Haas team principal Guenther Steiner says he does not support the idea of shaking up Formula 1’s traditional weekend schedule to feature Formula 2 style sprint races.

With new F1 owners Liberty Media continuing to look at new ways of improving the spectacle - amid an regulation overhaul set to be introduced for 2021 - a number of proposals have been suggested, including a change to the weekend format.

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But the idea of adapting an F2-style format including multiple races across a weekend does not sit well with Steiner, who believes such changes would have detrimental consequences for teams with smaller budgets. 

“I cannot comment if a sprint race is off the table completely, but I don’t favour to race on Saturdays,” Steiner said. “First of all, it eats into our race on Sunday. If we have two races, it has a diminishing effect on the Sunday race because you’ve already had one on the Saturday. 

“That’s why qualifying is an event in itself. It’s a very exciting, emotional event, and a very good one. It’s also not only that you could have damage, you need to have double the amount of spare parts around, and you need to have them as you’re doing two races.” 

A financial restructuring process featuring a more even revenue distribution between teams is just one of five key areas Liberty has outlined for F1’s future landscape beyond 2020. 

Steiner said such a dramatic alteration to F1’s weekend structure would go against the philosophy of attempting to lower costs.

“The chance of having damage is much higher. It’s double than just having one race. You need to make sure you’ve got enough spares for two races,” he explained.

“The transport costs would be huge, to just send around all the material, and all the investment in parts would be a lot higher. I don’t know if it is off the table, but it’s not something I’m in favour of.

“Different parties have different opinions and objectives. The promoters like to have us at the racetrack on a Friday running around because the people show up and want to watch us. 

“If we just do a Saturday and Sunday event, somebody will not be happy - maybe the promoters, which I understand," he added. "Otherwise, it’s very difficult to tweak the weekend. To cut a day out, it’s the only saving you could make. 

“It was mentioned to have a sprint race on Saturday, but I think that’s an idea that’s already in the past. Qualifying is still a very integral and interesting part of Formula 1 on a Saturday afternoon. If we just start on Saturday, and maybe have two sessions then qualifying in the afternoon, we could go racing on Sunday.”

The FIA is expected to release the definitive 2021 F1 engine regulations to manufacturers this week, after a blueprint of basic concepts was outlined in November last year. 

F1 will continue to race with the V6 turbo hybrids currently used, though a number of significant changes will be made to reduce costs - including the controversial removal of the MGU-H recovery component - increase power and improve the noise.  

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff, whose team has dominated the current era of power units, fears costs could escalate as manufacturers work on developing two engines simultaneously.  

"The engine, it needs a lot of lead time, therefore the earlier the better it is," Wolff said. “The solution that we need to find is how can we avoid parallel costs of developing two power units.

"Obviously our fight with our friends from Honda, Renault and Ferrari will continue until the very last race of 2020. And at the same time, the moment the rules are ratified, everybody needs to work on the other power unit. So this is I think one of the key points we need to discuss from July 4."

 

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