Wolff believes Sprint Qualifying should be held at “Grand Slam” events

Toto Wolff of Austria Formula 1 BWT Grand Prix of Styria at the Red Bull Ring in Spielberg on June 27, 2021. // Red Bull Content Pool

Mercedes’ team principal Toto Wolff believes that Sprint Qualifying should be reserved only for special “Grand Slam” events, despite admitting that he has liked the new format implemented for the British Grand Prix.

The new format saw a 100 km sprint race which determined the starting positions for race day on Sunday, with Max Verstappen claiming pole position ahead of the Mercedes duo of Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas, which Wolff felt would not spoil the race.

“I think we can tweak on the format a little bit. But fundamentally, I think if we do five races like this, I’m pro. Maybe four is the right amount, not five,” Wolff said. “I’m not a fan of live experimenting. But this one is not hugely controversial. I am totally against reverse grids. It’s just fake.”

Wolff, however, was not fully supporting the current format, calling the FP2 on Saturday unnecessary and qualifying boring.

“I believe that qualifying was yesterday [Friday] and also qualifying should be called qualifying, and not the sprint race,” Wolff added. “I think if it is a kind of Grand Slam for a couple or a few races, I think that is good because you provide some real entertainment on Saturday.

“I agree that the Saturday morning FP2 is a bit random.”

Wolff agreed with Sprint Qualifying being an add-on but reserved his criticism for who gets awarded pole position, stating that the winner of qualifying is the polesitter. He also feels this should not be a regular occurrence.

“A start is always interesting and good content. And obviously, [Fernando] Alonso was fun to watch. So I think overall, it is a good add-on,” Wolff explained. “If you see Checo [Perez[ spinning out and then retiring, last is not the place that Sergio Perez should be, and therefore for him, obviously, it could really work against you if you’re one of the frontrunners.

“So there’s too much randomness, but I think if the next few ones go like this one, I think it has a place in the calendar in a limited form,” he concluded.

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