Formula 1 is currently discussing with the teams potential changes to the Sprint format for next year that could include switching the places of the two qualifying sessions.

The Sprint configuration was introduced in 2021 but has been tweaked every year since as the sport bids to improve the racing spectacle on those select weekends.

But amid ongoing criticism that the format was discouraging drivers from taking risks, F1 established a secondary qualifying session, titled Sprint Shootout, to determine the grid for the Sprint race, ensuring that it would not impact Sunday’s grand prix.

However, the Sprint has continued to divide opinion among the drivers, which was heightened during the United States Grand Prix weekend when two cars were disqualified for a technical infringement related to excessive plank wear on their cars.

Ferrari and Mercedes, the two guilty parties, confirmed that only being allotted one practice hour by the Sprint schedule contributed to their post-race exclusions.

Through discussions with the teams, F1 intends to take action by potentially moving Sprint qualifying to Friday, returning the traditional qualifying to Saturday afternoon.

This would effectively provide an opportunity to relax the restrictions on parc ferme once the Sprint race is completed on Saturday morning, allowing drivers and teams more flexibility to make alterations to their car set-up ahead of the later grand prix qualifying.

“We’ve been talking with Stefano [Domenicali, F1 CEO],” Mercedes Team Principal Toto Wolff told Sky Sports F1 on Friday in Sao Paulo. “Obviously, it’s his decision, but then you can correlate it easier.

“You do the Sprint Shootout [on Friday] and then the second qualifying for the race, which would be Saturday, two o’clock is the time we know. And it would create maybe less confusion.”

Tom McCullough (GBR) Aston Martin F1 Team Performance Director in the FIA Press Conference. 03.11.2023. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 21, Brazilian Grand Prix, Sao Paulo, Brazil, Qualifying Day.

Aston Martin Performance Director Tom McCullough confirmed that talks were being held, adding his view that the revised format should be less complicated for fans.

“We obviously had the Sporting Advisory committee meeting this week and there have been discussions about how to improve how we go about the sprint event,” he concurred.

“The Sprint event was brought in for a reason, the fans. From a technical point of view, it’s a headache, the car goes into parc ferme after one practice session and it is difficult. But from a commercial side and from a fan side, I think there are elements that are exciting.

“It’s been tweaked already and I think it needs tweaking a bit more because now even my dad, who’s quite an understander and follower of Formula 1 sometimes says to me: ‘So just remind me, is it qualifying on Friday for the main race?’

“And I just think if somebody at that level is having questions, the fans are going to get confused. So, our job is to put a simpler, better, more understandable format and still have the excitement of two races.”

Meanwhile, Ferrari Sporting Director Diego Ioverno disclosed that other potential options were also being considered regarding the future of the Sprint layout.

But if the outlined proposal is approved, Ioverno warns that F1 must grant the teams enough time between the Sprint race and qualifying to respond to any issues.

“If you move the Sprint race on Saturday morning, then you have to make sure that you allow enough gap for teams to react for qualifying in case of problems,” he said.

“There are also other options on the table. There is still not a definite proposal but our target will be once that FIA and F1 decide the format, teams will have to work together to make it good for the spectators and good for us, because it’s quite tricky.”

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