For better or worse, sprint races give a lot to talk about. Last weekend at the Emilia Romagna GP we had the first of the three that will be taking place in 2022, however, we will have six of them next season.
This Tuesday, a meeting of the Formula 1 Commission was held, chaired by the president of the FIA, Mohammed Ben Sulayem, where both the teams and the members of the council approved extending the sprint races to 6 for next year.
The format made its debut last year with three events held at Silverstone, Monza and Interlagos, all of which caused mixed reactions from fans. Even so, Formula 1 had the idea of doubling the number of races for this year, although it ended up being ruled out due to budget issues.
The first winner of this format in 2022 was reigning world champion Max Verstappen, who overtook Charles Leclerc, in what was the first overtake for victory seen in sprint history. This is what F1's general manager of motorsports, Ross Brawn, had to say about this idea:
"We would like to have six races next year. I think they (teams) can see the success, and I think we didn't quite know where we were last year with the old cars, but I think they can see the way this is going and feeding the new cars and the philosophy of the new cars".
"I am optimistic and I think they will see the value of it, what we are giving to the fans. The thing to always remember about the sprint is that it gives you a great Friday too. We have qualifying on Friday, we have three days of action to the fans, and we can't ignore that.”
Brawn also clarified that there will be no change with respect to the normal allocation that the teams have in relation to the budget cap, therefore, more money will not be offered to the teams to dispute the sprint races, something that certain teams requested a few months ago. The only change used to approve the extension of this format to six races was that, last year, Formula 1 required a "supermajority" to obtain approval, which translated into 28 of 30 votes in favour, with representatives of the category and the FIA getting 10 votes each, while the teams had 1 vote per team.
This 2022, only a "simple majority" of 25 votes was needed. According to the statement issued by the FIA, although the measure was approved, the commission will continue to investigate the impact of this proposal on track operations and personnel. Therefore, it is expected that another meeting will be held later in the year to resolve what remains pending. Any other changes required to be made to this format would be evaluated later in the year and would again require a supermajority.
"What I would like is for at least six races to be resolved," Brawn emphasized. “And then after these three races we can see if there are some format developments that we want to do.
“But I would like to go to the six races, get it settled or established and then if there are any format changes that we think are worthwhile, then we can consider it.
"I think the important thing is to do the simplest first and then there may be room in the future to evolve it even more," the F1 director concluded.