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British Grand Prix 2021

Webber fears conservative approach will stifle F1 Sprint Qualifying excitement

While Mark Webber isn't against F1 trying new formats in an effort to boost excitement, he is worried this weekend's Sprint Qualifying format may not live up to expectations.

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With the first Sprint Qualifying event in F1 history set to take place this weekend at Silverstone, Mark Webber is worried Saturday's event could see drivers take a conservative approach.

The new format will see traditional qualifying move to Friday, with that session determining the start order for Saturday's sprint race. The finishing order will then determine the starting grid for Sunday's Grand Prix. Webber wonders whether Saturday's sprint will turn into a procession as drivers will be too concerned with ensuring they don't ruin their chances in the main event the following day.

"People like change, but I think the drivers are going to be very conservative in the sprint race," Webber told Wide World of Sports.

"There's only three points for the winner of the sprint race, and nothing if you finish fourth or lower, and there's just so much at stake on Sunday that drivers won't take the risk on Saturday.

"They'll be mindful of any drama, because it's only 100 kilometres, so there's a little bit of time to recover from a mistake, but not a lot. Teams and drivers will be aware of that in their preparation."

Webber isn't against the use of different formats in an attempt to try and spice things up, as he believes the idea came off the back of so many years of Mercedes dominance.

"They're trying stuff, I'm always up for new things and this is the first attempt," Webber added. "But the Sunday race is like a Test match for us, in terms of concentration and focus, I'd liken sprint qualifying to the Big Bash.

"F1 is trying to do something different to generate some interest, just like T20 cricket, we'll see how it goes.

"I don't know if F1 needs to do it right now, but the idea came off the back of so many years of Mercedes dominance. In 2019 or 2020 people were looking to make it more competitive. But Max and Lewishave done that anyway this year."

F1 2021 British Grand Prix RN365 News dossier

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