Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff on Saturday dismissed Formula One’s experimental sprint format as “not fish, not meat,” adding that it was not doing much for the sport either.
The 100km qualifying race was trialed for the second time at the Italian Grand Prix at Monza, but drivers struggled to overtake.
Mercedes’ seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton made a poor start and ended up fourth on the grid for yesterday’s main race, with title rival Max Verstappen putting his Red Bull on pole.
Valtteri Bottas won the sprint for Mercedes, leading all the way, but the Finn was to start last yesterday due to engine penalties.
Ferrari boss Mattia Binotto has suggested reverse grids could be used next season.
Wolff told reporters he felt the experiments were “diluting the DNA of the sport as a meritocracy.”
“I think the sprint races was worth the try, not sure we will keep them,” he said.
“Reverse grids can be done in junior formulas, where you want to see the overtaking abilities of drivers, but it’s not something we should even come close to in Formula One,” he added.
Wolff said his preference would be to reduce the amount of practice time.
“Start Friday afternoon with FP1 [first practice], do a Saturday morning FP2, do a conventional qualifying like we do and a fantastic grand prix on Sunday,” he said.
The Austrian said that everybody was confused with the sprint format and it “doesn’t give a lot of benefit” because nobody was prepared to take a serious risk.
Formula One managing director for motorsport Ross Brawn said it had been a “little bit quiet” at the front of the field, but that happened in races anyway and the potential was evident.
“I think it’s added to the whole weekend,” he said.
The Briton said drivers had been generally positive, but some felt there should be more reward for the sprint and also more jeopardy.
“If we’re doing that, then maybe a stand-alone event is a consideration. Qualifying on a Friday, race on a Sunday, but a stand-alone event with some decent reward, but maybe a little bit of jeopardy in the grid and how you start it,” he said.
“We don’t want gimmicks, we don’t want to cannibalize, we don’t want to affect the integrity,” he added.
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