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BAHRAIN INTERNATIONAL CIRCUIT, BAHRAIN - MARCH 31: Charles Leclerc, Ferrari SF90, leads Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari SF90 during the Bahrain GP at Bahrain International Circuit on March 31, 2019 in Bahrain International Circuit, Bahrain. (Photo by Simon Galloway / Sutton Images)

Binotto believes sprint races “will be great” for F1

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Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto is hopeful that Formula 1 bosses can finalise the details for sprint races to be trialled this season.

There are current plans to hold three sprint races this season at Canada, Monza and Brazil.

The proposals would mean an altered race weekend. Qualifying would be moved to Friday, making space for a 100km sprint race in the usual Saturday slot – an idea which received “broad support” from teams at a recent F1 commission meeting.

Binotto and his two drivers, Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz, expressed their support for the potential changes.

“We are very engaged in discussions with F1 and the FIA. We believe that changing for more spectacular and, eventually, for unpredictable races, will be great,” said Binotto at the 2021 Ferrari season launch.

“We are proactive in the discussions. We are supporting a change if that change will somehow achieve the goal and the objective I just mentioned.

“Discussions are ongoing, but at the moment it seems to be promising for a good output, but still I think we need to look at all the details – details will make the difference in that respect.

“Teamwork has to continue and hopefully we will find a good solution.”

Two-time race winner Leclerc echoed his team principal when asked for his views.

“I think it’s quite interesting. I think it should be tried, at least. Then we need to understand how all of this will work with the points, etc,” said the Monegasque.

“I think the most important thing is that the main race remains the main race and the value of the main race doesn’t go down.

“But it might be interesting to try it, at least to have shorter races where we can attack more, so yeah, I will be happy to try it, at least.”

Leclerc has previously shown his ability in sprint races, winning two as he dominated the 2017 Formula 2 Championship


Other drivers on the grid have raised their concerns regarding the proposed sprint race format. Red Bull’s Sergio Perez called the plan “risky” and Daniel Ricciardo worries that victories on a Sunday will lose value.

Ferrari new boy Sainz shares the fears of his successor at McLaren, but felt that 2021 was the perfect opportunity to trial something different, before sweeping regulation changes take effect next year.

“I think until we try, we will never know,” said Sainz.

“It’s one of those things, until you get a first go at it you will never know exactly how it goes.

“It is a bit dangerous that sometimes there can be two winners out of a grand prix weekend, and we need to make sure that there’s only one winner out of the races that we’re going to do a double race.

“But if there’s a year that we should try it, I think it’s 2021. With the future ahead, I think it’s a good opportunity to try these kind of things and see how it goes.”

Ferrari will be hoping for a much-improved season after last year’s disappointments, which saw them finish sixth in the Constructors Championship – they launch their new car on March 10.

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