Connect with us


Why F1 team bosses want changes to sprint format they created



F1 team principals have mixed feelings about Baku’s performance over the weekend, possibly influenced in some cases by their own team’s performance.

Any such discussions must be held in the correct context. First, the principles of sprint weekends have been established over the past two seasons, and it’s clear they’re not going away, so the debate is about the specific changes to the format last weekend.

So in effect Baku is being compared to the previous format, which included Saturday’s FP2 session, which, while useful for race tire preparation, was otherwise largely redundant.

Secondly, there is always a risk of drawing too much from any one sample, so F1 will need to wait and see how it fares in Austria and Spa, the next two sprints on the calendar.

In the end, Baku was an unusual case, as the nature of its street race meant carnage and mayhem were to be expected – yet that didn’t materialize in the sprint itself or in the main race.

Changes to the main direct DRS activation point – unrelated to the sprint format itself – appear to have reduced the level of passing we saw in Azerbaijan.

Separating the sprint from the grand prix grid is intended to encourage drivers to take more risks, but given the nature of the track, they are all too aware that mistakes in the sprints can be costly, and not just in terms of cost caps.

Perhaps in Austria, where a wide runoff allows for more profit margins, they will be closer to the limit and take more risks.

As for team owners, the prevailing opinion is to scrutinize Baku first and then probably wait to see what happens next sprint.

Toto Wolff, Mercedes-AMG Team Principal and CEO

Toto Wolff, Mercedes-AMG Team Principal and CEO

Photography: Simon Galloway/ motorsport pictures

“I’m not sure I’m a fan,” Mercedes boss Toto Wolff told Autosport. “But I think it’s definitely the right decision to try it out and see if we like it. That’s what it’s about to implement it quickly.

“It’s more about what’s best for F1 at the sprint weekend, I don’t have an answer yet. I think we need to work together.”

“I think the current form is going well,” said Ferrari’s Fred Vassell. “Let’s look after Austria. We don’t want to jump to conclusions. I think the format is very dynamic and good for everyone.”

“I don’t think there’s anything wrong with it,” Haas boss Gunther Steiner said. “Obviously you always need to see what you can do better, but we don’t have to panic about changing something just to change. We need to analyze and see how good it is or how bad it is, or whether it needs to be changed or not.”

“I think the form is good,” said McLaren’s Andrea Stella. “From a team operations standpoint, it’s going to keep you very busy. I don’t think it needs to happen very often because it can be bloated. I think it could hurt the overall business.”

There is leeway built into the revised sporting rules, allowing race director Nils Vetic to authorize last-minute changes in Baku with the agreement of the eight teams before sending them to the entire World Motor Sport Council for a more permanent repair. The same applies to the next sprint weekend in Austria and Spa.

The revised rules moved through the FIA ​​system at unprecedented speed, with some anomalies.

Allowing teams to deploy all new softs on Friday and thus leaving no softs for Saturday’s SQ3 was not the original intention, as Yuki Tsunoda and Lando Norris did. But the FIA’s efforts to try to prevent that from happening have not had the necessary support from the eight teams.

The bigger loophole that McLaren is prepared to exploit is that the penalty race rules don’t explicitly prevent you from using the middle tire for a token lap if you don’t have the soft tires left over for the SQ3, which is what the Woking team is prepared to do Well done but didn’t as a possible grid position for Norris didn’t materialize.

Lando Norris, McLaren

Lando Norris, McLaren

Photography: Andrew Ferraro / motorsport pictures

Both of these bugs could be properly addressed ahead of Austria, although there could be more sweeping changes to tire usage in the shootout.

Another big area of ​​contention is the parc ferme, with teams having to finalize their specifications after a single FP1 session for the rest of the weekend.

Everyone knew it was going to be tough, but teams like Alpine and McLaren made calculated bets and brought in significant upgrade packages despite only having an hour of FP1 to correlate them and set up their cars.

It’s for this reason that others, notably Ferrari, only brought low-drag Baku wings, rather than something more comprehensive.

Alpine was hit hard when reliability issues limited the movement of both drivers in FP1 and the team had to guess for the shootout and beyond. Then things unraveled over the course of the weekend.

In fact, with Esteban Ocon’s car, the Enstone team had to break the parc ferme, forcing the Frenchman to give up his grid position both in the sprint and the race.

Not surprisingly, Alpine boss Otmar Szafnauer wants to see more freedom.

Also read:

“We had some issues on Friday that limited our run, we only had three laps per driver and then we went into the parc ferme,” said the American. “Maybe we should look at it. Because you’re in the park the rest of the weekend.

