Sprint races STAY in F1 after FIA confirm that three will take place during 23-event season this year, with more world championship points being awarded… although Silverstone drops off the list of circuits to be used
Sprint races will remain in Formula One following an FIA meeting in London ahead of the new season starting next month.
There were concerns that the costs involved in hosting the events which had replaced qualifying on a Saturday before the race could have been axed, having been trialled at three grands prix last season for the first time.
Along with the Italian Grand Prix at Monza and the Sao Paulo Grand Prix in Brazil, the British Grand Prix at Silverstone tested the concept last season, earning mixed reviews from spectators over their overall offering to the usual hour long qualifying.
Instead the F1 Commission meeting came to a unanimous conclusion to stage another three in 2022, although this time the venues would be at the Red Bull Ring in Austria, Imola for the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, and once again at Interlagos.
In 2021, the winner of the sprint race was awarded three points with second picking up two points and third taking a point.
Now though the points have increased in a bid to promote more incentive for overtaking during the sprint events.
The top eight will now score in one-point increments decreasing from eight for winning the event.
In addition using the event as a qualifying measure will be scrapped, and it will now just be known as ‘sprint’ as opposed to ‘sprint qualifying’
For statistical purposes, pole position will be awarded to the driver who sets the pace in the Friday qualifying session ahead of the sprint session.
A compromise had been reached between F1 and the teams, with Red Bull, Ferrari and Mercedes all wanting a cost cap of £103million increased to cover expenses of additional races – which at the time considered six sprint events.
F1 chief Stefano Domenicali had been willing to compromise by reducing the sprints to just three times across the 2023 campaign, before Monday’s decision.
In addition there will also be a change to wet races following the farce of the 2021 Belgian Grand Prix where half points were awarded despite only two laps being completed under the safety car due to treacherous wet conditions.
Now no points will be awarded unless a minimum of two laps have been raced without the safety car, and if less than 25 per cent is completed then only the top five will score points with the race winner collecting six points.
Between 25 per cent and 50 per cent, the top nine score with the winner earning 13 points and between 50 and 75 per cent, the top 10 score, with the top driver scoring 19 points.
Also on the agenda during the meeting was the fallout and investigation into last season’s controversial Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, which saw Max Verstappen pass Lewis Hamilton on the final lap to win the championship following a chaotic and furious safety car period.
However findings from the meeting over how the race was handled were confirmed to be made public in the ‘coming days’.