will get sprint races next year and which won’t, though there definitely won’t be sprint races at either the first or last grand prix of the 2022 season. Making the sprint race a reverse grid, meanwhile, is very, very fun idea that the Guardian says F1 won’t be doing next year, either, reasons unclear.

I predict that F1 will do six sprint races next year and they will be boring and then everyone will say they are boring and then F1 will go back to not doing them in 2023, with 2022 being the evidence that sprint races simply don’t work.