“So if you want to change, like we had to do on Esteban’s car, so we don’t wear down the planks too much and it’s illegal, you’re changing it in the parc ferme. That’s what we have to think about We have to think clearly about the use of tires.”

Red Bull boss Christian Horner is also in favor of a little more flexibility in the changes to the car.

“I think overall it has a lot of positives,” he said. “I like the fact that the sprint race is decoupled from the grand prix.

“I think the parc ferme, after an hour on the green track is locked in a setup and we should look at extending it. That’s my point, maybe you should still be able to make changes from Friday night to Saturday .”

However, Haas boss Gunther Steiner, who had to give the green light to Nico Hulkenberg’s call to make a change and start from the pit lane, warned it was not so clear cut.

“Setups change these days and they always involve parts,” he noted. “It’s different from the past. Now you can’t even change the ride height without installing new parts. Even the toe, you can’t change without installing parts.

“I don’t think the problem is with us, I don’t think the FIA ​​can keep up with the demands of the job. I think it’s the FIA ​​that sets the rules and they need to solve this problem, we can’t solve this problem.”

Haas VF-23's Nico Hulkenberg arrives on grid

Haas VF-23’s Nico Hulkenberg arrives on grid

Photography: Andy Horn / motorsport pictures

Others prefer to leave parc ferme as it is the same for everyone – of course it offers the opportunity to gain a competitive advantage if a team simulates correctly and gets up and running in FP1.

“You’ve seen some teams choose to start from the pits and tune their cars if they’ve lost time,” said Aston Martin’s Mike Clarke. “Alpine lost a lot of time in FP1, so they chose to change the setup of the car.

“I think we can safely say we’re not at our best, we’re not at our best in a couple of ways, but that’s what the new format brings.

“I think it’s also a little bit deliberate. I think we’ve somehow kept the DNA that fast cars can qualify up front, but you reduce (the chance) that you have absolute order at all times.

“It’s a bit of a mess, but it’s not totally messed up, and I think from that perspective, it’s a step in the right direction.”

It was for this reason that Mercedes had an average weekend.

“We’re far, far away,” Wolf said. “I think we made suboptimal setup decisions after and during FP1.

“At that moment we realized it was too late and the car then drove into the parc ferme. Everyone was the same, everyone was rolling the dice and who guessed right.”

Others had happier experiences.

“We didn’t have any problems,” Tost said. “I think the FIA ​​is cooperative and as far as I know it works well. If you start a fire in a car in FP1, it’s not easy.

“We just have to put everything together because if you have a problem with the car in FP1, you’re screwed. So, for me, that’s acceptable.”

Haas F1 Team Principal Guenther Steiner

Haas F1 Team Principal Guenther Steiner

Photography: Andy Horn / motorsport pictures

Another aspect of the parc ferme, as Steiner points out, is the enormous workload it places on the FIA ​​because it’s launched so early in the weekend.

Teams tend to need to make more reliability changes after a sprint than after a practice session or a normal Saturday qualifying session.

A series of major accidents involving Pierre Gasly, Nyck de Vries and Logan Sargeant, all of which led to major rebuilding, these Both have been added to the FIA’s job list in Baku.

Whether relaxing parc ferme rules will make things easier for the FIA ​​remains to be seen, as technical delegate Joe Bauer and his colleagues may still have to check what is and isn’t allowed, but it could be an option.

The good news is that there are still a few weeks until the next sprint at the Red Bull track, so there is time to fully analyze what could have been better.


Vandoorne to drive Aston Martin F1 car in Pirelli tyre test at Spa




Aston reserve driver Vandoorne will share driving duties with team principal Lance Stroll, while Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri will each drive a day for McLaren.

It will be the Belgian’s first time driving an active F1 car on track since December 2020 when he represented Mercedes in Abu Dhabi testing.

While the Spa test will focus on Pirelli’s no-carpet tyres, it will give Vandoorne a valuable opportunity to sample the 2023 car, helping him correlate with Aston Martin’s simulator work.

If either Stroll or Fernando Alonso were unwell at any point for the rest of the season, his life would also be made easier.

The 31-year-old shared the Aston substitute with defending Formula Two champion Felipe Drugovich, and the two took turns on call.

Dubovic drove the AMR23 for two days during the Bahrain test in February, when Stroll was not present, and he had the opportunity to test drive the AMR23. Since then, the Brazilian has continued to rack up more miles in private testing of the 2021 car.

