Well well well, look who it is, if it isn't the weird kid in school we all tried to avoid at all costs, Sprint Races. They were introduced last season in Formula 1 in an attempt to help bring some more bums on seats and eyes on the screen.
The idea is simple, there is something meaningful happening every single day of the race weekend. A qualifying on Friday, Sprint on Saturday and the race on Sunday. Last season the grid for the sprint was determined by the qualifying and then the order for the race was determined by where the drivers finished in the sprint. The first, second and third place Sprint drivers were awarded 3, 2 and 1 points respectively for where they finished.
On the surface this was a great idea, until you realise what this means. I mean from a fans point of view it means we don't have two boring Free Practice sessions on the Friday and there is something of importance every day. The problem is the cost to the team, they don't want to spend money on components for cars, F1 cars are apparently pretty expensive, so have a driver drive it into a fucking wall will piss a few people off. Especially now with a cost cap in place, it's even more important that teams don't cause any unnecessary damage to the cars and racing in more races will only increase the likelihood of parts needing to be replaced and therefor penalties applied.
What we are really left with is essentially 15 or 16 formation laps. Other than Hamilton being penalised and sent to the back of the grid and getting to watch him overtake a bunch of tractors out there, there is really nothing to talk about. The disappointing thing about last season being so close was that Formula 1 are sitting back going, 'yea, we made it that close, because sprint races were in there.'
So initially they wanted 7 or 8 Sprint events for this season, however they've changed their mind and decided to give us 3, one in Austria, 1 in Brazil and 1 in Imola. But that's not all, they've obviously head us say how fucking pointless and horrible Sprint Races are and that they don't really mean anything, drivers and teams hate it, and then they said FUCK IT! Sprint Races mean everything, if you win a Sprint now, you get 8 points instead of 3, 2nd place gets 7 and so on and so forth down to 8th place who gets 1. This now means there will be some fighting from the top of the grid at least down to 10th or 11th, with now only the last 9 drivers looking after their cars and staying out of harms way.
Now I applaud Formula 1, they want to capitalise on the new audience from Drive to Survive and they want to ensure that the races and title chase is always interesting and there's something of significance happening all the time. They've heard the voice from the fans and decided to at least try and improve the Sprints, now I don't have the perfect solution, but I believe that at least trying new things is good for the sport. Because you don't want to Kodak yourself out of business, fall behind, not adapt to the new audience, not embrace the digital camera because you sell film. F1 can't keep catering to the old white men in business suits and the billionaires that jet set around the world, F1 needs to adapt and evolve, start focusing on the young kids, they are going to bring more money to the sport that the billionaires of the world.
What do you guys think? Are Sprints going to now be half decent, are they now going to be something that teams and drivers care about? Let me know over on the socials, @parcitinmyferme on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.