Sprint race start, Imola, 2022

FIA’s hold-up on approving more sprint races “surprised” teams

2022 F1 season

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Formula 1 teams were “surprised” the FIA did not back an increase in the number of sprint races for next season.

The F1 Commission discussed a plan to double the number of sprint races from three to six at a meeting last month. The FIA did not give its backing as it is “still evaluating the impact of this proposal on its trackside operations and personnel”, while it said the teams and F1 “were supportive of an extension.”

McLaren Racing CEO Zak Brown, who has been in charge of the team since 2016, said the difference in views between the FIA and F1 was unexpected.

“The FIA and Formula 1, at least since I’ve been around, have always been pretty aligned with coming into meetings,” he said. “So I think the table was a bit surprised that they hadn’t discussed that in advance and aligned it by the time they come in to the meeting.

“But I think at the end of the day, it’ll get sorted.”

Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff also expects a swift resolution. He believes FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem, who took over the role in December, is not against increasing the number of sprint races, which F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali is eager to see.

Ben Sulayem will back rise in sprint races, teams believe
“I think that scrutiny needs to be given on the decisions we take,” said Wolff. “And I’m sure that between Stefano and Mohammed, we’re going to come to a resolution.

“For Mohammed it was important to hear the FIA’s members’ opinion, and he wasn’t against it, just that he needed more time for that decision.”

The sprint race format was introduced at three events last year. F1 tried to add three more this year, but the move was blocked by teams who wanted additional compensation for the extra races.

Nonetheless Alpine CEO Laurent Rossi expects it’s “just a matter of time” before the proposal is adopted.

“It’s good that all the governing bodies are making sure they’re fully aligned – because once you get there, you cannot really pull back. So, I think it’s nice that we are working properly, we will have a bit of a debate and a bit of homework until we get to an alignment, and we just go for it.”

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...
RJ O'Connell
Motorsport has been a lifelong interest for RJ, both virtual and ‘in the carbon’, since childhood. RJ picked up motorsports writing as a hobby...

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  • 8 comments on “FIA’s hold-up on approving more sprint races “surprised” teams”

    1. As Zak mentions, yes it IS a bit of a surprise they did not sort this out before the meeting. But then, it fits with Ben Sulayman having the thing with the Jewelry etc. blowing up in public to make it visible that he is running the ship now.

      And also, as Zak correctly mentions, they will surely sort it out. But Wolf could refrain from the “he needs a bit more time”, because especially as he used to be a money man, he will know as well as the others at the table that the reasoning is probably just that the FIA wants to get more money from F1 (off course mainly for the benefit of those marshalls and officials at the race).

    2. I actually won’t be surprised if the FIA counter with a proposal to incorporate sprints into every race so that they can properly align the rules for F1.

      It’s ludicrous that some race events end up being worth more than others, and time spans etc are altered in some, not others and it doesn’t really fit with the FIA’s nice neat rules.

      It also means they can train marshals and officials for 1 event, not have to essentially run two different sets of training/information sessions and basically keeps things in balance.

      Bonus for Liberty – they can say the the FIA is the bad guy.

      1. It’s ludicrous that some race events end up being worth more than others

        Not really. In sportscar racing for example you often have more points awarded for longer races. In a way this is what’s happening with sprint races in F1, albeit the extra points are awarded based on the standings at 25% distance rather than at the end of the Grand Prix.

        1. F1 races are equal length for a reason. I think the only thing more ludicrous then more points for sprint weekend is making all weekends sprint weekends considering how unpopular the format is.

          1. Where is the evidence that sprint weekends are unpopular? As a TV consumer it greatly improves the show IMHO. As a track side attendee it greatly improves the show AND value for money IMHO.

            The additional revenue should be applied to the teams budget cap to be use solely for the purpose of preparing and bringing increased spares to these events.

            I could accept excluding traditional narrow street circuits (Monaco, Singapore, Baku) due to the significantly increased risk of damage.

    3. Andy (@andyfromsandy)
      18th May 2022, 12:28

      Risk and reward.

      After a few crashes and no spare parts to repair a car for the GP teams will have to stop trying hard and just trundle round hoping the car doesn’t break down or worst case withdraw a car.

    4. Given that the FIA’s complaint seems to be that running a sprint race is substantially more expensive than running FP2, I would be astonished if they went for sprint races at every weekend.

    5. Where is the evidence that sprint weekends are unpopular?

      Good question. What did F1 do with the survey they were running?
      Other than scrap it and bury the result when the early figures indicated a large proportion of the signed up audience they asked were giving them an answer they didn’t like.

    Comments are closed.