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Less track time benefits Sprint Qualifying, according to Masi

The circuit of Silverstone. Credits: Alfa Romeo Racing ORLEN.

Since the teams will have less time to adapt to the track and find the right setup for the Sprint Qualifying, Michael Masi believes that the new format will be extremely entertaining. 

The first weekend that will see this new format in use will be Silverstone, which will host the first Sprint Qualifying in July. 

With this new format, the normal qualifying session will be anticipated to Friday, and the order decided by Q1, Q2, and Q3 will set the grid for the Sprint qualifying on Saturday, which will decide the grid for the race on Sunday. 

That means that on Friday, the teams will only have one hour of free practice before qualifying, and if there will be some problems with the car, it will be hard to be ready during the qualifying session. A reduction in time to prepare for the qualifying and the race is one of the most important aspects of the new format introduced, believes Masi. 

“The new format will be something a little bit different because there will be less track time for the teams leading up to qualifying,” he said. “So that’s one element that will have an area of teams possibly not being as well prepared or refined as they would be normal qualifying.

“And then having that excitement of a Sprint Qualifying race start on Saturday, which is something we haven’t seen in Formula 1. And then the progression from there into the Grand Prix on Sunday, I think we’ll add just a different element strategically from the teams’ end in particular.

“F1, the FIA, the teams, and drivers all work together very much for the benefit of Formula 1,” he said. “That happens at every event.

“A prime example of that has been the collaboration in developing the sprint qualifying regulations,” Masi added. “It’s an exciting initiative for the sport to trial a different and new format and something that we’ve all worked together on to achieve the best outcome.

“I’m looking forward to the first event where Sprint Qualifying takes place just to see a completely different format in an F1 world and how everyone adapts to that.”

Even though the plan has already been confirmed, Lewis Hamilton said that he does not know much about this new format.

“Honestly, I don’t know much about it,” he said. “I don’t know anything about it.”

“I’ve always said that we need to have some sort of different format at certain races through the year,” he said. “There are some tracks, particularly places like Monaco for example, which is beautiful to be at, but it’s not an exciting race necessarily.

“So I like that they’re being open-minded, they’re making changes, and I think from those experimental kinds of weekends, I think hopefully the sport will learn lots on how we can deploy better races moving forwards.”

The Silverstone managing director, Stuart Pringle, liked this new idea proposed by Formula One, which will also be introduced in Monza and at another Grand Prix towards the end of the season. 

“We are incredibly excited that Silverstone fans will be the first to experience the Formula 1 sprint qualifying format at this year’s British Grand Prix,” said Pringle.

“We have not seen such a major timetable shake-up in the sport for years, and I appreciate the continued efforts being made by Formula 1 and the FIA to enhance the entertainment on track giving our spectators, even more, to look forward to this July.”

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