Guess we won’t be seeing more Sprint Races this season after all. Plans to introduce six sprints across the 23-race calendar this season look set to be dropped after the ‘Big Three’ teams refused to support them.
Considering the success of the three sprint qualifying trials at Silverstone, Monza and Interlagos last year, F1’s bosses were keen to increase the number of races to six; to be held at Bahrain, Imola, Canada, Austria, the Netherlands and Brazil.
However, The Race are reporting that three of F1’s biggest teams are refusing to support the plans and now, F1’s bosses are being forced to compromise on sticking with three races instead.
For any sprint races to go ahead in 2022, they’d need support from at least eight of the ten teams. If not, they’ll be off the schedule entirely this season.
Unsurprisingly, the biggest sticking point seems to be money with McLaren CEO Zak Brown criticising the big three teams’ actions and calling their reasons for blocking the plans on cost grounds “ nonsense “.
Last year, teams were given an extra £330k ($450k) to cover the sprint race costs and an extra £73k ($100k) per sprint was made available in case of damage.
However, F1’s bosses believe this wouldn’t be needed this season and are refusing to raise the £103 million ($140m) cost cap either, despite one team reportedly demanding $5 million budget increase.
Other changes to the sprint races are also being considered including increasing the number of points awarded and pole position being credited to the driver who set the fastest time in the regular Friday qualifying, rather than the winner of the Sprint Race.
Although nothing is final at the moment, teams will be meeting later this month to try to settle this issue. If they can’t agree to these plans, there’s always the option for Sprints to return in 2023 as this would only require the support of five out of the ten teams.
Should F1 scrap the Sprint Races for 2022 entirely? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.