Ross Brawn hopes title marathon is not decided by a sprint
Formula One chief Ross Brawn says he does not want Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen’s championship battle to be settled by a “sprint” race.
The ground-breaking concept, roughly a third-distance of a grand prix, will be trialled at three rounds this season, starting at Silverstone on July 17.
The top-three drivers will be awarded points ( three for first, two for second and one for third) and the finishing result will determine the grid for Sunday’s main event. Qualifying will move to Friday afternoon.
Following Silverstone, Monza will host the second sprint race at September’s Italian Grand Prix.
Interlagos could stage the final sprint round of the season in November, but Brazil’s high Covid-19 infection rates might scupper the event. Austin’s Circuit of the Americas – the venue for October’s US Grand Prix – is also in the running.
“We want to avoid the title being decided on a Saturday,” said F1 motorsport boss Brawn.
“Going to the last race and a driver potentially taking the championship on Saturday by winning the sprint event could bring an added dimension, but it is one we are trying to avoid.
“We want to pick an event ideally a few races before the end of the season and a track where racing can take place in a short format with overtaking opportunities and tyre degradation, too, but we don’t want to do it at the last race.”
Brawn said he hoped the sprint calendar could double to six rounds in 2022, urging the sport’s traditionalists to get on board with the concept.
He added: “We will never force this through if it’s clearly not a success.
“But one of the great things about what’s happening is that it’s only at three races. If we don’t get the response we hope for, then we’ll put our hands up and stay the way we are.
“But I’d just ask the traditionalists to wait and see if they enjoy it – and hopefully they will.
“I don’t like to make analogies, but following the introduction of short-format cricket we’ve seen a much better engagement with Test cricket because the shorter format has drawn fans in.”