Todt no fan of sprint qualifying: 'I don't think F1 needs it'

FIA president Jean Todt believes that Formula 1 doesn't need to rely on a novel concept such as... The post Todt no fan of sprint qualifying: 'I don't think F1 needs it' appeared first on F1i.com.

Todt no fan of sprint qualifying: 'I don't think F1 needs it'

FIA president Jean Todt believes that Formula 1 doesn't need to rely on a novel concept such as sprint qualifying, but the Frenchman has always been open to trialing the idea.

Next month's British Grand Prix will see a historic change to the weekend's format, with FP2 on Friday replaced by a qualifying session that will determine the grid for a sprit race on Saturday afternoon that will itself form the grid for Sunday's race.

F1 plans on trialing the format at two other venues this season, one of which will likely be Monza.

The concept was tabled last winter and favorably voted upon by the teams as an full scale experiment to gauge the F1 fan community and the broadcasters' interest.

Todt admitted that he wasn't enthusiastic about the idea from the outset and insisted that the Saturday mad dash not be called "a race" in order to help safeguard the value of Sunday's show.

"Number one, we don't call that a race," Todt said at the French GP. "I had part of the responsibility of not calling that a race.

"For me the race is on Sunday. If you ask me if I'm a big fan of that, the answer is no.

"I don't think F1 needs it. But on the other side, if people want to try something, it's not going to hurt the race on Sunday.

"It will be a different way of having a starting grid on Sunday. So it costs nothing to try.

"I'm curious to see what will come out. But I'm sure that it will not damage the race on Sunday.

"People may say it was more interesting on Saturday than on Sunday, but that's not too big a risk for the image and for the credibility of the of the championship."

  • Read also: F1 right to visit countries with human rights issues - Todt

Reflecting more broadly on F1 and on how the sport has negotiated the past twelve months marked by the Covid-19 pandemic, Todt praised the "remarkable" job done by the entire F1 community.

"We all know that we are going through a difficult time," said the Frenchman who will retire at the helm of the FIA at the end of the year.

"And I think the job everybody has been contributing to make all that happening is absolutely remarkable.

"I usually say that it's in difficult times that you see the strength together, and I think it has been the result of a combination since we restarted the championship last July, almost one year ago.

"This week, we should not be should not have been here, incidentally, it should have been next week. We are going to face three grands prix in a row. Every time it has been a problem, a solution has been found."

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Ocon seeking return to points in Austria after French GP dud

Alpine's Esteban Ocon says he'll be seeking a return to the first half of the grid in Austria... The post Ocon seeking return to points in Austria after French GP dud appeared first on F1i.com.

Ocon seeking return to points in Austria after French GP dud

Alpine's Esteban Ocon says he'll be seeking a return to the first half of the grid in Austria after failing to score points in his home race last weekend at Paul Ricard.

Ocon qualified P11 in France but was never really a contender for points during a race that proved challenging due to tyre management, and more specifically during his first stint on Pirelli's hard compound rubber.

Ocon's pitstop after 28 laps and swap to the medium tyre left the Alpine charger a lowly 17th from where he managed to progress to P14 by the time he crossed the checkered flag.

But the disappointing result, that contrasted with teammate Fernando Alonso's decent run to P8, clearly left the Frenchman and Alpine with some analysis work on its hands ahead of this week's Styrian Grand Prix.

"I was disappointed with the race in France," unsurprisingly admits Ocon. "We just couldn’t get into a rhythm in the race, especially on the first stint with the Hard tyres.

"It was very difficult to manage and it gives us some thinking to do to make sure we’re not in a similar situation this weekend.

"Tyres have been a key area in Austria in the past years, so we have some preparation to do this weekend to make sure we’re back in the points.

"I’m certainly motivated and ready for the challenge."

Last year, Austria's double-header opened the Covid-delayed 2020 season, but the venue was also the scene of Ocon's return to active duty in F1 with Renault after a year on the sidelines as a Mercedes reserve.

However, this year's rounds at the Red Bull Ring have take on a completely different complexion compared to last season's events.

"One thing that will be different this time around is that we’ll have fans in Austria and that’s exciting," he says.

"Having fans in the grandstands, like in France, brings a whole new level of atmosphere and a real buzz. I really enjoy that, and I look forward to seeing the fans again this weekend.

"Austria is quite a unique circuit especially with its location in the hills. I really like that, though, as it’s not where you’d expect to have a racetrack!

"It’s a really beautiful location, so to spend two weeks there is always nice. I have some good memories at this track as it’s where I had one of my first podiums back in Formula Renault in 2012.

"Last year too, I had my best qualifying with the team in the wet, which was a lot of fun. Hopefully there are some more nice memories for us to make there.

  • Read also: Alpine performance level at Paul Ricard 'a relief' - Alonso

Speilberg's layout is perhaps the least complicated and one of the shortest on the F1 calendar, but that just enhances the need to "extract" everything from the car stresses Ocon.

"While it’s a short lap, just over one-minute, it places a focus on extracting everything from the car and getting every corner right," adds the 24-year-old.

"There are nine corners, which might sound easy as it’s less to learn, but actually everything has to be maximised.

"Small details are crucial to doing well in Austria. My favourite part of the lap is the double left-hander at Turns 6 and 7. They’re pretty quick and very enjoyable when you get them right."

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