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Mario Andretti

Andretti on F1's new format: Don't fix something that's not broken

Mario Andretti is not a fan of F1's new Sprint format, which will be trialled again at this weekend's Italian Grand Prix.

Start GP Monza 2020
Interview
To news overview © Mercedes

Mario Andretti has shared his thoughts on Formula 1's new Sprint format, which will be used for the second time this season at the Italian Grand Prix, explaining that he much prefers the traditional weekend structure.

F1 debuted the Sprint format at Silverstone earlier this year, with the standard practice/qualifying/race format shaken up by the addition of 'Sprint Qualifying', a 30-minute race that sets the starting grid for Sunday's Grand Prix.

Although he is open to exploring new ideas, 1978 F1 World Champion Andretti reckons there was no need to change the weekend format, urging the sport to avoid trying to fix something "that's not broken".

"I'm all for trying to tweak situations, formats and so forth, but I just love the standard format of qualifying – Q1, Q2, Q3 – as it is," Andretti told RacingNews365.com in an exclusive interview.

"OK, they can try it, but it does not excite me, nowhere near as much as the other format. I'll stay with what's in place now, and let others have opinions about that.

"I just like the format as it is, I really do. There's nothing wrong with it. You can follow it, you can follow strategies, tyres, this and that. I don't know what else they're looking for.

"The fans in general, they don't grasp the rules and so forth, and then it becomes a confusing situation. I know you have commentators that explain everything, but at the same time, the format that's in place now is working. Nobody can tell me it's not.

"What are they looking for? Don't fix something that's not broken!"

F1's new Sprint format aside, Andretti has plenty of positive memories of Monza, which go back to watching his hero, Alberto Ascari, lap the track in his youth.

Andretti went on to claim several victories at the circuit, in sportscars and F1; last year, he was reunited with several track workers who were present to witness his 'farewell' race in 1982, when he finished on the podium during a stand-in appearance for Ferrari.

"Monza means a great deal to me, as you can imagine," Andretti commented.

"It's where I saw my very first race at age 14. I won there in the 1000km race for Alfa Romeo [in 1974]. I won the Grand Prix there [in 1977], which is my native Grand Prix. Then I had my last Formula 1 race there [in 1982], basically. I know I went to Las Vegas [for one more race], but we had the suspension issue.

"I love Monza for all the energy that you see there from the fans. It's amazing. It's something very special.

"When I was there just last year filming, many of the [same] corner workers were there; they were a bit older, but they were there in 1982! During lunch, we got together and we all took a photo. It's incredible that you can go back and reminisce so many years ago and still have that conversation.

"It's a great feeling. Unfortunately, this weekend I'll be on track [with IndyCar] at Portland in my two-seater! But I'll catch up with it."

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F1 2021 Italian Grand Prix RN365 News dossier

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