Nobody will take a risk with "confusing" sprint race format – Wolff

Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff believes Formula 1's underwhelming sprint race format leaves "everyone confused" as drivers are discouraged from taking risks in Saturday's sprint to not compromise their actual grand prix.

Nobody will take a risk with "confusing" sprint race format – Wolff

F1 decided to trial sprint races at three grands prix in 2021, with the 100km sprints on Saturday setting the grid for Sunday's full-length race.

The two sprint races F1 has held so far, in Silverstone and Monza, produced mixed results at best. The running order was largely established after the first lap, as a lack of pitstops and overtaking meant drivers were generally resigned to following the train.

With just minor points at stake for the top 3, and the result setting the grid for Sunday's race, Mercedes chief Wolff believes drivers are discouraged from taking any risks in the sprints, because the risk-reward balance isn't quite right.

"First of all, everybody's confused," Wolff said. "I don't know how it is with you, I don't even know what session is when.

"I believe the sprint race format as it stands at the moment, doesn't give a lot of benefit because nobody will take a serious risk.

"There's too little points at stake and the risk of compromising your Sunday grand prix, with points all the way back to 10th position, is just not worth the risk.

"So, what we've seen is a combination of general difficulties in overtaking because the straight-line speeds are very similar, but also because, even Turn 1 and 2, nobody takes a risk."

Read Also:

Wolff said F1 was right to trial the format and hopes it produces better results at Interlagos, when the third and last sprint event of 2021 is scheduled. But the Austrian doesn't believe the sprint format, as it exists today, should be kept next year.

"I think let's give it another try in Brazil, let's see if anything changes, but that was a worthwhile experiment and for me, and this is just a personal opinion or the opinion of my engineers here, it's not fish, not meat," he explained.

"I think sprint races were worth a try - I'm not sure if we will keep them."

Toto Wolff, Team Principal and CEO, Mercedes AMG, with Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes

Toto Wolff, Team Principal and CEO, Mercedes AMG, with Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes

Photo by: Steve Etherington / Motorsport Images

shares
comments

Related video

Win tickets to McLaren’s HQ
Previous article

Win tickets to McLaren’s HQ

Next article

Aston Martin confirms Vettel and Stroll for F1 2022

Aston Martin confirms Vettel and Stroll for F1 2022
Load comments
Why F1's new era is still dogged by its old world problems Prime

Why F1's new era is still dogged by its old world problems

OPINION: The 2022 Formula 1 season is just weeks away from getting underway, but instead of focusing on what is to come, the attention still remains on what has been – not least the Abu Dhabi title decider controversy. That, plus other key talking points, must be resolved to allow the series to warmly welcome in its new era

Formula 1
Jan 20, 2022
The Schumacher trait that will give Haas hope in F1 2022 Prime

The Schumacher trait that will give Haas hope in F1 2022

Mick Schumacher’s knack of improving during his second season in a championship was a trademark of his junior formula career, so his progress during his rookie Formula 1 campaign with Haas was encouraging. His target now will be to turn that improvement into results as the team hopes to reap the rewards of sacrificing development in 2021

Formula 1
Jan 19, 2022
The “glorified taxi” driver central to F1’s continued safety push Prime

The “glorified taxi” driver central to F1’s continued safety push

As the driver of Formula 1’s medical car, Alan van der Merwe’s job is to wait – and hope his skills aren’t needed. James Newbold hears from F1’s lesser-known stalwart.

Formula 1
Jan 15, 2022
When BMW added F1 'rocket fuel' to ignite Brabham's 1983 title push Prime

When BMW added F1 'rocket fuel' to ignite Brabham's 1983 title push

There was an ace up the sleeve during the 1983 F1 title-winning season of Nelson Piquet and Brabham. It made a frontrunning car invincible for the last three races to see off Renault's Alain Prost and secure the combination's second world title in three years

Formula 1
Jan 13, 2022
How “abysmal” reliability blunted Brabham’s first winner Prime

How “abysmal” reliability blunted Brabham’s first winner

Brabham’s first world championship race-winning car was held back by unreliable Climax engines – or so its creators believed, as STUART CODLING explains

Formula 1
Jan 10, 2022
The steps Norris took to reach a new level in the 2021 F1 season Prime

The steps Norris took to reach a new level in the 2021 F1 season

Lando Norris came of age as a grand prix driver in 2021. McLaren’s young ace is no longer an apprentice or a quietly capable number two – he’s proved himself a potential winner in the top flight and, as Stuart Codling finds out, he’s ready to stake his claim to greatness…

Formula 1
Jan 9, 2022
How Fangio set the bar for Schumacher and Hamilton in F1 Prime

How Fangio set the bar for Schumacher and Hamilton in F1

Juan Manuel Fangio, peerless on track and charming off it, established the gold standard of grand prix greatness. Nigel Roebuck recalls a remarkable champion.

Formula 1
Jan 8, 2022
How Russell sees his place in the Mercedes-Hamilton F1 superteam Prime

How Russell sees his place in the Mercedes-Hamilton F1 superteam

George Russell joining Lewis Hamilton at Mercedes this year gives it arguably the best line-up in Formula 1 – if it can avoid too many fireworks. After serving his apprenticeship at Williams, Russell is the man that Mercedes team believes can lead it in the post-Hamilton era, but how will he fare against the seven-time champion? Motorsport.com heard from the man himself

Formula 1
Jan 6, 2022