Formula 1 motorsport director Ross Brawn admitted he thought drivers would be able to overtake each other more easily in today’s sprint qualifying race at Monza.
Few changes of position occured after the first lap of the race. This is unlikely to have surprised drivers like Sergio Perez, who predicted the “DRS trains” would make it hard to pass.
Brawn said the Monza circuit was chosen as one of three venues for F1’s new sprint qualifying format because they expected overtaking would be easy around the high-speed venue. He expects passing will become easier in 2022, when new technical regulations are introduced.
“We’re optimistic that next year’s car is going to help a lot,” said Brawn. “But I must say, I was surprised how difficult it was to overtake even with DRS.
“This was one of the races we selected because we thought there would be more opportunity. But as the race panned out that didn’t seem to be the case. Next year’s car will definitely be a step forward.”
Nonetheless Brawn said today’s sprint qualifying event has added “a different complexion on the race tomorrow than we thought we had after qualifying on Friday.”
“So I think it’s great in that respect,” he continued. “A little bit quiet at the front of the grid but then you get that at races anyway. Plenty of action in the middle, plenty of action at the start, a very exciting start. So I think it’s added to the whole weekend.”
Brawn said Fernando Alonso stood out as the driver who had impressed him most over the two sprint qualifying events so far. “Fernando grabs this by the… he’s going for it and he’s great.
“And that’s why I say, actually, if you watch the action in the middle of the field, it was very good. I think they if they were all racing like Fernando I’d be very happy.”