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Toto Wolff

Wolff on F1 Sprint format: Everybody's confused

The Mercedes team boss appears to be against the continuation of Formula 1's new 'Sprint' format which will next be held at the Sao Paulo Grand Prix in November.

Article
To news overview © Mercedes

Mercedes Team Principal Toto Wolff reckons "everybody's confused" about Formula 1's 'Sprint' format which has been run at two events this year.

The new concept sees qualifying take place on Friday, with a 100km Sprint Qualifying race on Saturday before the main Grand Prix on Sunday.

There has been a mixed reaction to 'F1 Sprint' and there will be a formal review following the third and final event at the Sao Paulo Grand Prix in Brazil.

"First of all, everybody's confused," Wolff told RacingNews365.com and other select members of the press. "I don't know how it is with you, I don't even know what session is when.

"I believe the Sprint race format as it stands at the moment, doesn't give a lot of benefit, because nobody will take a serious risk.

"There's too little points at stake and the risk of compromising your Sunday Grand Prix, with points all the way back to 10th position, is just not worth the risk.

"So what we've seen is a combination of general difficulties in overtaking because the straight-line speeds are very similar, but also because, even Turn 1 and 2, nobody takes a risk.

"I think let's give it another try in Brazil, let's see if there's anything that changes. But that was a worthwhile experiment and for me, this is just a personal opinion or the opinion of my engineers here, it's not fish, not meat."

The original idea was to have a reverse grid race at selected events this year, but Mercedes voted against the concept so 'F1 Sprint' was made as a compromise. Wolff says his opinion on reverse grid races in F1 remains unchanged.

"It's [reverse grid races] diluting the DNA of the sport as a meritocracy," said Wolff. "I think the Sprint races were worth a try, I'm not sure we will keep them but reverse grid [races] can be done in junior formulas, where you want to see the overtaking abilities of the drivers.

"It's not something which should even come close to Formula 1."

It's time for the latest episode of our new Formula 1 podcast, with F1 journalists Dieter Rencken, Thomas Maher and Mike Seymour discussing the fallout from a dramatic Italian Grand Prix weekend.

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