Home Sport F1 sprint races makes no sense, says Vettel

F1 sprint races makes no sense, says Vettel


“Why would you have a pre-final to a final? What’s the point of that? I don’t understand it.”

A handout photograph released by Aston Martin Cognizant Formula One Team on March 3, 2021 shows German driver Sebastian Vettel. Picture: Glenn Dunbar, Aston Martin, AFP

FOUR-time Formula One world champion Sebastian Vettel spoke out on Wednesday against a proposal for Saturday sprint races to replace regular qualifying at selected Grand Prix weekends.

The German, who has moved to Aston Martin from Ferrari and has a keen sense of F1 history, said the proposal made no sense to him.

“I don’t like it,” he told reporters at the launch of the team’s 2021 car.

“Why would you have a pre-final to a final? What’s the point of that? I don’t understand it.

“If there is a race on Saturday, then I will have to take part because I still want to drive on Sunday, but in my point of view, it makes no sense.”

Vettel said Grand Prix had always been around 300km as the main challenge of the weekend, and suggested the problem was elsewhere.

“I think it’s more of a patch than a fix,” he said.

The change is aimed at creating more excitement through increased track action.

Formula One teams have said they are generally supportive of the idea, with one Friday practice session becoming qualifying for Saturday and points awarded for the sprint race as well as the main one.

They agreed last month on a working group to investigate further, with the aim of reaching a final decision before the start of the season in Bahrain on March 28.

Aston Martin technical director Andrew Green said he had yet to see a set of regulations.

“We’ve seen a proposal, which I think most teams were in favour of examining, but the devil is in the detail. And the detail hasn’t been thrashed out yet,” he added.

“There are lots of discussion points and areas that need looking at: the changing of the car between events, how much are you allowed to change?

“And more importantly, what happens to the power unit allocation? The engines have been designed and signed off for a certain type of season, and then to go away from that from a power unit perspective is going to be quite a challenge.”

Meanwhile, as for Vettel, the 33-year-old German is ready to move on to the next chapter of his career with Aston Martin – the historic British name returning to Formula One for the first time since 1960.

“It is not a secret that last year I wasn’t at my happiest,” Vettel said at Aston Martin’s launch, where the rebranded Racing Point team revealed its British racing green livery.

“I know it wasn’t to my standards, that I was below myself, but I am very much at peace with it. I think I have another world championship in me … I am not too old and I still have a long time in me.”

Team principal Otmar Szafnauer has cautioned that it will be three to five years before Aston Martin are in a position to challenge for world championships.

But Vettel said a team backed by Canadian billionaire Lawrence Stroll, whose son Lance is Aston Martin’s other driver, may get there sooner after F1 chiefs introduced budget caps to ensure greater competition.

“Formula One is changing and maybe you don’t need those three to five years anymore,” Vettel said.