Sprint winner Max Verstappen of the Netherlands and Oracle Red Bull Racing, Second placed Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain and Mercedes, Third placed Charles Leclerc of Monaco and Ferrari pose for a photo with Sha'Carri Richardson in parc ferme athe Sprint ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of United States at Circuit of The Americas on October 21, 2023 in Austin, Texas. (Photo by Rudy Carezzevoli/Getty Images)

Formula 1 News: Drivers hail sprint format tweaks for 2024

(GMM) Three Formula 1 drivers have applauded the tweaks made to the controversial ‘sprint’ weekend format for 2024.

At the most recent meeting in London of the F1 Commission, it was agreed that improvements will be made to the schedule relevant to the six sprint weekends this year – in China, Miami, Austria, Austin, Brazil and Qatar.

One change is a re-ordering of the track sessions, with sprint qualifying to now take place on Friday, ahead of the sprint race early on Saturdays.

Main qualifying will then take place after the sprint on Saturday.

But arguably just as significant are changes to the parc ferme rules, allowing teams to make changes to car setup after the first day of the schedule.

“I like the changes,” Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz told motorsport-total.com. “I believe the driver and team should be able to make changes to the car if it is not performing as it should.

“I’d like more changes, but it’s a step in the right direction.”

World champion Max Verstappen has been the staunchest opponent of the format to date, but he agrees that the changes to the sprints for 2024 are at least “more logical”.

USGP Sprint Race podium, Lewis Hamilton (2nd), Max Verstappen (1st) and Charles Leclerc (3rd)
2023 USGP Sprint Race podium, Lewis Hamilton (2nd), Max Verstappen (1st) and Charles Leclerc (3rd)

“It’s a little better,” he said. “Sometimes you could make a mistake with the setup and your race weekend was down the drain because you couldn’t make changes.

“On the other hand, these (sprint) races and even victories in them still don’t bring me much pleasure. But this at least helps.”

Alpine’s Pierre Gasly, meanwhile, thinks the 2024 tweaks are in fact a “big” development”.

“Before this, you’d end up having brilliant minds banned on Friday afternoons from being able to do anything for the rest of the weekend,” he said.

“It was kind of sad not being able to play with anything except a couple of things on the front wing, so I think this is good for Formula 1.”

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