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Team Principals voice support of sprint races

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With Formula One on the verge of introducing sprint races at three race venues this year in a bid to spice up the race weekend, a number of the sports team bosses have spoken out in support of the proposal.

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner stated it would be an “interesting spectacle” at the media press conference at pre-season testing in Bahrain.

“There’s always a million reasons not to do something, but I think the concept’s interesting,” he said. “I think the way they’re looking at introducing it is reasonably responsible over three events, so why don’t we try it? Let’s give it a go. There’s a lot of work going on behind the scenes with the team managers and the sporting directors to ensure the right regulations are in place for it,”

“Hopefully it will be an interesting spectacle. But if it’s what the promoters want to do, we’re happy to support.”

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Toto Wolff, his Mercedes counterpart, also supported the idea, adding that he has seen how Germany’s DTM series had benefited from something similar.

“I think speaking for our team and hearing the opinions, we are probably more on the purist side,” said Wolff. “We appreciate the 70-year-old history of [having the] Grand Prix on a Sunday. But I would agree that one thing is for sure: by having a little race on Saturday, we will have a large increase in audiences. I’ve seen it in DTM and Touring Cars, that we were almost able to double the TV audiences with the second race,”

“I think we should give it a go and then be really honest to ourselves: what was the financial impact, and impact on the eyeballs, that we were able to generate? What was the show factor? And as Christian said, there’s many pros and cons. I think if we all stick our heads together, we can find a solution that is of mutual benefit. Formula 1 is what we do all together and we need to entertain the people.”

Andreas Seidl, who previously voiced his support for sprint races at the McLaren car launch earlier this month, said he was keen to discuss the final details of the idea. The McLaren team boss stated that there was a “good proposal” on the table from Formula One.

“We’re very supportive to give it a go, as long as it doesn’t change artificially the pecking order in Formula 1 – which the current proposal doesn’t do,” said Seidl. “I think there have been some good meetings, together with FIA and Formula 1 in the last weeks to define the details, because the devil is always in the details. But I think we have a good proposal now on the table, and I think we will come to a final conclusion this weekend, and then it’s down to Formula 1.”

The drivers have been quite reluctant to share their own opinions on sprint races, but Pierre Gasly was pressed on the subject at testing today and gave us a clue as to what all the drivers are feeling.

“We discussed it,” said Gasly. “I don’t want to go public. We did this meeting to see all together whether we can move the sport forward and improve the show for all the people and all the fans, because that’s what we all want. The main target is to improve the racing. I think all drivers are united in trying to make the car performance closer to each other, improve the show,”

“And I think this year F1 is willing to try the sprint race, try to see if it can make it more entertaining for the people back at home watching on TV or coming to the track. I think it will be interesting. We’ll try it on some occasions and see how it is.”

 

Image Credit: FIA and Formula One

Source: Formula One

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