Mattia Binotto expects some mess up with set-up in F1 British GP with Sprint Qualifying rules along with Andreas Seidl, as Michael Masi shares some finer details.

Ferrari team principal, Binotto, has expressed his excitement regarding the the new sprint qualifying format that will debut this weekend at the F1 British GP, which is echoed by McLaren’s Seidl, but not without caution about the weekend changes.

With McLaren sitting nineteen points and one place above Ferrari in the fierce battle for third in the constructors’ standings, the rival team bosses are also a bit skeptical due to the early introduction of Parc Ferme conditions after FP1 and Friday’s qualifying session.

The new format, coupled with a new rear tyre specification being used after just a single weekend’s testing in Austria, Binotto isn’t too confident. “We should keep in mind that we got a new tyre specification at Silverstone, we tested it here in in Austria but most of the teams again need to have some more experience on it,” he said written media.

“There will be very little time for it because it’s only the Friday morning before going into the qualifying.” The new specifications paired with the new format has created a bit of uncertainty about how things will go, especially regarding the set-ups that will need to be finalised in half of the allotted time they are used to.

“That’s really exciting, it could be exciting,” added Binotto. “I think there may be some mess because setups will not be optimised thanks to a lack of experiences on the tyres, so I think it can be a great race weekend in that respect.”

McLaren’s Seidl sees similar problems, especially with regards to parc ferme, which changes a lot of things how they do. The FP1 becomes crucial with even long-run pace, while FP2 seemingly becomes a showpiece, where they cannot play with set-ups a lot.

“The team is putting quite a lot of effort in in order to be ready for this first weekend with the sprint race,” said Seidl to media including “I guess the biggest challenge for all of us will be the operational side of things because it is quite a change having the car in parc ferme already from Friday lunchtime onwards when we go into this qualifying. A big challenge is as well to obviously have only one free practice session of one hour before the car is pretty much frozen in parc ferme.

“So, I guess more than ever the emphasis is being as prepared as possible, making sure you have a clean 60-minute session where you try not to go too fancy because you simply have no time to do big testing and so on. I think it is just important to get all you need in terms of making sure you get the temperatures right, you get things like brake-wear right, brake temperatures, power unit temperatures which is a challenge.

“he obviously now you have to do that by Friday lunchtime and not on a Saturday lunchtime which means you are one day further away when it counts on Sunday in terms of temperatures also, so the predictions in terms of weather forecast and so on, you are further out. So there are lots of these small, little challenges but it is the same for all so we are really looking forward to that challenge,” summed up Seidl.

A lot of the details of Sprint Qualifying and or what happens with it, will only be cleared once in action. In fact, FIA Race Director, Masi, is taking a pragmatic approach. He and his team is certain with most of the rules, but he leaves some space for learning too.

Masi reflected on some of the pre-weekend queries:

Prepared with everything or there will be things to see on the day –

Masi: “We’ve been very fortunate in the way that it’s been an absolutely collaborative approach since the start of the year. So we’ve had numerous meetings, involving all the team sporting directors, ourselves at the FIA, and obviously F1 in developing refining, leaving things for a week, letting everyone have another re-read and finding little bits and pieces.

“And everyone to be fair has a completely open mind that there may be things crop up that no one has thought of from any of us, but also an open mind that after the first event, let’s happily review internally and see what did work, what didn’t work, other areas that need to be refined. So, you know, quite honestly, with everyone involved, it is something new for all of us, particularly in an F1 capacity.

“The regulations traditionally, as all of you know, have been structured in a very specific format and way around a Grand Prix taking place without a sprint qualifying area happening. So everyone’s quite open and has said that we all just need to work together and see what pops up, anything that we haven’t considered as much as everyone has read them inside out.”

Penalty situation –

Masi: “Time and grid penalties exist to us know to be fair, if we find an incident that two drivers are involved in, in the grand prix here, we can apply a grid penalty for the next grand prix, so grid penalties, time penalties, for driving infringements and so forth, those penalties will be applied. The rest of the regulations regarding power units and so forth will be applied in a different way and focused on the race. But things that affect your grid starting position will, from the perspective of a driving infringement or anything like that, will be applied either as a grid or a time penalty at the time.”

Red flag, safety car –

Masi: “Yes, all of them, the only thing that has really changed in that capacity is the duration so it is obviously the sprint is a notional 30 minutes in duration and the maximum time is either 60 or 90 minutes I cannot remember off the top of my head, but effectively there is the buffer that has been added into that should we have a suspension that is deemed necessary.

“As for a shorter race with safety car period, etc, be fair you need to look at each thing on its merit, they are all tools that are available to us and the Baku situation was unique in its own right. From my perspective, looking at the incident for what it is and utilising the tools that we have, be it safety car, VSC, suspension, it is going to be what it is at the time and we will judge it on the incidents that occur.”

Here’s F1 website with a guide to Sprint Qualifying:

The article was co-written by Ashley Hambly
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