George Russell believes that F1 Sprint races should be longer before he can call himself a fan.
At the 2022 F1 Imola GP, the Briton had a rough time in the first Sprint race of the season. Russell, on the other hand, made amends in the feature race, finishing fourth for Mercedes.
The first of three Sprint Races for the 2022 Formula 1 season was held last weekend at the Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari in Imola. The drivers competed in a 100-kilometer race on the tight Emilian track, which awarded points for the classification. The starting grid for the Sunday race was also set.
Since last year, when it was known as Sprint Qualifying, the Sprint Race has elicited differing reactions from experts, including drivers. Some of them wanted to express their thoughts on the Saturday race after Imola.
In different ways, George Russell, Kevin Magnussen, and Lando Norris have all expressed their dissatisfaction with the current Sprint Race format.
Everyone discovered something they could enhance in order to make the race more beautiful and allow the riders to take more risks, hence increasing the show.
“I’m not a big fan of the Sprint Race, to be honest. That kind of race, to work, I think it has to be 50% longer than the current one, or longer. to the point of causing the tires to degrade,“ Russell said.
“The drivers, perhaps, need to manage the tires more, at which point you could see a bigger difference between the cars.”
“At the moment all drivers are pushing hard in the Sprint Race, and there is not a lap difference big enough to see overtaking.”
“Unless a driver qualifies out of his position as seen with some cars at Imola.“
The drivers in the Sprint Race can select their preferred compound. Except for Kevin Magnussen and Mick Schumacher’s Haas F1, who raced with the Mediums at Imola, almost everyone chose the Soft. This is to avoid a degradation that has not been witnessed in actuality but eventually it has paid off.
The rules of the Parc Fermé should change between Free Practice 1 and Qualifying, according to Magnussen, who advanced from fourth on the grid to eighth in the final at Imola.
“There could be some changes to the Sprint Race, also I don’t agree with the Parc Fermé between Free Practice 1 and qualifying,” the Dane said.
“You can’t work on the car and this makes things more difficult for the small teams.”
Magnussen also highlighted how Sprint Races can become autonomous events, without affecting the starting grid for Sunday’s Grand Prix, in order to “make it more competitive and encourage the riders take more risks than the existing ones.”
During the F1 Commission meeting on Tuesday, the teams expressed their support for increasing the number of Sprint races in 2023, but the FIA rejected the idea because it believes it should receive a larger financial contribution than is currently planned and has taken time to assess the proposal’s impact on their on-track staff.
Lando Norris, who won his first race of the season in Imola, said he enjoys having activity on all three days of the weekend, but that he wouldn’t do more than three sprint races each year.
“The main thing I like about the Sprint Race weekend format is having action on Friday with Qualifying,” the McLaren driver said. “Those things make it more difficult than normal.”
“I like it, it’s something I’m used to from Formula 3 and Formula 2. I think it’s an extra challenge for the drivers.”
“Having 2 starts is a good aspect. Sure, the main race is Sunday and Saturday, you take a smaller amount of risk, but with two starts, if you get stuck, then you have to make sure you catch up and that’s good. “