Alonso: F1 Sprint weekends now ‘a game of who runs less’


Aston Martin's Fernando Alonso believes that Formula 1’s revised Sprint format prioritizes tyre conservation, leading to a game of “who runs less” in Friday’s single practice session.

Under the Sprint schedule, F1 teams have just one practice session before jumping into sprint qualifying which is followed on Saturday by the sprint race itself.

This limited time forces teams to fast-track their set-up work, with a focus on long runs. However, the shift in strategy also stems from the fact that this year, teams receive one fewer set of tyres compared to standard races – or 12 sets versus 13.

The breakdown also changes, with more mediums but less softs while the number of hard tyres remains the same.

Alonso believes a more generous tyre allocation would encourage teams to put in more mileage in FP1 and truly optimize their car’s set-up.

“I think more tyres will be good because in FP1 it is a game of who can run less and who uses less sets of tyres,” commented the Spaniard after last weekend’s Chinese Grand Prix.

“So, it is a shame for the fans,” he added. “And then the sprint, if they want it for the show and for overtaking and you don't let them race, it is better not to race.”


Teams will undertake a second consecutive Sprint event next week in Miami, where once again “tyres will be an unknown” according to Alonso.

"So ideally, you would not run in FP1 to keep all the tyres alive and you don't run the sprint race to save penalty points on your license,” he added, alluding to his on-track clash with Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz in Saturday’s sprint.

“Obviously, we will not do that because we need to learn something from the car in Miami. But we need to still think, the sprint needs further tuning."

Over at Mercedes, George Russell felt that F1's the decision to open parc fermé after Saturday’s sprint to allow teams to tweak their set-up ahead of qualifying was a positive development.

But the Briton was on the same page as Alonso regarding tyre allocation on Sprint weekends.

“I enjoy this format,” said Russell. “I think maybe the only thing that would be better is to change the tyre rule for practice.

“Maybe giving everybody the same set of tyres or number of tyres in practice because it shouldn't be influencing the rest of your weekend based on what you do in practice.

“So that'd be my only thought, otherwise, I was pretty happy with it.”

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