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🏎️ F1 Sprints Make No Sense. Here's How to Fix Them

Parker Kligerman on Fixing F1’s Biggest Failure

The problem? They reek of greed. They cheapen the main product and they do not show off F1’s best qualities.

As an F1 fan and motorsport enthusiast, I always support having more time with cars on track and broadcasting partners willing to air it.The biggest problem is that F1’s best product is never actually going to be wheel-to-wheel racing. Some of you are saying, 'PARKER! It’s a racing series!'

yes, there are amazing moments in its history of clashes amongst titans, but those are interspersed along endless stretches of cars 1.1 seconds or more apart running around in circles.

F1 is about the fastest, most technologically advanced f’ing cars on the planet going as fast as humanly possible. Good racing will always come second. Why? All of us who have been in this game long enough know that through the last few decades of all motorsport series trying every imaginable way to create better racing, some things just can’t be done.

Technological development and good racing are stuck on opposite sides across a canyon of physics-based realities.

If you want wheel-to-wheel racing, go watch Indycar or NASCAR. Technological development has been ground to an excruciatingly small level in an effort to create the most consistent, best show when the green flag drops.

Because this is the only way. Either you purposely stop the teams or you let them go wild. Everywhere in the middle just doesn’t work.

F1 has attempted middle ground with this 2022 rules package. That we all know has not worked. And I think we all know it never will.

Since I started watching F1 back in 1999, its best show has always been qualifying. Always has been, always will be as long as F1 stays F1. Which it should.

Qualifying shows off these incredible machines and drivers at their insane best. Flying through corners with the tires being stretched like a cartoon, sparking and using all the insane 1000+ horsepower to hold the driver in a gravitational force so high, it’s a miracle they haven’t snapped every rib.

Watching an F1 car go through a high-speed corner in full qualifying-trim is a spiritual experience. So much so for me, the background of my phone since 2016 has been an F1 car fully compressed going through Eau Rouge at Spa-Francorchamps.

And I’m not alone. Leave the wheel-to-wheel racing, crashing, and flipping down backstretches to us daredevils in national series across this great globe. From NASCAR to Indycar, BTCC, Australian Supercars, and everything in between, we rocket off into corners at breakneck speeds each weekend with much less financial payoff and without the global superstardom of F1.

Yet I guarantee none of us are jealous watching F1 cars race five seconds per lap below their true capability, miles apart, running around in circles. Put the money and fame aside and it looks simply frustrating. Dare I say boring…

On the contrary, there’s not a single real red-blooded professional racecar driver in the world that watches an F1 car at full charge in qualifying and doesn’t think, “Goddamn, I want to do that!”

It’s authentic, it’s what they are meant to do, and we all deep down want to know if we would be any good.

Sprints have none of us jealous.

Yes, I know we are not the target audience but I can’t imagine anyone in the stands or watching on TV has ever texted a friend about an F1 sprint saying “YOU MUST TURN THIS ON!”

It hasn't become the appointment viewing we hoped for when replacing a third useless free practice.

So instead of removing these cheapened forms of a Grand Prix and getting rid of all this TV time that sprints have unlocked. Let’s create a whole separate set of qualifying sessions at these race weekends that expose these amazing machines and drivers even more.

And let's keep the racing sacred to the Grand Prix, so even my girlfriend isn't asking, 'So the real race is on Sunday?'

I believe with the money being spent and opening in the budget caps, it would be possible to create a set of qualifying (call them time-trials) sessions that utilize a different set of rules? Namely on the cars.

How about entirely different aero rules? Maybe a super low downforce set of wings that you have to choose before the weekend?

Different tires that are only utilized in these sessions. Maybe even allowing teams like Williams or Haas to choose to focus on this part of the weekend and make a big splash.

Pay points just like the sprint. Create and constantly tweak the variables being thrown at the teams on each of these weekends (build it into the rules that they can be changed at promoters discretion).

The best shows in all forms of motorsports come when the variables being thrown at the competitors become almost unbearable for a rational human. Think variable rain races.

That level of variables with multiple sets of time-trial sessions that have big rewards.

Then we will see who can rise up when the game is so different for those two sessions. And if done right, it will be hardly recognizable compared to Sunday’s rule set.

Now Fridays and Saturdays just got interesting.

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