F1 will complete its first try of the new sprint format at the British Grand Prix, but how will the stewards enforce the regulations on Saturday?
Normally, the qualifications and the grand prize offer stewards different options with regard to the criminalization of offenses.
For example, in qualifying a grid penalty will often be applied while in a race a time penalty is usually the result.
Sprint, the official name for sprint qualifying, is a hybrid of the two systems but most importantly, the winner of the race will be declared the winner of the pole.
Although in theory this suggests that only regular qualifying penalties will be applied, FIA race director Micahel Masi has confirmed that no options are ruled out.
” These two [options] exist for us now, ”he said. “If we discover an incident in which two drivers are involved during a Grand Prix, we can apply a grid penalty for the next Grand Prix.
“So grid penalties, time penalties for driving infractions, etc., those penalties will be applied.
“The rest of the regulations regarding the powertrain and so on, they will be applied in a different way and will be race oriented.
“But things that affect your starting grid position will, from a driving violation standpoint or something like that, be applied either as a grid or as a time penalty at that point.”
Disturbances in the safety car are not excluded
Despite the shorter distance of 17 laps, F1 will not compromise on safety in order to maximize the number of racing laps.
Although red flags remain an option available to Masi, a safety car – virtual or real – could play a role in the proceedings.
“The only thing that has really changed in this title is the duration”, explained the clerk of the course.
“So obviously the sprint has a theoretical duration of 30 minutes. There is a buffer that has been added to that, if we have a suspension deemed necessary.
“To be fair, you have to look at everything on its merits. These are all tools that are at our disposal and in Baku [due to the tyre blowouts involving Lance Stroll and Max Verstappen] was unique in itself.
“From my perspective, it’s about looking at the incident for what it is and using the tools that we have, whether it’s the safety car, whether it’s the VSC, whether it’s a suspension.
“This is what it will be at the time and judged on the basis of the incidents that occur.”