Formula 1 managing director Ross Brawn has said Sprint Qualifying races won’t go beyond the 2021 season if they’re not successful.
The upcoming British Grand Prix will host the first Formula 1 sprint race of 2021, and it will decide the starting grid for Sunday’s Grand Prix. Formula 1’s management is confident that this new format will provide more entertainment for fans watching, but admitted that they won’t “force it through” if the concept fails.
“We will never force this through if it is clearly not a success,” Brown said. “There’s no incentive in doing it if the audience don’t engage, if we don’t see a strong engagement from the fans, and we don’t see the benefits.
“I think one of the great things about what’s happening is that it is three races, it’s not the season. In the past, F1 has always struggled with the fact that when it’s made an adustment, it’s made theoretically for the season.
“We all remember the elimination qualifying fiasco, a few years ago, which luckily sort of got corrected partway through the season. I thin that was one that everybody forecast was going to be a struggle, and it turned out to be.
“So this is three events where we’re going to trial this format. And if it’s not a success, if we don’t get the response we hope, then we’ll put our hands up and then we’ll stay where we are and we’ll look at other initiatives.”
If the format proves to be successful, Brawn said Formula 1 won’t “sell it out” to any venue, as they put the importance of racing at a higher level than the commercial interests.
“I think in any organization you have people at each end of the scale,” he said. “We have our commercial people beating the commercial drum, and we have our racing people beating the racing drum.
“So it will be up to Stefano and myself, and one or two others, to make a recommendation of who should be the primary candidates, and the teams will have a say in that as well. But it will be a blend.
“I hope we can get the commercial benefit from all venues that we go to, because then that will be a stronger argument fo the teams to do it.
“So I don’t think we will sell out on this, because it has to be a success. If we go to circuits where it doesn’t work and it doesn’t offer any overall benefit, then we know it will have a short life.
“I think we need to make sure we go to circuits where we can demonstrate the value of this and the excitement and success of it, and then we’ll go from there.”