Ross Brawn ‘Very Pleased’ With F1 Sprint Qualifying Race Format

A ringing endorsement of the F1 Sprint Qualifying Race was given by Formula One boss Ross Brawn at the conclusion of the British Grand Prix.

F1’s first sprint qualifying event took place at Silverstone on Saturday, which determined the grid for Sunday’s Grand Prix. On Friday, the traditional qualifying session took place, setting the grid for the 17-lap sprint.

Max Verstappen beat Lewis Hamilton in qualifying, but Hamilton lost that lead in the first lap after Verstappen got the better start. It proved crucial, as Hamilton was unable to pass Verstappen on lap one and then faded.

Brann said the format, to be held at Silverstone, the Italian Grand Prix at Monza, and a third not yet determined race, has passed the first test.

“Very pleased. It’s a completely new concept for Formula One.”

Brawn praised Fernando Alonso’s performance after the two-time world champion jumped from 11th to 5th on the opening lap.

“I think one of the things we all saw today was a racing driver is a racing driver and they’re never going to take it easy,” Brawn said. “That first lap or so was completely nail-biting, and sensational, and then we had the little duels in the rest of the race.

“Fernando Alonso’s performance today was sensational, got my vote for the highlight of the race. I’d buy a ticket for that every day, so we’re very pleased.

“We’ll let the dust settle on the weekend, spend some time with the FIA and the teams, try and understand if there’s some evolutions we want but we won’t be changing the fundamental format this year.

“I think after the three races we can sit down and see where we go from here. But so far very positive.”

2021 British Grand Prix F1 Sprint Qualifying Race (image courtesy Pirelli)
2021 British Grand Prix F1 Sprint Qualifying Race (image courtesy Pirelli)

In the aftermath of Sunday’s race, Brawn said F1 will analyze everything and listen to fan feedback.

“At the end of the day that’s a crucial thing. We’re already getting massive feedback, positive, from the fans, on social media, they love it.

“But there will be fans who make some comments, what they didn’t understand or appreciate and we’ll take that into account as well.

“I think we’ve got to look at the weekend overall. We need to view the weekend overall, as I don’t see anything we’ve done which takes away from the weekend, I think it’s all additive, but let’s see the whole weekend, let’s see the race, then at the end of it all we can do an analysis, talk to the fans, look at all the data and details and see if there’s some tuning we need to do.”

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