Pirelli’s Chief Engineer Simone Berra believes “that it should be better to decide properly where the layout of the circuit can help” improve the spectacle of the Sprint format.

In 2023, the F1 calendar has gone from having three Sprints to six. Changes to the schedule have seen a solitary practice session on Fridays, followed by qualifying for the Grand Prix – with Saturday featuring the Sprint Shootout, a qualifying session that sets the grid for the Sprint.

Despite these experiments with the format that debuted in 2021, there has still been plenty of criticism of the format that often fails to deliver the spectacle expected.

However, Berra believes the solution to increasing the entertainment seen on Sprint weekends lies in selecting the right circuits on the current F1 calendar.

“I don’t think we should change anything in terms of distance for the sprint,” he told Motorsport.com.

“The layout of the circuit can help a lot because we can make decisions to help the sprint be even more spectacular.

“We have had good sprint races,” he continued. “In Qatar, you had a high level of degradation, and this affected the compound choice. We didn’t have really a strong compound. We had the C2 and C3, but both suffered from graining. 

“I think the layout of the circuit is really important, to select the proper circuits to have a good spectacle.” 

Charles Leclerc (MON) Ferrari SF-23.
07.10.2023. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 18, Qatar Grand Prix, Doha, Qatar, Sprint Day.
– www.xpbimages.com, EMail: requests@xpbimages.com © Copyright: Batchelor / XPB Images

Berra claims that to have the tyres in a place to reproduce the Qatar scenario won’t be possible for every Sprint, necessitating a balance between tyres and circuit choice.

“If you have high degradation they [the drivers] have to manage, but if you have low degradation they can push but you don’t have any difference in pace because the degradation is low for everybody,” he added.

“So it’s always a combination where you select the track, you select the compounds and some teams are able to extract better performance than others.”

Berra is the latest voice to make their opinion on the Sprint format.

Max Verstappen has been heavily critical of the format throughout 2023, claiming he takes “no satisfaction” from winning Sprints and that “if you have a good race on your hands with cars being close to each other, then you don’t need a Sprint format or weekend.”

Verstappen isn’t alone in his criticism, with Sprints splitting opinion amongst the F1 driver fraternity.

The issue has now been escalated with the sport now entertaining talks to revise the format once again in 2024.

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