The Pros and Potential Cons of The Formula 1 Sprint Race

There comes a time in every sport when things to need change.

If it gets too stagnant, too dominant, too predictable, there needs to be something that keeps fans engaged.

An issue that Formula 1 has had over the years is that it has been most popular on Sunday for the official race day, compared to the other days leading up. Typically you would have two Free Practice sessions on Friday, a Free Practice session, and a qualifying session on the Saturday and Sunday race day.  However, not a lot of people watch the Free Practice sessions during the days leading up to the race.

Enter The F1 Sprint Race

What is happening this weekend in Silverstone in the UK compared to any other racing weekend?

Instead of your typical Sunday race day with all the viewership having all the excitement, followed by qualifying next in popularity, you now have three days that are exciting for the viewers.

Originating from the Formula 2 race weekend, the drivers have to qualify for the sprint race on Friday for a race that is 100km in length on Saturday instead. From there, whoever place in the F1 Sprint Race, the result makes up the grid for the actual race on Sunday (300km in length). This way, it gives a chance to see excitement throughout the weekend.

New Format Racing Schedule For F1 Sprint Race

  1. Free Practice 1 (Friday Morning) – the cars are set for the rest of the weekend here
  2. Sprint Qualifying (Friday Afternoon)
  3. Free Practice 2 (Saturday Morning)
  4. Sprint Race – 100km (Saturday Afternoon)
  5. Race Day – 300km (Sunday Afternoon)

The Pros

I thought it was an excellent showing for the first time in Formula 1 in Silverstone this weekend with the Sprint Race. It was exciting seeing who’s race pace allowed them to climb up the grid, some exciting bursts of adrenaline, and who is going to make a mistake that is going to cost them come race day on Sunday, like the runoff of Red Bull’s Sergio Perez midway through the race.

The Cons

Although the Sprint Qualifying comes at a risk. It provokes two questions.

Is the F1 Sprint Race a shape of things to come for the actual race day?

Or is the actual race on Sunday going to feel like something completely different?

The last thing that people would want is 400km of the same race, instead of just the Sunday.

I applaud the FIA (the governing body of F1) for trying something new and excited to shake up the sport. A lot of new fans are coming in from Netflix’s Drive To Survive and enjoying the fast-paced racing, however, this is a great way of keeping the longstanding F1 fans interested as well.

The Bottom Line

I personally enjoyed watching the F1 Sprint race today, it was exciting in the midfield, an exhilarating way to watch the pinnacle of racing, and a great way of keeping fans engaged all weekend long. I just love watching the races themselves, so the more racing the better in my opinion. I love watching teams learn the track through a competitive landscape instead of the Free Practices.

For more information about the F1 Sprint Race, be sure to visit Formula 1’s official website.