F1: Vettel backs Ecclestone over sprint race criticism

(GMM) Sebastian Vettel has backed former F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone’s criticism of the new ‘sprint qualifying’ format which debuts at Silverstone this weekend.

Ecclestone, 90, said his major objection to the format is that it is “mucking around” with history – given that the purity of a pole position will now be compromised.

“People would say somebody has 70 pole positions but that has gone now,” he said. “There is no such thing as a pole position.”

Ecclestone’s friend and quadruple world champion Vettel agrees that designating the winner of the 100km sprint race on Saturday as the official pole sitter is “wrong”.

“It’s getting a bit confusing,” the German is quoted by DPA news agency.

“If it’s a one-time thing, it doesn’t do much harm,” he added. “But when we do ten sprints next year, it will be a bit strange.

“When I was young, I was a hardcore fan so I would have liked more races. I just think it’s important that Sunday remains the main race day.”

And the winner of the sprint race, he insists, should not go down in history as the pole-sitter of the grand prix weekend.

“Because it’s a new format, we should just introduce a new column of statistics. Pole position should remain the absolute fastest lap of the weekend as the result of qualifying,” said Vettel.