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Martin Brundle believes the format of F1’s sprint weekends should be changed after it failed to add to the drama at the United States Grand Prix. Max Verstappen has publicly underlined his opposition to sprint weekends on a number of recent occasions, while others such as Lewis Hamilton have enjoyed them slightly more.
Under the current format, drivers have just one hour of practice on Friday before going straight into qualifying a few hours later. It has been suggested that the lack of practice may have prevented teams from gaining enough data at the United States Grand Prix after Hamilton and Charles Leclerc were disqualified from the race for running their cars too low.
Brundle has since insisted that F1’s decision-makers need to change things starting from next season, writing in his Sky Sports column: “There’s no doubt that the sprint format events put the teams under a lot of pressure and overall, we don’t get particularly positive feedback from them.
“With just one practice session before the specification and set-up is locked in by Parc Fermė rules, especially at a relatively unknown circuit like Lusail in Qatar, or a bumpy circuit such as COTA in Austin, this leaves them underprepared, which is far from ideal with such complex cars.”
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Brundle went on to suggest that a new format would improve the racing spectacle by allowing teams to fully prepare their cars, adding: “With two qualifying sessions and two races to come, some drivers were consigned to a difficult car for the rest of the weekend [after practice on Friday].
“This is not ideal or necessary, and while I don’t like us to keep messing with the format, we must make some changes for next season and beyond. It’s too much of a lottery which has far reaching consequences.”
Verstappen, who has won three of this season’s five sprints, has made no secret of his disdain for the unpopular format when speaking to the media in recent months. Hamilton, meanwhile, seems to have an opposing view after describing the shortened races as ‘fun’.
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“It’s a slightly different perspective when you’re chasing so for us it’s fun,” said the Brit after Saturday’s sprint at the Circuit of the Americas.
“For me, it’s fun. I like having the extra opportunity to get out there and try to squeeze everything, every little bit and more out of the package that we have. Can it be better? I’m sure we can learn.
“I think it’s been exciting for people so I personally quite like the sprint weekends, particularly a Friday I really like where you only have one practice session and then you’re straight into qualifying.”
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