Haas team principal Guenther Steiner says the new Sprint format is “much cooler” than the previous schedule but could lead to chaos in Baku.
Formula 1 teams have all agreed to change the format so that Friday’s qualifying session now sets the grid for Sunday’s grand prix and FP2 is replaced by a separate qualifying just for the Sprint on the Saturday. The changes still need to be ratified by the World Motor Sport Council and go through an F1 Commission vote in the week before the Azerbaijan Grand Prix but Steiner is pleased with the update.
“Absolutely, I brought it up last year for the first time,” Steiner told RACER. “I said Saturday morning is just like watching grass grow basically because you are out there and you cannot do anything on the car, you just go round. Yeah, you learn something about tires, but is it worthwhile to do it? No. It will be much cooler like this.”
Given some of the drama that has occurred on the high-speed street circuit in the past, Steiner admits Azerbaijan’s first Sprint event could prove chaotic, with the changes intended to allow drivers to race more freely without concern about the impact on Sunday’s grand prix.
“It could be, but that makes it interesting. Hopefully there is no chaos, but it could be. Baku is always a race… If you think in Australia we had three red flags can you imagine how many red flags we will have in Baku in two races?!”
And Steiner has no qualms about the timing of the decision, saying the teams should be easily able to deal with the new format despite the agreement only coming in Melbourne and official approval still required.
“We have to deal with new things but we always say F1 is so advanced that if in three weeks we cannot get this together then I think we need to change job, and not be telling people how advanced Formula 1 is!”