Toto Wolff on F1 sprint races: “It’s worth the experiment”

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Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff says he is not opposed to testing out Saturday sprint races, but Formula 1 must “be really careful” when testing the concept.

Formula 1 is expected to issue an official announcement that it will test out the qualifying sprint race concept at three grands prix in 2021.

The new format would include Friday’s second free practice being replaced by qualifying for Saturday’s sprint race, which would then determine the starting grid for Sunday’s race. Toto Wolff is not opposed to testing out the idea, but urges Formula 1 to “be really careful”.

“We are in a data-driven world,” said the Austrian.

“We simulate, and here we are talking about going live with something that hasn’t been simulated properly.

“So, I don’t think we want to block anything – it’s worth the experiment – but we need to be very careful with it, with the format that we have and with the responsibility we carry for Formula 1.

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“I think probably we share the mindset that we are racing purists and we know of the importance of the grand prix.

“It’s always been like that and we mustn’t dilute the attraction of that singular event happening Sunday afternoon as somehow a cornerstone of everybody’s weekend.

“Now, we have always been very reluctant to change that traditional format and I have seen some experiments in other race series where they have put in a second race on Saturday and the audiences were actually quite interested.

“Having said that, it by far didn’t have the importance and tradition like Formula 1, so we need to be really careful of how we are testing things,” concluded Wolff.

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