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Sprint qualifying must 'prove itself' - Marko

Sprint qualifying must 'prove itself' - Marko
© Reuters
Formula 1 is open to scrapping the brand new sprint qualifying format if it does not "prove itself" this season.

Formula 1 is open to scrapping the brand new sprint qualifying format if it does not "prove itself" this season.

That is the claim of Red Bull official Dr Helmut Marko, following the sport's announcement that a 100km Saturday sprint race awarding 3 points to the winner will be trialled at Silverstone, Monza and Interlagos in 2021.

"We'll only know that after the three test runs," Marko told Sport1 when asked if the new format will be a success.

"If the system does not prove itself, Formula 1 will return to the conventional format. But we are basically open to giving the sprint races a chance to establish themselves."

The Austrian said Red Bull's strategists are also happy that the format "makes sense".

"And they would know, because they helped to develop the sprint race together with their colleagues from the other teams," said Marko, 78.

"They will have to rethink things a little, as there will only be a little time for the long runs on Friday. We'll need to do everything to be prepared for qualifying.

"After qualifying, not much is possible because the parc ferme rules then apply from Friday," he added.

"It's also very significant that you can now take a maximum of 29 points from a race weekend - three more than usual," said Marko.

Former F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone is also not opposed to sprint qualifying.

"I suppose the bosses don't seem very happy with the normal format, otherwise they wouldn't try to change it," he said. "Why not?

"Let's see what the fans think about sprint races," Ecclestone, 90, added.

Finally, Russian commentator Alexey Popov thinks a better idea would have been to start the sprint race in reverse order of the championship rather than on the basis of a Friday qualifying session.

"But the strong teams have too much voting power and the FIA had to listen to them," he told Match TV. "That's a pity."

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Red Bull's Helmut Marko pictured in July 2020
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Olympic medal table header
CountryGold medalSilver MedalBronze MedalT
United StatesUnited States98825
Olympics flagOlympic Athletes from Russia77418
Great BritainGreat Britain45413
Today's Olympic highlights header

Wednesday's key events

· Team GB have dominated the men's coxless fours in recent Olympics, winning on each of the last five occasions, but this year they face some stiff competition. They are one of four rowing medal contenders for Great Britain today (2.10am)

· Katie Ledecky and Ariarne Titmus face off again in the women's 200m freestyle final, with the latter having already come out on top in the 400m event (2.41am)
· Team GB's Abbie Wood is among the medal contenders in the women's 200m individual medley final, while teammate Alicia Wilson will also take part. USA's Kate Douglass was the fastest qualifier, while world and Olympic record holder Katinka Hosszu is also involved (3.45am)
· Katie Ledecky could make it two golds in one morning as she goes into the 1500m freestyle final as heavy favourite, having broken the Olympic record in qualifying (3.54am)
· Team GB were by far the fastest qualifiers for the men's 4x200m freestyle relay final and will therefore be favourites for another gold in the pool (4.26am)

· Team GB take on New Zealand in the first men's semi-final, having been beaten by reigning champions Fiji but then come from behind to overcome USA on day two (3am)
· The sevens gold medal match takes place at Tokyo Stadium, with the winner of Great Britain vs. New Zealand taking on either Argentina or Fiji (10am)

· Joe Fraser and James Hall compete for Team GB in the men's all-around final (11.15am-2.10pm)

· Anna Shackley will take part in the women's road time trial (from 3.30am)
· Geraint Thomas and Tao Geoghegan Hart have medal ambitions for Great Britain in the men's road time trial, although both will need to recover from the crash they suffered on Saturday (6am)

· Jack Laugher bids to retain his men's 3m synchro diving title alongside new partner Daniel Goodfellow (7am)

· Charlotte Dujardin will look to add to her already legendary status with a third successive Olympic individual dressage title (9.30am-1.25pm)

> Today's schedule in full
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