Formula one is currently talking and evaluating the pros and cons of implementing a point system in sprint races.
Sprint races are one of the only big regulation changes that could be implemented this season. If the FIA and the teams decide to implement sprint races on the calendar, these short races would take place on Saturdays at the Canadian Grand Prix weekend as well as the Italian and the Brazilian ones. These events would define the starting grid of Sunday’s race, giving a better chance for smaller teams to start at a higher grid position on Sunday.
The main problem with implementing a point system in sprint races is that it could taint the value of Sunday’s races, which has to remain the most important day of the week for an F1 team.
On the other hand, the main benefit of sprint races remains in the fact that we should see a lot of action on the track during these events. However, if there’s no points reward for the drivers, the fastest cars like the Red Bulls or the Mercedes might not race as hard as the smaller teams because they wouldn’t find the point in racing and risking damaging the car when they are already at a decent grid position.
A special committee has been gathered to set up the rules of the sprint races. If these rules are convincing enough for all the teams, we will see sprint races on this year’s calendar. Otherwise, F1 will stick to its classic race weekend format.
“The Grand Prix as a race is really, really important. So it’s getting that balance right, making the sprint race exciting, giving the drivers something to fight for. You want people fighting all the way down. You don’t want people giving up because there are no points available. But on the other hand, that’s not the premier race. The premier race is on Sunday, we’ve got to maintain that spirit. So I don’t know the answer, unfortunately.” Says Simon Roberts, Williams’ team principal for the 2021 season.
Roberts is also questioning the implementation of sprint races into the race weekend and whether the tyres qualifying rule is going to be modified or not, etc… He says in an interview given to RaceFans.net:
“There’s a lot of detail being discussed in the background. The idea’s cool, the concept’s easy, but then in the detail, how do you actually [run] the weekend – how do you do tyres, what can you do, what can’t you do – that’s still in negotiation.”