George Russell calls for sprint races to be ‘50 percent longer’

George Russell has declared himself “not a big fan” of sprint races and thinks the format needs further changes to be a success.

Sprints have become Formula 1’s marmite in that some people love it and some people hate it. Just three sprint weekends are present on the 2022 calendar, but that is set to increase again to six for 2023.

And Russell, who started P11 and finished P11 in the first sprint of the season at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, is firmly in that ‘hate it’ group.

But rather than just completely dismiss the concept, he suggested that the sprints are stretched beyond the current 100km distance so that tyre wear becomes more of a factor and creates added variation.

P4 out of nowhere today. Pleased with the result but we won’t stop pushing for more. Good little battle with KMag & VB too, enjoyed that. Thanks for all the support. 👊👊 pic.twitter.com/K9WiNLlK2s

— George Russell (@GeorgeRussell63) April 24, 2022

“I’m not a big fan, I have to admit,” Russell said, as quoted by the Dutch version of Motorsport.com.

“The race should be 50 percent longer, so the tyres will wear out more. The drivers may then have to manage their tyres a bit more, and then bigger differences between the cars will emerge.

“Right now everyone is just going full throttle. The difference in lap time is not big enough to overtake, unless you have not qualified in the usual position.”

 

Fellow Brit Lando Norris was a little more positive about the sprint weekend format himself, specifically pointing out that Fridays are much more demanding and exciting with just one hour of practice before qualifying.

However, that still doesn’t mean Norris is fan of the actual sprint itself.

“I enjoy Friday more, with just practice and then qualifying,” Norris reflected.

“Especially when the conditions make it trickier than usual. I do like that.

“This is more in line with F2 and F3. The challenge is greater for the drivers. It’s nice to have two starts and have to take risk. But despite that, I’m not a big fan.”

The next sprint weekend will be held at the Red Bull Ring as part of the Austrian Grand Prix in July, with the final sprint being held at the Brazilian Grand Prix weekend in November 11-13.

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