Sprint Qualifying may not live up to expectations – Webber

Mark Webber is seen during the Red Bull Go With Your Pro in Spielberg, Austria on July 16, 2019. // Lucas Pripfl / Red Bull Content Pool // SI202002130677 // Usage for editorial use only //

The former Formula 1 driver, Mark Webber, believes that the new Sprint Qualifying format might not live up to expectations, but he is happy that F1 is trying something different.

The new format is debuting this weekend in Silverstone, with just one free practice session on Friday, followed by qualifying, which will set the grid up for the sprint qualifying on Saturday. Then, the short race on Saturday will determine the grid for the main Grand Prix on Sunday.

Webber believes that change is always good, but he fears that the drivers will be very conservative during the Sprint Qualifying race, meaning that there might not be a great show on Saturday.

“People like change, but I think the drivers are going to be very conservative in the sprint race,” Webber told Wide World of Sports.

“There’s only three points for the winner of the sprint race, and nothing if you finish fourth or lower, and there’s just so much at stake on Sunday that drivers won’t take the risk on Saturday.

“They’ll be mindful of any drama because it’s only 100 kilometers, so there’s a little bit of time to recover from a mistake, but not a lot. Teams and drivers will be aware of that in their preparation.”

Despite thinking that this new format will not create much spectacle, he knows that Formula 1 is trying different things to mix things up after many years of Mercedes dominance.

“They’re trying stuff, I’m always up for new things and this is the first attempt,” Webber added. “But the Sunday race is like a Test match for us, in terms of concentration and focus, I’d liken sprint qualifying to the Big Bash.

“F1 is trying to do something different to generate some interest, just like T20 cricket, we’ll see how it goes.

“I don’t know if F1 needs to do it right now, but the idea came off the back of so many years of Mercedes dominance. In 2019 or 2020 people were looking to make it more competitive. But Max and Lewis have done that anyway this year.”

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