George Russell explains how sprint format could have ‘huge’ benefit ‘for everybody’

The upcoming Azerbaijan Grand Prix will host the first of six sprint races this season.

Mercedes star George Russell has revealed how the sprint format could be made perfect “for everybody” involved with Formula 1, ahead of the upcoming Azerbaijan Grand Prix.

The Azerbaijan GP will, of course, host the first sprint race of the 2023 F1 season, with the opening three races having followed the traditional format.

At the Baku City Circuit next weekend, Friday will consist of FP1 and qualifying for the sprint race, Saturday will see FP2 and the sprint, whilst Sunday will be just the traditional Grand Prix.

It’s certainly a much more exciting format for the fans given that more of the sessions technically mean something, in regard to grid positioning.

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The sprint format is set for a further tweak perhaps as soon as the Austrian Grand Prix, with FP2 set to be replaced by a separate qualifying for the sprint race, whilst the qualifying session on the Friday will determine the grid for the actual race.

Reigning World Champion Max Verstappen is one driver firmly against the idea and has even threatened to leave F1 should changes continue to be made, with the Dutchman very much wanting the sport to keep its traditional format.

Russell, though, has revealed his dream format, with the Mercedes star wanting FP1 to be pushed back to Friday afternoon, allowing all F1 personnel to arrive to the circuit on the Thursday rather than on the Wednesday, giving them additional time at home.

“I probably say, for the benefit of the two or 3,000 people travelling around the world, having the first session on a Friday afternoon, evening so there’s less pressure for teams to arrive, let’s say, on a Wednesday,” Russell said.

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“If you have your first session on Friday morning you need to be here on a Thursday, which for a lot of the races requires flying on a Wednesday, and if we can push that back to allow teams to fly on a Thursday morning.

“You add that up over 24 races in a year, you’re getting on for almost a month extra at home or sleeping in your own bed, which is huge for everybody in this circus.

“So yeah, I’d say Sprint format, but just making sure that first session is delayed a bit.”