Stoffel Vandoorne, Reserve Driver, Aston Martin F1 Team

Stoffel Vandoorne, Reserve Driver, Aston Martin F1 Team

Photography: Mark Sutton/ motorsport pictures

As well as his role at Aston, Vandoorne is one of McLaren’s backup drivers and his performance at Spa will also make it easier for him to step into the MCL60 should the need arise.

As well as giving him a general feel for downforce levels for 2023, the two cars share the Mercedes powerplant and thus have similar settings on their respective steering wheels.

Also read:

Vandoorne made his F1 debut for McLaren in Bahrain in 2016, replacing current Aston team-mate Alonso.

He then completed two full seasons in 2017 and 2018, the first with Honda power and the second with Renault. He finished 16th at the World Championships in both seasons, with a best finish of seventh.

He was dropped by McLaren at the end of 2018, but has since rebuilt his career in Formula E, winning the 2021-22 championship for Mercedes and serving as an F1 substitute.

He currently drives for the DS Penske Formula E team and is also a substitute for the Peugeot WEC team.

Continue Reading


McLaren “true contenders” for F1 best of the rest tag




McLaren has only scored one point after three rounds in 2023 as it struggles to find the car competitive.

But both Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri have seen plenty of upgrades in recent races, allowing the former to finish second in a row, while Piastri has finished in the top five in each of his past two races.

Despite being 136 points behind second-placed Mercedes in the constructors’ championship, Russell believes McLaren is a real threat for the remainder of the race behind leaders Red Bull.

“Obviously they’re a real contender for second fastest team,” Russell said of Woking.

“Oddly enough, Aston Martin was clearly second at the start of the year.

“And they don’t seem to be that competitive now. Ferrari haven’t made much progress. McLaren has made huge progress.

“So without McLaren we’d be very, very happy with the progress we’ve made. Leading the midfield, widening the gap and closing in on Red Bull.

“McLaren has just fully embraced it. But that makes you optimistic that bigger strides are possible.

“I believe in my team. I think it gives us the confidence and optimism to take this step towards Red Bull.

“We’re not too focused on McLaren, Aston or Ferrari. We’re focused on Red Bull. We’re trying to make that big step.”

George Russell, Mercedes F1 W14

George Russell, Mercedes F1 W14

Photography: Steve Etherington/ motorsport pictures

Russell fought his way back from 18th on the grid at last weekend’s Hungarian Grand Prix, jumping to sixth at the checkered flag after Mercedes strategists told him 11th was his favorite.

Russell was pleased with the final result, but felt it was “proof” of a “missed opportunity” for Hungary.

Also read:

“The strategy tells me that if we maximize everything, the P11 is the most realistic, the P7 is the most realistic,” Russell told Autosport.

“Sixth place without a safety car, without a VSC, it’s a really great result.

“But it also proved that this weekend could be a missed opportunity. I believe I could have gone there with Lewis yesterday, it’s one of my favorite circuits and the car always does well here.

“When you have two cars out there, fighting for second gives you more options, and Lewis is also very strong. If things turned out a little differently, he would also be P2.

“So as a missed opportunity we will learn from it. But the positive side is we are leading Aston and Ferrari.”

Continue Reading


Top speed, car sizes, race weekends and more compared




Formula 1 has relied on junior classes to develop the next generation of drivers, and its teams are eager to snag their brightest talent.

The ‘old’ Formula 2 car was a ruleset rather than its own separate entity, sometimes sharing the grid with F1, and later rule changes made the two cars separate championships.

The second class was renamed the F3000 in 1985 as the series switched to a naturally aspirated engine formula and extended the life of the earlier Cosworth DFV lineage. Throughout the life of the F3000, different engine and chassis suppliers came and went, with companies including Reynard, Lola, Ralt and March among them, all producing cars before the championship became a single specification.

When the F3000 championship began to fade due to declining team interest and declining track quality, the second level of racing was reborn in 2005. Bernie Ecclestone tried to bring the junior championship to F1’s bottom line and, along with Flavio Briatore and Bruno Michel, helped build the GP2 series.

GP2 became the FIA ​​Formula Two Championship in 2017, but many key hallmarks of GP2’s early series have stood the test of time. The GP3 series, a third-tier category designed to compete with the myriad Formula 3 championships around it, was added to the F1 Act in 2010 and became FIA ​​Formula 3 in 2019.

There are major differences in the way F2 is run compared to F1, there are subtle changes in form and there are big differences in the overall performance of the cars. The following are the key areas of comparison between F1 and F2.

