China’s ‘rerelease’ comes with a revolutionized sprint weekend

First the pandemic, then the outbreaks, then there was no space and in the end a suspicious and unexplained ‘no’ at the last moment, but the Shanghai International Circuit has been absent for a whopping five years from the Formula 1 calendar. Since 2019, China has not been a stop of the Great Circus, to the point that there were even many who did not miss it. Without being a route that marks the era, it is by no means one of those circuits that are left over. Its well-remembered first curve, its long back straight, its turning area… It has ‘little things’ that make it interesting.

But this weekend, in addition to its return to the calendar, China is a laboratory scenario. Formula 1 continues to think about the sprint format, that invention that they came up with to give fans an extra reason to follow the race in a different way. This Grand Prix configuration seeks to ensure that the three days of action on the track have something interesting to do with it: that Fridays are not irrelevant for the purposes of the show. This has its downsides, such as the fact that in the short races on Saturdays no one played more than necessary or that Friday’s classification for Sunday was very far away.

Thus, in China they are launching a twist. On Friday the first (and only) free practice sessions of the weekend will be held, followed by the ‘sprint shootout’, or classification of the sprint race. This lasts just under 45 minutes, but determines the grid for the next day’s race, which remains over 100 kilometers or, in other words, 19 laps or 60 minutes. On Saturday there will be a race and a classification: the aforementioned ‘sprint’ and just three and a half hours later, the usual session with Q1, Q2 and Q3 in which the drivers will look for the next day’s position in the real race.

Will this change be useful? There are serious doubts. If before the drivers were very conservative in the sprint, everything indicates that with this change they will be even more so and will not risk their cars to an accident to get a few points (they only add the first 8) with so little margin between the short race and classification. No matter how much the parc ferme is opened between one round and another, the intense work that the mechanics would have to undergo in case of a possible accident or breakdown may not be ideal. The drivers themselves have serious doubts, but not the active Chinese fans, who have appreciated this gesture from the organization to value their return as an active part of the calendar.

Alonso, delighted after his renewal

The Chinese GP is also the first since the continuity of Fernando Alonso was confirmed, who was seen this Thursday much more relaxed and happy. Although he had already said it, he delved into his reasons for continuing not only in Formula 1 at almost 43 years old, but in Aston Martin specifically.

«We sat down behind Japan and within a day or two we reached an agreement and announced it. “It was very simple, much more than it seems,” he summarized at the official press conference for the Chinese GP, where the driver next to him, Guanyu Zhou, went to encourage him more than a decade ago. The Stake F1 racer (former Sauber, next Audi if they don’t back down) has never hidden that as a child he was a declared alonsista and that the figure of the Spaniard motivated him to pursue his dream of being there.

Alonso’s move can also determine the fate of other drivers, such as Carlos Sainz who is having a memorable start to the season, with three podiums in three races held and a fourth that was lost due to appendicitis. The man from Madrid is aware that, despite the renewal of his compatriot and old friend, it is his performance that marks the future of his destiny. «I’m sure my best options are still open, which I think is positive and is something that obviously requires a little time, given the market situation. It will take some time for everyone to make up their minds and make their decisions, but the good options are still open. There has been no progress in the last two weeks, so there is nothing to report to you. The sooner you get to a point, the sooner everything develops, the better because, at the same time, it’s not that it’s affecting my performance this year, but the sooner you get it out of your head and out of the situation, the better,” he admitted. before the media.

2024-04-18 11:18:38
#Chinas #rerelease #revolutionized #sprint #weekend


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