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Mika Hakkinen

Hakkinen: I cannot think of anything negative about F1's sprint format

The two-time Formula 1 world champion believes the sport's new sprint format, which was used at Silverstone, was all positive.

Article
To news overview © Pirelli

Mika Hakkinen believes there were no negatives with F1's sprint format which was used at the weekend's British Grand Prix.

At Silverstone, qualifying took place on Friday evening before a 100km sprint race on Saturday with the main race itself as usual on Sunday. Despite a mixed reaction amongst fans and drivers, Hakkinen is all for it.

"I found the new race weekend format really exciting to watch," Hakkinen wrote in his column for Unibet. "I could not think of anything negative about it, only positive.

"By having only one practice session before qualifying on Friday, Formula 1 gave the teams and drivers a lot of work to do in a short period of time. It gave the teams additional pressure and introduced risk.

"The sprint qualifying provided some surprises, with Fernando Alonso doing a great job to make up places and therefore start the race in a much stronger grid position.

"Meanwhile with Sergio Perez we saw what can happen when you make a mistake or have a technical problem. It increases the possibility of unpredictable outcomes."

Monza will use the same sprint format at the Italian GP whilst either USA or Brazil is set to host the final sprint round of the 2021 F1 season. Hakkinen sees the possibility of F1 introducing the new format at selected rounds in coming years.

"The new format is clearly there to provide the fans with more excitement, to help grow the sport, build audience interest and attract new followers," said Hakkinen. "From my side it definitely adds something new and positive to Formula 1.

"At the moment the idea is going to be tested at three races, with the next one planned for the Italian Grand Prix in Monza, and I can see how Formula 1 could introduce this for selected events each season.

"It is a courageous move to shake things up, and after watching the Silverstone event I’m looking forward to the next one."

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