F1 Boss Asks Teams to Look Beyond Costs in Sprint Qualifying Debate

First-year Formula 1 chief executive Stefano Domenicali says F1 risks losing sight of the big picture amid a dispute over extra funding for the three-race sprint qualifying trial.

And that big picture is all about improving the show, even it it might cost team a little more.

Top team principals Toto Wolff of Mercedes and Christian Horner of Red Bull are arguing behind the scenes that teams need to be compensated under the new budget cap for the additional costs of the extra races.

“We are in the process of defining the final details of these short races on Saturday,” F1 CEO Domenicali told Rai’s Radio Anch’io Sport. “We want to have that done by mid April. We will use this format for the first time in Silverstone.”

The format is believe to be a 30-minute sprint race to set the grid for Sunday’s race. Debate centers around whether (or, more to the point how many) points will be awarded for the Saturday event. Earlier talk about possibly inverting the field in some manner to set the grid following the Saturday race appear to be off the table.

Some team bosses are at odds with the Wolff-Horner argument, especially when their argument is putting a $300-400,000 price-tag on the extra costs.

“You can’t make an invoice in advance,” Haas’ Gunther Steiner told Auto Motor und Sport. “If everything goes wrong, Toto may be right with his estimate. But if you get through the sprints without damage (from contact or engine malfunction), it’s less.”

Domenicali agrees: “The difference (in cost) is not as big as it is made out to be.”

The F1 CEO does not think there should be special exceptions to the $145 million budget cap for sprint qualifying or any other measure.

“If we ask for compensation for everything we want to try, we will never get there,” Domenicali insisted. “We shouldn’t lose sight of the big picture.”

Thoughts? Buying into a 30-minute race on Saturday to determine qualifying order in Formula 1? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.

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