Sprint Racing is about to be introduced in Formula 1 this year, but before its official introduction, the F1 fans got a taste of Sprint Racing At Baku in last Sunday’s Azerbaijan Grand Prix.
After Max Verstappen’s late crash, a new standing start took place with just one lap to go and it was as dramatic as could be, with Lewis Hamilton going off and with Charles Leclerc and Pierre Gasly battling for the final podium spot. Fernando Alonso joked that it was a shame there wasn’t another restart after he went from 10th to sixth.
Pierre Gasly later said, referring to Liberty Media, the owners of F1, via Marca: “The Americans took over so I wasn’t really surprised that the first thing is the entertainment,”
“I must admit it was very intense but I really enjoyed it. If anything, hopefully in the future they will do the same.”
F1 race director Michael Masi has, though, denied that the restart took place the way it did for the show. He said: “There is nothing in the regulations stipulating that a race cannot be restarted if circumstances permit and I saw no reason to end it with the red flag,”
Comparing Sunday’s action to the new sprint qualifying races, F1 managing director Ross Brawn was happy with the largely positive feedback. Brawn wrote on F1’s official website: “I was encouraged to hear a number of commentators say we needed another 10 laps of the action we saw in the final two laps of the Azerbaijan Grand Prix because it acts as a good prequel to sprint qualifying,”
“Sprint qualifying will be a little longer, around 17 to 20 laps, but it could well feature the same type of thrilling racing as the drivers won’t have to worry about saving tyres.”