F1 vs. F2 – key differences


Formula 1

Formula Two

top speed

220+ mph

208 mph

Minimum weight including driver

798 kg

788 kg




engine size

1.6 liter V6

3.4 liter V6

Approximate Power

1,000 horsepower

620 hp

car size

5.63m x 2m x 0.95m

5.22m x 1.9m x 1.09m

tire size

18 inches

18 inches

game every weekend

One (two for sprint weekends)

Two (one sprint, one feature)

game length

305 km/190 miles

Sprint – 120 km/74.5 miles

Features – 170 km/105.6 miles






twenty two

2023 Pole Times – Red Bull Ring

1 point 04.391

1 meter 14,643

2023 Pole Times – Monaco

1 meter 11.365

1 meter 21.053

2023 Pole Times – Silverstone

1 meter 26.720

1 meter 39,832

Current single-spec F2 cars can be seen as simpler, smaller versions of F1 cars

Current single-spec F2 cars can be seen as simpler, smaller versions of F1 cars

Photography: Simon Galloway/ motorsport pictures

What is the difference between F1 and F2 racing?

In F1, each team designs its own chassis according to a set of well-defined technical regulations laid down by the FIA. For the 2022 ruleset, the FIA ​​has updated the wording of the rules to better define the bounding box within which bodies can be developed and build a system more in line with the proliferation of available CAD products.

It features a range of safety systems such as a roll cage, halo and anti-intrusion panels mounted around the monocoque. There are also anti-collision structures on the side, front and rear of the car to minimize the impact on the driver in the car.

F2 is a single-spec series with all teams using the Dallara F2 2018 model. The car and driver must weigh a minimum of 788kg and feature F1 standard safety features such as the aforementioned crash structures and halos. Use only parts supplied by Dallara, Hewland or sold by F2 promoters.

F2 cars use floor venturi tunnels, which F1 adopts in 2022, 40 years after banning ground-effect aerodynamics. These designs aren’t as extreme as those in F1, but they work on the same principle, and the car is also enhanced with front and rear wings to create downforce. Like F1, F2 cars are fitted with a Drag Reduction System (DRS), which operates on the same parameters as its parent series.

While F1 cars typically reach speeds in excess of 220 mph during a race, with DRS switched on, an F2 car could theoretically hit 208 mph at full low downforce.

What is the difference between F1 and F2 tires?

Pirelli supplies all championships on the official F1 ladder, and F2 and F3 also use the Italian company’s rubber.

F2 started using 18-inch tires in 2020, two years before entering F1. F2 tires are slightly narrower than F1 tires and generally have less grip because of the naturally lower speeds of the junior series cars.

There are four dry-weather tire compounds for the F2: hard, medium, soft and supersoft – with the first three using the same white, yellow and red color coding as the F1. Extra soft textures are indicated by purple text on the side walls. Each car is supplied with five sets of dry weather tires per wheel, consisting of two of the prescribed compounds, with a set of “premium” tires to be returned after practice. Three sets of wet tires are also available – the F2 has no intermediate compound.

Tire blankets are banned in F2, meaning drivers must warm up their tires naturally. This often creates a larger offset during the pit stops, with drivers leaving the pits vulnerable to those who have already completed laps in the new group.

The “primary” and “option” compounds (harder tires are the main tires and softer tires are the options) must be used during featured races, and pit stops are required to replace them. Tire parking is allowed during a sprint, but not mandatory. Since only two dry compounds are used each weekend, Pirelli and F2 decide which tire to use before the weekend. There may be a single step in the compound (for example, medium and soft), or there may be a larger step for greater excursions (for example, medium and extra soft).

620bhp Mecachrome F2 engine

620bhp Mecachrome F2 engine

Photography: Sutton Images

What is the difference between F1 and F2 powertrains?

F1 has used a turbo-hybrid system since 2014, with a turbocharger and a motor-generator set on the rear axle to form a hybrid package. The internal combustion engine is a 1.6-liter V6. By 2022, F1 engines run on E10 fuel, where 10% of the fuel composition consists of combustibles of biosourced origin.

The MGU-K in an F1 car can produce up to 160bhp for a total power output of around 1000bhp. Figures for F1’s current four powertrain manufacturers (Ferrari, Mercedes, Renault and Red Bull Powertrain) vary but are all believed to have efficiencies in excess of 50%.

F2’s single-spec powertrain is produced by French manufacturer Mecachrome, which briefly participated in F1 in 1998 and 1999, and took over Renault’s engine program. The Mecachrome unit was a 3.4-litre V6 engine, virtually the same one used in the F3, but with a modified turbocharger from Van der Lee. It produces around 620bhp and is driven by a six-speed Hewland gearbox.

