Toto Wolff and Mercedes support Formula 1 sprint races

© LAT Images for Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix Ltd

Formula 1 is set to test the sprint race qualifying concept at the 2021 British Grand Prix. Toto Wolff indicates Mercedes is not opposed to the idea.

After much debate, Formula 1 announced it will hold a Saturday qualifying sprint race at this year’s British Grand Prix, to test the concept.

“We are finalising the intricacies of it,” F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali told the Daily Mail.

“For sure we do not want to take away the prestige of the grand prix itself. That will remain the climax of the weekend.

“We will have the qualifying on Friday and then ‘sprint qualifying’ on Saturday. It will provide some meaningful action the day before the race.

“It will give fans, media and broadcasters more content. It will last about half an hour. There will be no podium celebration. That will wait until Sunday.

“But points will be awarded – how many is yet to be decided – towards the world championship and determine the grid for the race itself.

“What I can say is that Silverstone will hold a sprint race,” concluded the Italian.

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Ahead of 2021 pre-season testing, Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff indicated Mercedes supports the concept.

“One thing is for sure that by having a little race on Saturday, we will have a large increase in audiences,” the Austrian said.

“I’ve seen it in DTM touring cars that we were almost able to double the TV audiences with the second race.

“I think if done in a responsible way, on tracks you can overtake, without putting too many gimmicks to it I think we should give it a go, hopefully, it’ll be an interesting spectacle.”

However Wolff says the concept needs to be evaluated before it is introduced as standard procedure.

“Speaking for our team we’re probably more on the purist side. We, appreciate the 70-year-old history of a Grand Prix on Sunday.

“There’s a lot of work going on behind the scenes with the managers and sporting directors to ensure that the right regulations are in place for it.

“We really need to understand what was the financial impact and the impact on the eyeballs to be able to generate more and what is the show factor?

“I think if we all stick our heads together, we can find a solution that is of mutual benefit for Formula 1,” concluded Wolff.

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