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Ross Brawn

Brawn on sprint qualifying: All I ask is that drivers keep an open mind

With the confirmation that sprint qualifying will take place at three Grand Prix in 2021, Ross Brawn has explained his hopes for how the drivers will react to it.

Ross Brawn hopes that the 2021 F1 drivers will remain open-minded about the introduction of sprint qualifying.

It has been confirmed that the new format will take place at three race weekends during the season, with the traditional qualifying moved to Friday and the sprint race happening on Saturday afternoon.

Whilst some figures in the sport have had reservations about the plans, Brawn says that the drivers are willing to try it and that their thoughts on its success will influence whether sprint qualifying becomes a more permanent feature.

"The drivers are open minded about the format," Brawn told F1.com.

"And that’s all we ask, that the drivers keep an open mind so we can evaluate this event and then we decide if in the future it forms a feature of the F1 season. If it doesn’t work, we put hands up and we will think again."

There has been talk of sprint qualifying proposals for many weeks, but Brawn admits that the reservations of some in the sport meant that the process of getting the plans finalised took time.

"[One of the challenges was] finding a format that had the right balance between giving us an opportunity to have exciting Friday and Saturday running – perhaps a shorter format race but one which did not take anything away from main event," F1's Managing Director explained.

"We had to find that balance. Everyone had a different opinion on what that should look like. It was also about finding an economic and logistical solution that didn’t impact teams too severely.

"They want this event, but they are all working under massive challenges and we had to find a solution that worked with them without compromising the event."

Brawn hopes that the format will provide extra excitement over a Grand Prix weekend.

"I think it will be a great addition. There is unlikely to be pit stops, so it’ll be a clean race. It’ll be 30 mins roughly, 100km of action.

"We want to see how fans engage with it and if the short format is appealing, it’s complimentary and if it works with the main race. We feel it will. We feel it’s going to be very exciting."

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