Formula 1 Sprint Qualifying races will go ahead this year once sticking points around the plan are resolved, two team bosses have said.
The series is eager to introduce the new format on a trial basis at three rounds on the 2021 F1 calendar.
Under the proposal qualifying will be held on Friday at the selected rounds, and set the starting order for a short race on Saturday, which will decide the grid for the grand prix. However teams are keen to extract guarantees from F1’s commercial rights holder that they will be compensated for any costs arising from damage incurred in the extra races.
McLaren team principal Andreas Seidl believes a solution is in sight. “There’s a lot of different ways how you can solve the current discussions,” he said. “As always, it’s not that easy to get opportunistic teams and everyone on the same page, but I’m confident we will find a solution during this weekend and then simply we can go ahead and focus on the implementation of it.”
F1 teams are believed to have requested an arrangement akin to an insurance policy to cover them financially in the event of a major crash occurring in a sprint race. Seidl said it was up to F1 to confirm the final arrangements.
“We have an agreement with Formula 1 that this is down to them to communicate. There is communications and discussions we’re having there at the moment. Again, we like the proposals which are on the table and would support them.”
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Haas team principal Guenther Steiner said he is “assuming there will be some Sprint Qualifying in some races” this year, but acknowledged “there is a few details to be ironed out.”
The first race weekend of the new season has begun with questions still hanging over exactly how many points drivers will be able to score at each round. If the new Sprint Qualifying races are approved, they are expected to award six points shared between the top three finishers.
Steiner said he has no problem with the championship beginning amid unresolved questions over its points structure and format.
“I think we are in a fast-moving world, we just need to adapt to it and to stay current. And for me, that’s OK. I think we have got enough information now that should it happen, which I think it will, that we can get ready. So I don’t see a big issue.
“Obviously it’s a change from the past that we start the season not knowing exactly the whole timetable of the year. But we are still in this, I call it the pandemic times, so a little bit of it is down to that one, that we are now used to a little bit of uncertainty.
“At some stage when we get back that we know exactly what we do before we start the season. But I think we can live with it.”