Formula 1’s new sprint format has largely failed to win the support of fans according to a survey commissioned by the series.

But the sport intends to press ahead with plans to hold more sprint rounds next year.

Over 167,000 fans responded to the Global F1 Fan Survey, details of which were published today, showing a small majority of 6.7% agreed that the “introduction of sprint race has improved the show”.

More popular ideas included adding a race for third drivers (which had 7.7% support) and reintroducing refuelling during races (9.3%). Other even more popular suggestions were allowing multiple tyre suppliers (38.5%), which older fans especially supported, and “Leave drivers free to race without intervention, except for dangerous driving” (39.5%).

“Sprint races are viewed as having marginally improved the F1 show,” noted the official report on the survey.

Earlier this month F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali said the “vast majority of the comments that we receive are totally positive” about sprint qualifying.

Speaking today Domenicali said he was pleased with the response the format had received, which he believes is much more popular among new fans than existing ones.

“The number is very, very encouraging because you need to consider that we see for what we receive as a figure the mixed feeling of having more traditional fan, less happy for the change, while the new fans are really happy to see things are moving in a different way,” said Domenicali.

Sprint qualifying events are being trialled at every race this year. Domenicali stressed they will not be introduced for every race weekend, which was opposed by a majority of 43% of those who responded. “We are not even thinking to go with other grands prix in a different format,” he said.

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Domenicali indicated an increase to six sprint events is planned for the 2022 F1 season, as RaceFans previously reported. The format may be altered, but Domenicali indicated it will not involve a reverse grid, which was opposed by a majority of 51.5%.

“We believe that we can create a very fixed number that will be, I think, six [sprint events] in the [near] future with this format,” he said. “With changes that we are thinking, together with the teams, in order to improve the quality of the offer.

“But as you can see, and this is something that is current with what we don’t want to do, is the reverse grid, that in this research has clearly not been given a great appetite. But we know that is not part of the discussion we are having.”

Despite the lukewarm reception to the format so far, Domenicali is hopeful F1 can find a balance which will appeal to new and old fans of the sport.

“I think that it is encouraging and the trend is confirmed by this kind of mix: The avid or traditional fans versus the new fans. And that’s why this is really the right place where we need to find the right compromise.”

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