At the 2023 Belgian Grand Prix, fans had yet another debate about the sprint format, whether it’s necessary and whether any potential tweaks could be made after rain delayed all of Sprint Saturday’s running!
And to our surprise, a star in another form of motorsport has chipped in with his take. That person is 2021 MotoGP World Champion and avid F1 fan Fabio Quartararo!
There is some relevant crossover between the two series, with MotoGP adding Sprint Races to their weekend format this year. For those who don’t know, a quick explainer – MotoGP has added Sprint Races to ALL 20 of their Grands Prix this year compared to just six of F1’s, but over 50% race distance rather than F1’s 33%, though MotoGP’s main races are of course a lot shorter than F1’s, usually lasting around 40 minutes.
Their practice sessions are also different, with the top 10 riders after FP2 on Friday automatically making the final part of qualifying and getting a guaranteed Top 12 starting spot.
Talking to the media, including The Race on the subject, Fabio – pictured above hanging out with Daniel Ricciardo on his last visit to an F1 paddock – went into detail about dealing with MotoGP’s format change and how intense it’s been since.
“I feel like to have this kind of weekend we have to have [it for] four or five GPs.” said Fabio. “But for me, the schedule of last year was way better. You use Friday to work on the race, and you have the last practice on Saturday morning to earn your top 10.” (The old format determined qualifying groups on FP3 on Saturday morning)
“Now, you have to qualify straight away, you have the Sprint Race, and you have no time to work on your bike for the race. So I think it’s silly to have it for all the races.”
When asked if he preferred F1’s method of starting with three, and now six Sprints across a season, Fabio agreed that kind of gradual change was the way to go.
“Maybe in three years we have it like this…” said Fabio. “But you cannot go from zero Sprint Races to 20 straight away. You have to be at 100% right from the beginning.”
A fascinating bit of insight from the former World Champion and a sport that’s made little secret about peeking at F1’s homework!
If you had to choose, would you have Sprints in F1 every weekend? Or are you a MotoGP fan and wish it would cut them?