To ensure fairness in powertrain supply, Mecachrome units are randomly assigned to teams, as there may be minor differences in overall power output.

F2 is currently being used as a test bed to assist F1 in developing more sustainable fuel, using Aramco-produced fuel with 55% of its content from sustainable bio-sources, with the aim of increasing this figure to 100% by 2026/27. The Saudi oil brand replaced longtime supplier Elf as the sole producer of the F2 fuel.

How much does F1 cost compared to F2?

In recent years, Formula 1 has been constrained by a cost cap of about $135 million through 2023, with some minor adjustments for inflation and other ancillary costs. The cost cap covers most development and operating costs, but excludes driver salaries, salaries of the team’s three highest-paid employees, travel costs and marketing expenses. As Red Bull found out in 2022, violating this cap carries a range of penalties depending on the extent of the overrun.

The bulk of this budget comes from the FIA’s prize money, investment and sponsorship mix. Some teams, such as Red Bull and Mercedes, are self-sufficient in terms of bonuses and sponsors and do not require direct input from their ownership structures.

F2 teams have much smaller budgets, and with the series’ fairly limited reach, teams will rarely start the season with a full sponsor portfolio ready to fund every race. As such, drivers should pay for their rides through their own sponsors or a driver academy.

Depending on the team, the budget of an F2 driver can vary from 2 million to 3 million euros, and can even exceed this budget to get a seat in a better team. To keep costs down, F2 limited the number of employees working on each car on race weekends and designed the cars to be relatively cheap. A team can buy a complete F2 car, without the engine, for around 500,000 euros.

George Russell, Lando Norris and Charles Leclerc are recent notable F2 graduates entering F1

George Russell, Lando Norris and Charles Leclerc are recent notable F2 graduates entering F1

Photography: Glenn Dunbar/ motorsport pictures

How do drivers get from F2 to F1?

To compete in F2, drivers must hold an A or B international FIA license. They cannot conduct private tests on F2 machines, only the group tests offered by the series. There are also restrictions on the single-seater cars that drivers can test in private, and if a driver is double-duty in another category, they must commit to racing in F2 in the event of any conflict.

Depending on a driver’s final standing at the end of the F2 season, they may receive Superlicense points to help qualify for F1. To obtain a super license to compete in F1, a driver needs to earn 40 points.

The distribution of Super License points is:

end of season position

SL points

first place


second place


third place


fourth place


the fifth place


sixth place


Number 7


number 8




No. 10


These can be applied cumulatively over the course of three seasons.

F1 VS F2 weekend format

F1 has been running in the same basic format for years, with FP1 and FP2 taking place on Fridays, each one hour long. FP3 races are also one hour long and take place on the Saturday before the three-stage qualifying format in place since 2006. F1 races must be at least 305 kilometers in length (excluding Monaco) and must not exceed two hours in duration, with a three-hour window if any red flags are raised.

However, sprint weekends are different and that changes for 2023. The only practice session kicked off with Friday’s race, followed by qualifying for Sunday’s Grand Prix. Sprint qualifying and the race are both held on Saturdays, with 2023 seeing six sprint weekends for added variety.

F2 has a practice session lasting 45 minutes on Friday, with a half-hour qualifying session later in the day. It’s effectively a time trial and drivers just need to maintain the fastest lap at the end of the race to secure pole for Sunday’s race.

Many F1 teams have junior drivers in F2 teams

Many F1 teams have junior drivers in F2 teams

Photography: Red Bull Content Pool

The sprint race takes place on Saturday, using the same grid as qualifying, but with the top ten swapped. The number of laps “equal to the minimum number of complete laps over a distance of 120 km (100 km in Monaco)”, according to the 10-8-6-5-4-3-2-1 scoring system, the score is finally dropped to eighth place, and the fastest lap points are awarded to the top 10 competitors.

The F2 weekend’s featured race “should be equal to the minimum number of complete laps over a distance of 170km (140km in Monaco, 160km in Budapest)”. It features mandatory pit stops where drivers must use both primary and optional compounds during the race. If a driver pits before completing the sixth lap, the mandatory stop does not count. This information is also not recorded if a driver stops under the Virtual Safety Car unless they are already in the pits when the VSC is triggered.

F2 attempted three weekend races in 2021, but the practice was generally unpopular and canceled for 2022 due to gaps left on the calendar. Prior to this, the main race was held on Saturday, and the starting position of the sprint race was determined by the results and the reversal of the top eight.

Continue Reading