Formula 1’s chief technical officer Pat Symonds has defended the sprint weekend format, stating that it creates “races that people like“.
In 2021, F1 introduced a new weekend format at three events, stripping away practice time and hosting a shorter race on Saturday.
The result of the sprint races sets the grid for Sunday’s grand prix.
Teams have an hour less to practice throughout the weekend and they are thrown into qualifying on Friday evening after just one practice session.
Symonds says that the format, which was seen three times once again throughout the 2022 campaign, creates more unpredictability in the sport.
“There are those who like it and there are those who dislike it,” Symonds said, as quoted by GPFans. “But to me, what we do is we have a competition.
“What I like about a competition is when it’s not predictable. Oxford were playing Arsenal in the FA Cup the other week and they were holding them 0-0 to half time and that sort of thing is great.
“With a normal grand prix weekend, Friday does not provide any competition and therefore, what’s the attraction of it? We’re here to compete.
“In addition, the teams are so good with their simulation these days, having all the time on Friday, they’re got two hours of running to fine-tune the car, make sure that everything’s good, and what that leads to is predictability.”
F1 Sprint will return in 2023, but this time at six locations.
The format has been criticised by some fans amid concerns that it takes away from the main grand prix – however Symonds doesn’t believe that it is the case.
“What the sprint does is it allows us to have a competition on every day – because on Friday we’ve got qualifying, on Saturday we’ve got a sprint race and on Sunday, we’ve got a grand prix,” he added.
“In my view, it does it without the sideshow taking away from the main event and I think that’s important because a grand prix is what it’s all about.
“And by reducing the amount of time the teams have got to hone their cars, by putting in another error-generator in the sprint race, we have the chance to have a little bit of a more mixed up race.
“Those are the races that the people like.”