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Christian Horner

Fans must help craft new 'long-term' F1 Sprint format - Horner

The Red Bull chief is clear that the Sprint format must change for 2024, but feels it needs to be a long-term decision, guided by fans.

Horner Italy
To news overview © XPBimages

Chrisitan Horner believes Formula 1 fans must be at the heart of decisions taken over the new Sprint format, which needs to be a "long-term" decision.

For 2023, a new Sprint Shootout was added on Saturday morning to set the grid for the Sprint race, effectively making Saturdays at such events a standalone from the main Grand Prix.

However, this format requires cars to enter parc ferme conditions after just one Free Practice session before Grand Prix qualifying on a Friday, with no opportunity to tweak the set-up after the 60 minutes.

This, and the fact that the Sprints, heading into their fourth season in 2024, were largely quiet affairs in 2023 has led to calls for changes to the format, with the recent F1 Commission meeting in Abu Dhabi pledging further talks over tweaks to the format.

Horner's Red Bull won five of the six Sprints in 2023, only missing Qatar to McLaren's Oscar Piastri, with the Team Principal firm that the format is to stay, but needs a major format shake-up.

Horner addresses Sprint future

"I think it's clear that the Sprints need to evolve a bit, in that I can understand the concept and it being action on all three days, which for the promoter and for the fans has an interest but I think the Sprints, in some cases, have been slightly underwhelming," Horner told media including RacingNews365.

"There’s no pit-stop; it tends to stay in grid order and it’s a little bit like getting a medal for a long run.

"If there can be a bit more racing introduced you've got to look at what are the consequences with that: if you were to reverse the grid; if there were points involved, etc, etc.

"It needs a bit more work doing on it within the sporting forum. And then no doubt, we'll sit down at the next Commission meeting early in the new year and hopefully finalise a format. It's very important that the next step that we make is one that is fixed for a long period of time.

"This Sprint concept is a new concept that's been introduced, and in some areas it's very popular and with some traditionalists, it's very unpopular.

"Whatever it evolves to needs to be consistent for a long period of time, so I think the necessary research – and I think the fan feedback is going to play a crucial role in this, in terms of what is it actually that the audience want?

"Do they actually enjoy the Sprint format as it is? Or do they want to see a bit more racing if we're going to do a Sprint race?

"If we're going to do that, then how do we award the points? How do we incentivise drivers and teams? So there are many topics attached to it. But the most important fundamental thing is, what do the fans want?"

What do you think the new F1 Sprint format should be in 2024? Let us know by voting in the poll below and in the comments!

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