Ferrari racing director Laurent Mekies has explained the sprint race weekend format is “for the fans” and is predicting drivers will push “flat-out” to gain improved grid positions for the British Grand Prix.
After Lewis Hamilton downplayed expectations for F1’s first trial of a new weekend format of the sprint, Mekies offered a different tone, suggesting drivers will be giving it everything to move up a few positions.
Explaining the altered weekend format in a Ferrari video, he said: “During three races this year, the first one being Silverstone, we are going to a completely new weekend format.
“You take the result of the [Friday] qualifying session and that is going to be the starting grid of what we are going to call on Saturday the ‘sprint qualifying’.
“Effectively, it is a 100-kilometre race that is going to start with the order of qualifying we have done on Friday.
“That sprint race is going to be like a 100-kilometre flat-out from our drivers because the result of that sprint race is going to be the starting grid of the traditional grand prix that will take place as normal on Sunday.
“Two starts in the weekend now. One mini-race, one main-race. We keep the qualifying so it is all about adding excitement for the fans and we are very much looking forward to seeing how it is going to develop, how we are going to cope with the constraints as a team, how our drivers are going to adapt with these challenges but we think it will be very exciting.”
F1 2022 ‘this biggest change in decades’
For the 2022 season, Formula 1 cars will look and, hopefully, perform in a completely different way to the current specification.
Although regulations change almost annually, the changes for 2022 are comparable to those ahead of ’09 and ’17 although Mekies ranks this latest shift as greater than both.
“Next year, everything changes,” he said. “We will have a completely new car, completely new regulations, probably the biggest change in the last few decades.
“Also, a very important evolution on our power unit with greener fuel and altogether it is going to be a jump into the unknown for us as a team and as manufacturers where we will have to see how each team has made the most of this fresh piece of paper from which they had to design their car from.
“That is where we are going. For us, it is a path that is very close to our values with trying to put our responsibility at the first place.”