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Formula 1

Ecclestone proposes penalty positions to spice up sprint races

Sprint races could soon become a reality in Formula 1, but the sport's former boss claims that proposals need to be refined in order to make them a success. For Ecclestone, penalty positions could be the perfect way to maintain interest in both races.

Bernie Ecclestone, former chief executive of the Formula One Group, has given his opinion on how best the sport can use sprint races in the future - should plans to introduce them this season gain approval.

In a recent interview with German publication Auto Motor Und Sport, he described how sprint races have been on the table for a number of years, but cautioned against their use without adequate planning.

"It's an old idea that was discussed in my day," Ecclestone stated. "The key is to get it right.

“The public would watch the Sunday race, only with the guarantee that the latter offers something different than the one on Saturday."

For Bernie, the solution is simple, but very likely controversial: penalty positions. As he explains, it would essentially involve punishing those who do well in the Saturday sprint race by handing them a handicap for the main event on Sunday.

“The sprint race must assign points, and on the basis of these invert the starting grid of the race scheduled for Sunday," Ecclestone added. "For example, if the winner on Saturday scores 15 points then Sunday they will start with 15 penalty positions.

"With this system, both races turn out to be interesting. Moreover, it poses strategic doubts to the driver over how they should approach the Saturday race. In addition, some teams that do not usually start from the front row could certainly find themselves in top positions at the start of the race on Sunday."


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