(Paris) Six sprint races will be on the program for next season’s Formula 1 world championship, as many as this year, F1 promoter Formula One announced on Tuesday.
They will take place at the Grands Prix of China (April 21), Miami (May 5), Austria (June 30), United States (October 20), Brazil (November 3) and Qatar (December 1 ), raced on circuits “that favor overtaking and allow for close and entertaining races,” Formula One explained in a press release.
If the last four meetings have already hosted a sprint, for the first two circuits – including China which will make its return after five years of absence due to the COVID-19 pandemic – it will be a novelty.
Adopted for the first time in 2021, these sprint races, the first eight of which score points in the world championship, aim to provide a spectacle over three days.
Their introduction disrupted the course of a classic GP weekend, since they moved the Grand Prix qualifying (usually contested on Saturday) to Friday. This day becomes exclusively devoted to sprinting, with a parallel qualifying session which determines the starting grid for this 100 km race.
The format could, however, change next year, with, for example, qualifying for the sprint held on Friday, followed on Saturday by the sprint and qualifying for the GP.
Other modifications could be considered, such as an overhaul of the parc ferme rules during sprint weekends – where modifications to single-seaters are currently prohibited after the only free practice session, on Friday – or even a Partial inversion of the grid order for the sprint. No decision has yet been made.
“Clearly the sprints need to evolve a bit, I can understand the concept and the fact that there is action over the three days… but I think in some cases the sprints have been a bit disappointing,” Red Bull boss Christian Horner said at the end of November before the final round of the season in Abu Dhabi.
In 2021 and 2022, F1 – which then only organized three sprint races per year – had set up another course with classic qualifications on Friday which defined the starting order for the Saturday sprint, the starting grid for the Grand Prix. Price being defined by the ranking of the Saturday race.