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F1: The new races to the ‘sprint’ of F1: a groundbreaking project, but planted with doubts

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F1: The new races to the 'sprint' of F1: a groundbreaking project, but planted with doubts

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Negotiations with Stefano Domenicali, CEO of F1, were so intense that they were only put on paper, in the form of final regulations, hours before the British GP. Finally, all the actors involved, from the International Federation (FIA) to the teams, agreed on a change in format, the most relevant since the 1959 German GP, ​​with which they seek renewed emotions and greater challenges. There are not many more certainties, however, about how this new qualifying race will work at the sprint. Here are some answers to help you understand what will happen this weekend at Silverstone.

What will the program be?

Today, at 3:30 p.m., the first free practice session begins, lasting one hour. At 19:00, qualifying will arrive, also lasting 60 minutes, with the usual Q1, Q2 and Q3, which will set up the grid for tomorrow’s race.

A Saturday that will begin at 1:00 p.m., with the second and last free practice session. At 17:30, the short race, of 100 km (17 laps), with which the starting order for Sunday is decided. On the most important day (16:00), the traditional race, of 300 km (52 ​​laps).

What is the Saturday race for?

In the first place, to order the starting grid on Sunday, although it also grants points for the 2021 World Cup. For now, the winner will receive three points, the second classified, two and the third, one. As long as the leader has completed at least 75% of the 100 km. If this is not the case, half the points will be awarded.

The idea is to expand, in the medium term, the range of scores, to avoid excessive conservatism of the pilots and the processions on the asphalt. These more ambitious plans, however, could call into question and detract from Sunday’s race, which remains the main focus of interest.

What will happen right after?

The winner of the race will get the only pole position weekend, although no podium ceremony will be organized. The first three will parade through the closed park, where they will receive a laurel wreath and no more trophy. Liberty Media, the owner company, has decided to bring back this traditional treat that had been used for the last time during the 1985 Italian GP.

Will there be technical changes?

Fundamentally, two. The first is that, unlike what has happened so far, drivers will be able to choose, both on Saturday and Sunday, their starting tires. The 100 km will be a challenge for the soft compound, ideal for the start, although perhaps insufficient to reach the goal. So medium tires seem like the ideal option if you don’t want to go through the pits. And that is precisely the other big change with respect to the current regulations, since there is no obligation of any pit-stop.

Other factors that enhance the show, such as the DRS, remain unchanged, despite the fact that some voices insisted on expanding its use to further facilitate overtaking.

How to affect garages?

As soon as Q1 starts, the cars will enter a regime of closed park And the engineers won’t be able to make any changes to the suspensions or aerodynamic settings, except for some tweaks to the front wing. This factor will increase the pressure during that first free session, where everything related to the brakes, the fuel load or the engine must be adjusted to the millimeter.

Any miscalculation now threatens to hopelessly twist the rest of the weekend, as the mechanics run out of those seven and a half hours available to them on Friday nights.

What do the protagonists think?

With some exceptions, such as Sebastian vettel or Sergio Prez, the pilots have been in favor of the change. However, just a month ago, Jean Todt stressed that this measure “is not what F1 needs.” “I can’t call it a race, because that’s what happens on Sunday,” said the FIA ​​president.

Other voices, such as that of Lewis hamilton, are very skeptical about the enhancement of the show. “Hopefully there will be overtaking, although I don’t think it will be too exciting,” commented the seven-time champion, aware, perhaps more than anyone, of the risk / reward ratio. And it is that the distance traveled on Saturday is one third of a Grand Prix, but the reward for the triumph represents only one twelfth of what is obtained on Sunday.

What does the past teach us?

Since 2017, when Liberty Media took over the business, F1 has sought to renew its image, in search of the young public. Under this prism the series must be framed Drive to survive, with the production of Netflix, and the attempts – unsuccessful – of inverted grills, which tried to equalize the forces on the asphalt. In any case, if the past teaches us anything, it is that F1 has stayed halfway this time.

The Great Circus has maintained the same format, with hardly any alterations, since 1950, so this renovation should have implied more rigor and depth. Because it is not just about modeling the exciting last two laps of the last Azerbaijan GP. The bet should have a greater depth, if it does not want to become, for example, that failure of 2014, where they wanted to add drama by giving a double score to the last round of the World Cup.

How many more will there be in the future?

For now, F1 has confirmed two more short races for the 2021 World Cup, although only one has a venue (Monza, September 11), while the other still does not have a definitive gap in the calendar. Nor are there too many certainties of what will happen next season. According to Ross brawn, CEO of F1, the goal will be to organize half a dozen throughout 2022.

Before making a final decision, all parties need to balance their accounts, be it with ticket sales, television audiences, impact on social networks or the arrival of new sponsors. In this last sense, the landing of crypto.com stands out, which will pay 85 million euros to sign these three events.