Horner: Sprint events need more ‘jeopardy’ to excite F1 fans

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Christian Horner is a believer in F1’s Sprint race concept, but the Red Bull chief says more “jeopardy” needs to be added to instill more excitement.

Red Bull’s Max Verstappen was in a league of his own in Saturday’s sprint at The Circuit of the Americas, while the action behind the Dutchman was relatively stagnant from lights to flag.

So far this year, the Saturday afternoon events haven’t produced the frenzy or thrill that were supposed to justify their presence on F1’s schedule.

Furthermore, the 30-minute scraps are often a sign of things to come on Sunday, which dampens a sense of anticipation.

“I think you have got to add a bit more jeopardy to it,” explained Horner in Austin.

“Whether you do a reverse top 10 or something, but then you've got to add enough points to it to make it worth the drivers to really go for it.

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“It still doesn't quite feel...[special when] you win a sprint race. Obviously, it doesn't mean quite as much as a grand prix, but I think that we're in a process where we need to be open to change and evolution.

“I think that the concept is fine, but I think the execution, we can do a better job in making it more exciting for the viewer.”


From the outset, Verstappen has never hidden his negative stance on the sprint concept which he believes takes away part of the thunder of the Grand Prix proper.

“If I would be a fan, I would just be disappointed because then you more or less know about the picture,” he said.

“If nothing crazy happens, you know what's going to happen tomorrow [in the grand prix] so I find that it takes away that magic of waking up on a Sunday morning or whatever, Sunday afternoon, and you turn on the TV and you’ve had qualifying, but you're not sure which car is going to be quickest in most of the years.”

Adding some weight to Verstappen’s argument, US Grand Prix promoter Bobby Epstein revealed that adding the sprint to the weekend’s action at COTA had not boosted ticket sales for Saturday, a fact supported by the many empty seats in the grandstands on Saturday.

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