One of the ideas considered by the F1 Strategy Group for 2017 is a Saturday sprint race for third drivers.
The FIA said yesterday that “several exciting and innovative changes to the qualifying and race weekend formats have also been discussed and are being evaluated by FIA and FOM for a 2016 introduction.”
The third driver sprint would involve one entry from each team, with up to 11 cars – with the addition of Haas for next season – taking part.
The idea is that the top four finishers would progress to the Grand Prix on Sunday, and would be allowed to start from the back of the grid. Clearly these cars would also have to practice and qualify, which would give the teams extra track miles.
The complication is that teams would have to take a fully prepared third car to each race, and with the extra freight and crew clearly huge costs will be involved.
However the intention is that the sprint race would not happen at every Grand Prix weekend, and it would be logical for example to miss the early flyaway races when teams might not have enough new parts to fully service three cars.
An alternative path could be a sprint race for the race drivers which determined the grid for Sunday.
“I think it’s very embryonic in its discussion,” Christian Horner told this writer. “It’s good that there’s a discussion going on about that kind of thing. I think it needs to be fully and properly considered. It’s just ideas floating around at the moment.”