Mercedes Formula 1 team chief Toto Wolff says the sport needs to trial Sprint Races, but must avoid creating a “fake show” for the sake of entertainment.
F1 bosses met in February to discuss trialling Sprint Races at three grands prix in 2021 and whilst the idea received support, it has yet to officially be agreed upon and in exactly what format it will operate.
Wolff was one of those to oppose reversed grid races – which were proposed for 2020 by F1’s managing director of motorsport Ross Brawn – because he believed it would create fake results.
“Reverse grids have no place in any sport that is based on measuring and competing in the true sense of sport,” said Wolff.
“We are entertainment but the moment it slides to show and Hollywood you will lose a lot of credibility as a sport overall. So not every decision that aims to increase the entertainment factor is right for Formula 1.
However the Austrian backs the push to trial Sprint Races on Saturday, as it doesn’t go against the overall DNA of the sport.
“It always needs to be balanced between the DNA of true sports – best man and best machine wins – and what the fans like to see,” he added. “The sprint races are an interesting format in my opinion and an experiment that I believe we need to do.
“I have seen in other racing series in DTM that the audiences almost doubled with having a Saturday and Sunday race and that can be monetised.”
Wolff has some reservations about the proposal though, but admits without at least giving it a go, it’s hard to draw conclusions.
“If we were to do this without some interference to create a fake show then there is the merit to try it.
“I’m not sure that we like the outcome because qualifying how we have it today is a real qualifying and a sprint race always has the risk of damage that can be costly and has a huge impact on Sunday’s grid and ability to perform on Sunday.
“For sure, it’s going to create controversy too, but giving it a trial for three races in 2021, in the right framework, we would be up for it.”