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F1 News: Lando Norris questions sustainability of Sprint races

Lando Norris has raised concerns about Sprint Race weekends.

Lando Norris argues that adding more Sprint races to the F1 calendar is not sustainable in the long term. The McLaren driver is putting together an impressive campaign to start 2024, securing podium finishes in the MCL38. The Chinese GP weekend was a very encouraging weekend for McLaren, who showed very competitive pace throughout the weekend. However, the 24-year-old looks at the bigger picture when analysing the viability of Sprint races.

The first F1 Sprint races began in 2021, initially with just three events annually. This season will have a total of six Sprint weekends, with FOM taking note of the increased viewership it brings across the weekend. Last weekend in Shanghai, wet conditions on Friday helped create an unpredictable qualifying and exciting starting grid for the Saturday Sprint.

Whilst Max Verstappen soon returned to his natural position, there were certainly highlights to pick out. Even with the Dutchman’s victory on Sunday, incidents further back created plenty of conversation.

However, fan opinion is still divided on Sprint races. For now, the concept is still received quite critically from the masses – at least from an entertainment perspective. Still, provided that Friday viewership continues to spike, this format is likely to stay in F1 for the foreseeable future.

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Norris warns of Sprint race impact

“But the main point is just the toll it has on mechanics and engineers. I don’t think it’s too bad for us as drivers, honestly,” he said post-race in Shanghai.

“I don’t think we can be the ones to complain at all. It’s the hundreds of mechanics and engineers that we have here that have to travel so much. It’s not healthy for them – It is not sustainable.

“So yeah, the problem is not with us. So, it’s not something you should be asking us. It’s something that people should look out more for the rest of the team. And I think that’s a limiting factor.”

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This is a critical component of the conversation surrounding Sprint races – and often an overlooked one. Even without Sprint weekends, the F1 calendar is more intense than it has ever been. With 24 races annually, the demands of working in Formula 1 are extreme.

This is true not only for the drivers but also for the engineers, mechanics, and other personnel who work across the paddock. Moving forward, considerations need to be made on a human level to make F1’s annual schedule more sustainable.

For now, it is unclear what role Sprint races will play in the sport. It seems unlikely that FOM will take a complete U-turn and scrap the concept. Unless viewership takes a dramatic downturn, this format can be expected to feature. That said, increasing the number of Sprint races will require agreement from teams across the paddock, which – at present – seems in doubt.


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