Karun Chandhok on How He’d Improve Formula 1: “A Saturday Sprint Race Would Create Something Different”

by Steven Batey

Former Formula 1 driver Karun Chandhok believes that the introduction of a sprint race would benefit the championship in the future.

Speaking at the 2020 Autosport International show in Birmingham, Sky Sports F1 pundit Chandhok was asked how he’d improve the sport and came up with his idea of a possible solution. He said: “If it was up to me I’d make several changes. I’d have one friday Free Practice session with every team having to run a young driver and then an afternoon session for the regular drivers.”

“I’d move qualifying to the Saturday morning but keep the format as it is – it works really well and that would set the grid for the race on the Sunday but I’d have a sprint race with half points and the top 10 reversed to form the grid.”

“To make sure teams would still want to compete, you’d need to give them half points at only half the length of a normal GP. Say for example a normal race lasts 90 minutes, make the sprint one 45 but still make sure to offer points as that keeps everyone interested and forces everyone to be part of it.”

The talk of potential new rule adjustments has been a common theme in the F1 world in recent times, especially given the new regulations that come into force in 2021 and Chanhok was adamant that a sprint race could be something to improve Formula One.

He continued: “Because there’s a decent haul of points up for grabs, it would mean the teams design cars that would be suitable for overtaking. I think you’d be creating something that would be appealing on a Saturday afternoon and you’d be creating something different that people would want to watch – something similar to T20 cricket being different to the other formats of that sport.”

“One of the other things to make sure is not to do this at every single round – it wouldn’t work at Monaco for example, but pick maybe eight rounds to do it at. You’d create something different because the cars are now so reliable especially with the development of simulators so I don’t think there’s need for four hours of practice anymore. And you’re giving rookies the chance to do some testing too – something that’s obviously limited with the testing rules.”

The 2020 FIA Formula 1 World Championship gets underway with the Australian Grand Prix on March 17.

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