McLaren sees little rewards in taking Sprint Qualifying risks

NORTHAMPTON, ENGLAND – JULY 17: Lando Norris of Great Britain driving the (4) McLaren F1 Team MCL35M Mercedes during practice ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Great Britain at Silverstone on July 17, 2021 in Northampton, England. (Photo by Bryn Lennon – Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images)

McLaren Racing CEO Zak Brown believes his drivers have no reason to take risks during today’s Formula 1 Sprint Qualifying race.

Lando Norris and Daniel Ricciardo will line up third and fourth respectively for today’s Sprint Race, which will define the starting grid of tomorrow’s main Grand Prix. Because of that, Brown believes there is not a big incentive to take many risks during the short race.

 “I think the risk versus reward is probably not worth it from a driver point of view,” he said.

“If we’re sixth and seventh on the grid, how much risk are you going to put into a pass to be fifth and sixth with the consequences of getting it wrong are being 19th and 20th on the grid? I think it means the cars in the second half of the field probably have more reason to go for it.”

Despite multiple controversies regarding the format, Brown is happy that the sport is experimenting.

“I think what’s worked well is it’s got people talking about the weekend and the format,” he said. “So ultimately that drives interest, whether those people are ‘pro’ what they’re seeing or not, it’s created a conversation.

“It gave people a reason to maybe tune in on Friday that maybe they would not have had. I think everyone’s going to watch the sprint race today so whether it’s an exciting one or not, or somewhere in between, I think it’ll have good viewership.

“We need to try things. I think we’ll all be a lot more educated on what we think, not only after we see this one, but we see two others.”

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