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F1’s new sprint format will rob teams of key long run data

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This weekend’s Azerbaijan Grand Prix will see a revised schedule following approval at this week’s F1 Commission meeting.

Saturday’s race will be completely separate from the rest of the weekend, with sprint qualifying in the morning followed by a sprint race in the afternoon.

The change means the teams will lose their normal Saturday morning free practice session, where they traditionally gather long-run data to help develop tire strategy for the race.

Mercedes director of track engineering Andrew Shovlin said the loss of an extra hour of practice would affect race preparations.

“When you only have FP1, it’s almost impossible to condense all the regular Friday and Saturday learning into one lesson,” he said.

“You lose the opportunity to focus on the long term and you have to think about what the real priorities are.”

According to Mercedes sporting director Ron Meadows, one of the consequences of the revamp is that the team will have to sacrifice a lot of what they usually do in practice.

“Finding the best fuel trim settings for qualifying and heavy races will be tricky for engineers and drivers,” he said.

“We’re going to need to maximize laps in FP1, so we probably won’t be planning a setup change that would reduce driver run times. It’s a new way of working that applies to all teams and offers quite a bit of out-of-the-box Chance.”

George Russell, Mercedes W13, Peter Gasly, AlphaTauri AT03

George Russell, Mercedes W13, Peter Gasly, AlphaTauri AT03

Photography: Steve Etherington/ motorsport pictures

Concentrated movements also increase the risk of accidents.

Meadows added: “The new format isn’t going to make a huge difference to how the garage crew operates at the weekend. However, when you add sections that require 100 per cent attack from the drivers and every lap is important to get to the next stage, you There is always a risk of a crash.”

Shovlin also believes that the way qualifying has accumulated without practice will make Saturday morning’s race very tricky.

While drivers are limited to one set of tires each Saturday in qualifying, Shovlin believes it’s unrealistic to expect the best performance in a single lap.

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“It’s unusual that the drivers will go straight to qualifying on Saturday,” Shovlin said. “It’s a tall order to expect immediate one-lap performance from drivers, so I doubt everyone will do multiple laps.

“Medium tires can do multiple laps, but if you don’t have a few sets available, there’s a higher chance of bad luck, for example at a red flag. I think everyone will be on track and busy trying to do laps.”

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Sainz understands Ferrari’s limits: 'Not very competitive around here'

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Despite Carlos Sainz’s solid qualifying performance at his home Grand Prix, starting from second, the Ferrari driver lacked the necessary race pace compared to Red Bull and Mercedes, resulting in him finishing second. Five finishers.

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Tsunoda slams “ridiculous” F1 Spanish GP penalty for Zhou defence

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On lap 56 of 66 in a round dominated by Red Bull driver Max Verstappen, Alfa Romeo driver Zhou used DRS to challenge Tsunoda for 9th on the outside entering Turn 1 right hand.

But as the corner transitioned into Turn 2, Chow appeared to shake his machine to the left, before rejoining the track several car lengths behind Kakuda into the escape lane.

The FIA ​​stewards reviewed the incident and ruled that Zhou was ahead at the apex of Turn 1 and therefore had the right to enter the race room.

As Tsunoda was found violating the International Sports Code, he received a 5-second penalty and dropped to 12th without points. Zhou, meanwhile, scored two points for ninth.

Asked by Autosport about his reaction, Tsunoda said: “It’s a ridiculous penalty and it feels really unfair.”

Recalling his take on events, Tsunoda thought Zhou had “pretended” to run out of space and that there was “definitely” room to keep the Alfa Romeo on track.

He said: “I left the room when I saw (Zhou Lai), I think he gave up early on.

“He went outside and pretended he was being forced out, but he didn’t. Sure enough, there was room outside.

“Obviously I put pressure on him, but there was still space, so I don’t understand why it was a penalty. It felt really unfair, really harsh.”

Yuki Tsunoda, Scuderia AlphaTauri in the paddock

Yuki Tsunoda, Scuderia AlphaTauri in the paddock

Photography: Jack Grant / motorsport pictures

Tsunoda said he was not aware of the penalty until it reached the finish line, and believes drivers and teams should be able to present their defense to the FIA ​​before the final ruling is given.

He said: “After I just heard the checkered flag, I was really happy. But after listening to that radio, I was really disappointed.

“At the same time, (I think) it’s a bit of a curiosity … it’s good to have some discussion with the FIA ​​because they gave five seconds without any discussion and the race was over.

“So, it didn’t feel fair … (I felt) exhausted and flat.”

In contrast, Zhou believes that this is a dunk penalty for Kakuda. He said: “It’s very simple.

“Going into Turn 1 and into the middle, I was in the lead and I actually gave a lot of space. Then I saw that he (and him) didn’t stop.

“(He tried to) release the brakes (but he) drove me away and I had to take avoidance action and (use) the escape route or we would collide.

“So, it was tricky after that because I had a lot of rubbish on my tyres. But in the end, I was able to stay in the right position behind him and regain the position.”

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Hamilton on new contract and chasing Red Bull: ‘Meeting with Toto tomorrow’

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Lewis Hamilton is satisfied after finishing runner-up at the Spanish Grand Prix as the best driver behind Max Verstappen. The British driver was also happy to answer questions about his contract and how he might challenge Verstappen in the future.

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