Wolff: Too much responsibility for F1 to 'freestyle' format changes

Toto Wolff says Formula 1 has too much responsibility to engage in “freestyle” regulation changes and “confused” ideas regarding its weekend format.

Formula 1 held its second sprint race trial at Monza, with the Saturday afternoon 100km event offering little entertainment value to the sport’s fans.

A third and final sprint race trial will take place at Interlagos in November after which Formula 1 will undertake a proper assessment of the concept’s merits before deciding if it will continue to exploit the format in 2022, while perhaps implementing changes.

Various ideas on how to improve the sprint race event in the future have been tabled, including resorting to reverse grids.

But at Monza, Wolff warned against throwing everything at the concept, or “freestyling” the regulations, for the sake of entertaining the fans.

“We’ve resisted experiments in the past because they were too controversial and mainly also against what the sport stands for, and that’s real racing,” said the Mercedes F1 boss.

“We’ve got great personalities now, it’s broadcast in the right way, and people know that it’s a meritocracy: the best man and best machine wins.

“You can see, this year, there’s just more cars that are really competitive and a really good fight at the top.

“So, whatever conclusion we take, altogether, the teams, the FIA, FOM and the F1 Commission, whether we discontinue or continue, we need to do it with a fine-tooth comb.

“I don’t think this is the regulations we should try [to hit] with a baseball bat. We have too much responsibility for our sport to just freestyle with the regulatory changes.

“If Brazil proves to be an exciting race, then maybe there will be appetite to continue.

“But some of the suggestions that have come up are just confused.”

Wolff reckons that if sprint qualifying ends up being dropped altogether next year, reducing Friday’s running to a single practice session would help generate more “variability”.

“Start Friday afternoon with FP1, do a Saturday morning FP2, do a conventional qualifying like we do, and a fantastic grand prix on Sunday,” Wolff suggested.

“Maybe you want to do some warm-up Sunday morning, to add a little bit more spectacle for the people.

“In any case, I would just shorten the free practice sessions so there’s more variability in the results, but keep the rest like it is.”

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