Wolff not convinced by Sprint Qualifying

2021 Italian Grand Prix, Saturday – LAT Images. Credits: Daimler.

Toto Wolff said that he is not convinced by the new format introduced in 2021 after the Monza Sprint Qualifying. 

Why it matters: Formula 1 is already thinking about possible changes to the format, and Wolff called it “confusing”, adding that it does not produce as much action as expected.


  • The first problem mentioned by Wolff was that during the Sprint Qualifying, the teams and the drivers do not think it is worth it to take too many risks since there are not enough points to be gained.
  • Wolff said that he is fine to try again for the third time this season to see how the format goes, but for him, “it’s not fish, not meat.”
  • Moreover, the Mercedes team principal said that considering how close the championship fight is this year, Formula 1 does not need changes to its weekend format.

I believe that the sprint race format, as it stands at the moment, doesn’t give a lot of benefits because nobody will take a serious risk. There are too few points at stake and the risk of compromising your Sunday Grand Prix with points all the way to the tenth position is just not worth the risk.

Toto Wolff

Go deeper: 

  • Wolff added that if the format cannot be improved or changed, Formula 1 might have to consider dropping it. 
  • Ross Brawn also mentioned the idea of the reverse grid, but Wolff is completely against that proposal. 
  • To conclude, the only changes Wolff would make would be shortening the free practice sessions and maybe add the war-up on Sunday morning.

What he had to say:

  • “This year there are just more cars that are competitive and a really good fight at the top.”
  • “It’s diluting the DNA of the sport of a meritocracy. I think sprint races are worth the try, I’m not sure we will keep them. But the reverse grid can be done in junior formulas where you want to see the overtaking abilities of drivers and it’s not something we should even come close to in Formula 1.”
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