I’m not that negative towards the new format... It may actually be an interesting development for F1 and could potentially mix things up a bit.
I’ll try to go through it as Anderson did with a different point of view:
The Justification: Increase on-track action.
There will be more on track action, both FP1 and FP2 will be more important than ever, FP1 particularly with teams only having 1 hour to set the cars up for the Qualifying session and FP2 to set the cars for the Sprint Race and the Race.
He also implies (rightly so) that end race results are usually in within expectations... But, as others have mentioned there is always the possibility for the midfield teams to be more aggressive than the top teams during the Sprint Race, with less to lose we could see a bit more action and potentially a few cars higher than what their normal positions usually are... 3 interesting aspects that may have a big effect:
- Good starters: The drivers that are really good at race starts (GIO, SAI as examples) will have a chance to make a considerable amount of positions during the race starts.
- Racing “Flat Out”: With the smaller race format, there should be a lesser need to save tires and fuel, which means that potentially the drivers could be driving harder during those ~20 laps than they usually do on the actual race (where tire and fuel saving are a need for all teams).
- Conservative vs Aggressive: The top drivers will probably be more conservative since they have to be worried about the actual race and may be more conservative... Those with less to lose will have a chance to be more aggressive and maybe upset the status quo, clear ones would be the 2nd drivers (Bottas and Checo) which probably can risk more than Hamilton and Verstappen... Same for the guys at the midfield, Mclaren and Ferrari may decide to be more conservative than Alpine and Alpha Tauri, potentially changing what would have been a given on Sunday in terms of start positions.
The Scoring System:
Anderson makes a point that the Championship could be decided earlier because points will be given to the ones in the top 3, it could go either way... If Hamilton or Verstappen are dominating then yes, potentially they will win the Sprint Race and simply add more points thanks to it, but it could easily be the other way around and actually delay the decision on who ends up victorious by season end... Furthermore if the top 3 will be usually the same guys (Merc - RBR) it will be potentially be only a few more points than usual, which with 3 races under the new format may not play a significant factor... No different than the same negative argument about the Fast Lap points.
The Friday Schedule:
Some may not be able to watch Qualifying “Live”, but will have a hopefully “fun” Sprint Race to watch on Saturday... Unless we have a reliable crystal ball, is too early to tell if it will be a good trade off... And in regards to missing qualifying, I know not peaking in the internet / social media to know the results before watching it is hard, ultimately people can always watch when they get home on Friday and still enjoy it
The Saturday Schedule:
Anderson makes a very silly comment: “Gone is the challenge of trying to make the soft tires last for 20 laps”... Isn’t this something that most fans actually dislike? The fact that drivers aren’t going all out and are forced to save tires because it ends up been faster for a race distance? I actually welcome the fact that we might be see the cars driven in anger without concern for saving tires.
The GP itself:
This is the only where I can’t find a big positive point... If the teams only have 2 set of tires for the GP, the strategical choices are very limited and will be fixed to a one stop race... At the same time, it isn’t that much different to today’s reality where more races are one-stoppers regardless of the availability of tires.
Let’s give them a try... It’s 3 races where we will see the new format, it could be a boring fiasco or it could add genuine excitement and a welcome change to the weekend... We won’t know until it takes place and can be assessed afterwards.
What won’t change is that the new format will probably favor some and handicap others, so I also expect a lot of bickering and complaining by one group or the other based on the outcome.
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