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Damon Hill

Hill urges F1 change over sprint concern

The 1996 F1 World Champion has highlighted an area of the sprint weekend he would change to provide further excitement.

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Former F1 World Champion Damon Hill believes changes must be made to further optimise the sport's sprint format.

Tweaks were made ahead of this weekend's Azerbaijan Grand Prix, with two qualifying sessions now included in the schedule which now isolates the sprint from the main event.

But despite there being only one practice session before the excitement ramped up for qualifying, parc fermé conditions were imposed after the first hour of running, leading to fears that the pecking order from qualifying through to the end of the grand prix would remain stagnant.

Speaking to Sky Sports F1 after Charles Leclerc finished fastest in the inaugural Sprint Shootout, 1996 title-winner Hill explained: "I really think they should be allowed to make changes, that would make this whole business very interesting because it would mean you cannot take anything as a set performance.

"There could be a chance that people could adapt their car for the race on Sunday and that would be very interesting because we don't want a repeat of today tomorrow, we want to maybe have some doubt in there and an opportunity for things to change.

"So that may be another way they can look at this and say 'ok, after qualifying they can do what they like to the cars'."

What is the point?

Further concerns have been aired that with only eight drivers scoring points in the 100km sprint, those down the order will have no incentive to take risks now that it has been isolated from the grand prix and no longer determines the starting grid.

"I guess it is quite frustrating for the engineers because you have only got the one [practice] session to do it and if you do establish an issue, you can't exactly fix it can you?" added former W Series driver Naomi Schiff.

"It is one to think about and also for the teams not performing that well, say below the top 10, for them, the question is what is the point of today? If there are no points on the cards for them, then everything out there - especially on a track like this - is just a risk.

"So if there was an opportunity for them at that moment to improve their cars or have the potential to still gain, then it could make it more interesting for the whole field."

F1 2023 Azerbaijan Grand Prix RN365 News dossier


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