The debut of F1 Sprint at Silverstone saw F1 fans treated to some thrilling action – with FIA Race Director Michael Masi saying he was ‘proud’ of the work that had been done to get the format up and running.
The Sprint format saw the weekend’s now-traditional running order shaken up, with qualifying taking place on Friday evening, followed by the 100km Sprint on Saturday afternoon, with the result from the Sprint setting the grid for Sunday’s British Grand Prix.
And reflecting on how the first F1 Sprint weekend had gone, Masi told the media: “I think the first event has been a success and we’ve seen it’s been amazing to have a full crowd here at the British Grand Prix.
“Everyone should be proud of what we achieved. Looking back, the original intention… gave three competitive elements across three days of the event, which for the viewers, the spectators, the public and the fans has its benefits.
F1 Sprint Highlights: 2021 British Grand Prix
“There was always an open mind from the FIA, F1 and the teams that we would take the first event, see what improvements could be made,” he added. “Overall I think there’s one little element one team brought up which is inconsequential, it’s just something to think about that will be discussed.
“For Monza, we’ll sit down openly with everyone, take on any feedback and make any amendments we may need to make before Monza.”
Meanwhile, Masi went on to admit that the shortness of the Sprint format – won by Red Bull’s Max Verstappen in just under 26 minutes – had caught him slightly off-guard.
“The structure of a Grand Prix weekend has been quite stable for a number of years, so [the Sprint] was quite intense,” said Masi. “By the time you get through those first few laps and you hear the call we get over the radio, ‘10 laps to go’ and you go, ‘Jesus where’s that gone?’ You have to remind yourself.
2021 British GP F1 Sprint: Räikkönen and Stroll touch on first lap
“But I thought it was good,” he added. “The excitement, Kimi [Raikkonen] and Fernando [Alonso], their overtaking off the start, all added to the spectacle and from what I understand it came across well from a spectators’ perspective… Speaking to friends around the globe, they liked it because it was different.
“Do I see it having a place at every event? No. Is it a different format – and F1’s been quite open in saying we’re looking at possibilities of different formats at different events in the future? Absolutely.”