While Formula 1 is ready for the stop in Mexico City for the nineteenth round of the world championship, the Circus is wondering about the future of the Sprint race. Created in 2021 to increase the spectacle, particularly in the programme for Saturday, up to now the mini-GP of 100km has failed to meet expectations.
As often happens on these occasions, they seek alternative solutions aimed at improving the show. Among the ideas there would be the use of an inverted starting grid, the creation of a championship apart with points and a dedicated prize pool as an “incentive” for the drivers. We wanted to ask Gian Carlo Minardi what he thinks about it.
“The sprint-race was created with the intention of increasing the show. Today this expectation has been strongly unsatisfying. At this moment the format does not help. It is only a lesser copy of the Grand Prix, without adding anything more as we saw in the last two rounds in Qatar and Austin,” commented Minardi.
The sixth and last sprint-race of 2023 will take place at the Brazilian Grand Prix. “There also needs to be a constant weekend programme, without having to go crazy remembering the format for the single grand prix.
“Furthermore, the sprint creates another problem. Only one hour of free practice for setting up the cars is too little, especially when thousands of a second make the difference from one qualifying session to another.
“When a driver lowers his visor the only goal is the win. I do not believe that there is any driver who saves himself with a view to the Sunday race. For this reason, I do not see the need to having to add a separate prize pool, or dedicating a ranking to it,” continued the manager from Faenza.
“Perhaps they can increase the points up for grabs, but at the moment I do not have the recipe. We are faced with an incredible domination on the part of Red Bull which will be hard for the rivals to end. Let us not forget that the history of Formula 1 is full of winning cycles. It is part of this sport. And you certainly will not stop it by creating a separate championship or putting mind blowing figures up for grabs.
“Now we get to the Mexican Grand Prix, I do not think there are any doubts on the leadership, but all the interest will be directed behind Max Verstappen and Red Bull.
“In front of his public, Sergio Perez must find the proper peace of mind. I was left very annoyed with the booing aimed at Verstappen by the American public. I hoped that fanaticism was part of other sports. I hope that they will be more gentlemanly in Mexico.
“In Austin, McLaren completed its comeback at Aston Martin’s expense, while Ferrari took its gap from Mercedes to 22 points (aided by Lewis Hamilton’s disqualification).
“The challenge will be between these four teams, each one with its own objective to achieve. We will wait and see who will be the most skilled. It will also be interesting to follow Alpha Tauri which comes from a very favourable GP in Austin,” concluded Gian Carlo Minardi.