Horner open to ‘experimenting’ with F1 Sprint Race

Red Bull team boss Christian Horner is open to F1’s tentative plan to trial a Saturday afternoon Sprint Race at three venues this year, insisting the sport shouldn’t be afraid of “experimenting”.

The idea of replacing the traditional Saturday afternoon 60-minute qualifying session with a 100-kilometer sprint race to set the grid positions for race was recently tabled by F1 boss Stefano Domenicali.

The concept was debated at last week’s F1 Commission meeting but a vote was postponed pending more information sought by the teams on the cost and logistics associated with the initiative.

However, Domenicali said the plan had recieved “broad support”, while McLaren’s chiefs Zak Brown and Andreas Seidl both gave a conditional thumbs up to the idea. And Horner has followed suit.

“It would be easy for us to reject everything,” he told Auto Motor und Sport. “But if you never try anything, you never know if it works.

“We shouldn’t be afraid of experimenting. If it doesn’t bring the success we want, we can always back off.”

Horner says F1 can innovate and evolve without necessarily shying away from its DNA.

“DNA is important,” he said. “Wimbledon is still played on grass and the tennis players wear white shorts and white shirts. But we also have to evolve.

“Some of the races are boring. Abu Dhabi [where Red Bull won with Max Verstappen] was great for us but probably quite monotonous for the spectators.

“Formula 1 is entertainment. Sports fans have a lot of choice. You have to capture them somehow and the best way to do that is with close and open races where the driver makes the difference.”

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McLaren’s Brown echoed Horner’s view, insisting there is little risk in trialing the Sprint Race concept

“Everyone is in favour of the concept of trying something new,” he said.

“I think what’s important is that it’s an equal playing field in the sense of no reverse grids or anything artificial, but then we do something different so it differentiates itself from Sunday’s race.

“I’m encouraged. Every time you have something new you try it. If it works you keep doing it, if it doesn’t you either change it up or don’t do it anymore, so I think it’s only a positive for the sport.”

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