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Formula 1 United States Grand Prix 2023

Brundle urges F1 Sprint rethink: 'Not ideal or necessary'

The United States Grand Prix weekend exposed a number of issues with the Sprint.

Brundle Sky 2022
Article
To news overview © XPBimages

Former F1 driver Martin Brundle has called for changes to the Sprint format after a number of issues at the United States Grand Prix weekend.

Saturday's event was largely uneventful as Max Verstappen led from start to finish over the course of 19 laps, where everyone was given an insight into what would happen across a stint before Sunday's main event.

With a number of set-up problems arising from having just one practice session, four cars started from the pit lane after opting to make changes under parc fermé conditions and thus diluting the exciting start procedure.

Lewis Hamilton and Charles Leclerc were disqualified post-race for excessive plank wear, which was a direct consequence of a lack of practice running.

"There's no doubt that the Sprint format events put the teams under a lot of pressure and overall, we don't get particularly positive feedback from them," Brundle wrote in his Sky Sports F1 column.

"With just one practice session before the specification and set-up is locked in by parc fermé rules, especially at a relatively unknown circuit like Losail in Qatar, or a bumpy circuit such as COTA in Austin, this leaves them underprepared, which is far from ideal with such complex cars and that's assuming the first practice session has representative weather and they don't have any reliability issues or accidents.

"And there's the first question: do we want the jeopardy and variability of some teams missing their ultimate pace, or is this wasting the resource and skills of teams and drivers in a 'not very F1' manner?

"We had 20 per cent of the field starting the main Sunday race from the pit lane, in the form of both Aston Martins and both Haas cars, because they were better breaking out of Parc Fermė and trying for a more competitive race set up. And from Friday afternoon onwards, with two qualifying sessions and two races to come, some drivers were consigned to a difficult car for the rest of the weekend.

"This is not ideal or necessary, and while I don't like us to keep messing with the format, we must make some changes for next season and beyond. It's too much of a lottery which has far-reaching consequences, as we would find out several hours after the Sunday GP."

Checks 'beyond comprehensive'

The two disqualifications came after certain car checks were made on only four drivers' machinery and Brundle explained: "After the race four cars were checked, including Verstappen's Red Bull and Norris' McLaren, and both Hamilton's Mercedes and Leclerc's Ferrari were found to have too much wear, for which the only remedy is disqualification, however minimal the indiscretion. There can be no grey area on this.

The next big question however is that if 50 per cent of the tested cars failed, then shouldn't all the finishers have been checked? The answer must surely be yes.

It must be said that the FIA checks pre and post-race are beyond comprehensive. The published list includes over 50 separate and detailed checks mostly on all classified finishers, and a few on randomly selected cars.

F1 2023 United States Grand Prix RN365 News dossier

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