F1 chief Ross Brawn says the sport is considering elevating Saturday’s sprint qualifying event in 2022 to the status of a “standalone” race that would no longer decide the grid order for Sunday’s Grand Prix.
Monza will serve as the backdrop this weekend of F1’s second sprint qualifying trial which was well received after its maiden roll out at Silverstone earlier this summer.
The 30-minute dash sets grid positions for Sunday’s main event, and only distributes points to the top three on the basis of a 3-2-1 reward.
But after reviewing the feedback from last July’s trial at the British Grand Prix, it has been suggested that the Saturday race could exist on its own within a race weekend, and enjoy its own championship point schedule.
The change would obviously benefit drivers that encounter an issue in sprint qualifying and start their race on Sunday on the backfoot.
“I think that will be probably the key issue, whether we make another step and make it standalone,” Brawn told Motorsport.com.
“I think that we’ll have to look at the number of points awarded, and how do we determine the starting grid. So should it just be what was done on Friday?
“As you know, [Sergio] Perez dropped out at Silverstone [in the sprint] and then obviously his Sunday race was heavily compromised.
“So should we determine the starting order on Friday for both Saturday and Sunday?”
“There’s a number of things we can do, and number of ways we could do it. So I think that’s being studied at the moment.
“There are some ideas, and we’ll present them to the FIA and the teams and go from there.”
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Interestingly, Brawn revealed that the standalone idea was also conveyed, amid other suggestions, by several F1 drivers after the concept’s maiden trial at Silverstone.
“We had a chat with the drivers after Silverstone, and they were broadly positive with lots of constructive comments,” said Brawn.
“I think, as a number of people have raised, they raised the issue of pole position. They raised the issue of perhaps the event being more standalone, rather than being a sequential event with qualifying and then the race.”
Brawn says that F1 will sit down after the third sprint qualifying in Brazil and take stock of everything it has learned before deciding the direction it will follow.
However the F1 boss said that the sport, should it decide to press on with a Saturday race, will uniform its format over the whole season.
“I don’t think it will be a mixture,” said Brawn. “I think if we start varying things too much it can be a little bit confusing for our fans. So I imagine it’s going to be one format.”
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