Mattia Binotto, Ferrari, Albert Park, 2022

Ferrari backs increase to six sprint races as F1 Commission meets in London

2022 Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix

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The Formula 1 Commission will meet in London today to discuss, among other points, whether to increase the number of sprint races next year to six.

The championship held its first of three sprint races last weekend. Its attempt to increase the number of sprints to six this year were blocked by teams on cost grounds.

The sprint format divided opinion when it was introduced last year. An F1 poll found 40% of fans (two in five) agreed sprint races had “improved the show” while 34% (more than one in three) disagreed.

Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto is an enthusiast for the format and intends to support it at today’s meeting in London, which starts at 11am local time.

“It is in the agenda, so we have the intention to raise the numbers to six events with the sprint race,” he said in response to a question from RaceFans. “As Ferrari we are in favour I have to say because we believe that overall it will give in the future good opportunities and better opportunities for the show and for the revenues. So I think it’s right to support.”

F1 motorsport director Ross Brawn has said he hopes to win support of a simple majority at the commission the increase to six sprint races. This means getting 25 out of 30 votes. As 20 of those votes are held by FIA and FOM, and the remaining 10 divided equally among the teams, at least five of the teams must support the proposal for it to go ahead.

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Sprint races bring potentially higher costs for teams due to the increased risk of damage compared to a practice session. However Binotto is satisfied with the exceptions which are permitted for such damage under the budget cap.

“In terms of costs, I think it has been discussed,” he said. “We know in terms of budget cap, allowances, revenues, what may be worthwhile.”

Brawn confirmed the budget cap allowance will be scaled in line with the number of sprint races. “Each sprint has an allowance,” he said. “At the moment it’s three times the allowance, next year it will be six times the allowance.”

Since the season began, several teams have raised further concerns over costs owing to the high rate of inflation. Brawn agrees this goes beyond what was envisaged when the budget cap rules were formulated. It will also be discussed at the meeting today.

“I think the inflationary increase needs to be reviewed because when these rules were developed, inflation was relatively low and predictable,” he said. “Now it’s high and unpredictable.

“If you look at the inflation rates that apply to industrial enterprises like Formula 1 teams, you’ve got power, you’ve got raw materials, you’ve got all the things which are proving to be quite expensive at the moment. So I think there’s a solution coming on that.”

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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...
Claire Cottingham
Claire has worked in motorsport for much of her career, covering a broad mix of championships including Formula One, Formula E, the BTCC, British...

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50 comments on “Ferrari backs increase to six sprint races as F1 Commission meets in London”

  1. It’s a battle that was lost from the beginning. We’ll have to stop complaining and deal with it…

    1. Why should we? A bad idea doesn’t become a good idea because you accept it as a thing.

      1. I think it is a lost battle but I agree with Craig. That’s what opposition is. Remind them we don’t like it. I lost the DRS battle years ago. I didn’t walk away, but I still hate it and will tell anyone who’ll listen (and some who won’t).

        At least with the sprint races I have the option to just not bother watching them.

        1. And that’s the only thing that would stop them. A significant drop off of viewers.

          Unfortunately that’s also unlikely to happen because F1 fans watch F1, even the bits they don’t like.

          The battle is lost. The real battle will be to stop it becoming reverse grid.

          Me, I don’t watch them, in fact I don’t watch any part of the entire weekend when they’re on, but I doubt my protest will be enough.

          1. I think we’re safe enough from it becoming a reverse grid, or anything else that would compromise the integrity of the result or the championship. The teams have said that in the past, and F1 for its faults has always been a meritocracy, not in the business of rewarding failure. And so it should be. We’ve also seen in the last year that the F2 & F3 races have reined in their reverse grids from 2 races back down to 1 after criticism all throughout 2021 of the new and horrible format.
            The flip-side for me is if you’re going to do something stupid (like a sprint race) then do it properly stupid. Put them all in different cars :P :P (I kid).

    2. I believe this is about long term vision of the sport. Make changes incrementally so resistance is smaller. The end goal is probably Reverse Grid races and that kind of thing.

      It started with DRS, then franchise model for F1, then budget cap (that makes the teams multi billion dollar operations now), then sprint races… what next?

      1. Alan Dove The sentiment of your comment makes little sense to me. F1 had become unsustainable under BE/CVC. Liberty has rescued F1, along with the teams being on board, because they acknowledged that F1 had become unsustainable.

        DRS? Started under BE and may be tweaked and/or repurposed yet.

        Franchise model? Ok so what.

        Budget cap? Was talked about for decades and finally implemented once BE was gone, so that we can actually have F1.

        Sprint races? Yeah they’re exploring for ways to enhance F1. Also still subject to tweaking and I personally get way more enjoyment from the tension from a race start and a race itself than solo flying lap running, and we’re lucky to get both on some weekends.

        What next? For me, more F1 than ever and lots and lots of gratitude that we have F1 at all. I’m chuffed to be along for the journey including with it’s bumps and bruises that have always been there. I’m certainly not going to sit and ponder all the possible doom and gloom that could come, after seeing the massive work Liberty, and even more importantly with the teams’ blessings, have done to right the ship…the F1 ship that was sinking.

        For me this wholly new chapter is genuinely underway and is only four races old and I’m stoked for F1’s future knowing the only thing constant in F1 is change.

    3. Never give up on your mind only because “it’s pointless”. We don’t always get what we want, but we’ll get even less if we accept everything others decide. We do affect their decisions, maybe not as much as it should be, but it is a factor. Applaud to everything, even what you don’t like, because it’s easier, you eventually won’t be able to recognize this sport and will probably abandon it as a viewer and a fan. They are pushing things and then look for reaction. If there’s less negative reaction, they will push for some more…
      But even if this wasn’t the case, at the end of the day all I really have is my own mind.

  2. What? Nooooo! I thought we’ve trialed this enough and get sprint as a part of every weekend from next year.

    It’s pointless as an experiment, just include it in the weekend structure already.

    1. I think a lot of the problem is they clearly lied when they said it was an experiment. From the very second the chequred flag fell on the first sprint qualifying at Silverstone the commentators seemed to be acting as if it had been the greatest thing ever when, as a race, it could only have been described as ‘meh’ at best. It sounded like they had been given an edict to talk it up regardless of what happened and it stunk, especially when valid criticism was completely ignored for false ‘positives’ like the claim it brought in crowds (at an event that is typically a 3 day packed sell out). Same happened at Monza and Brazil.

      1. I think a lot of the problem is they clearly lied when they said it was an experiment.

        F1 experimented, and they liked it. Doesn’t make it a lie just because they keep experimenting.
        Some noisy and obstinate viewers don’t like it, but F1 don’t really care that much.

        1. F1 don’t really care that much.

          And that is the entire point isn’t it.

          1. They care about money.
            Sprints clearly bring them more money, or else they wouldn’t have them.

  3. Show and revenue. Binotto says it well. That is what this is about. Sad day for F1 again.

    1. What exactly do you think F1 runs on, Mayrton?
      Without “show and revenue” you’d have nothing to watch.

  4. Return of Ferrari International Assistance

  5. I pray that at least 6 of the competitors care about the sport.

  6. You naysayers, can watch 2020 races if you want.

    Meanwhile Imola sprint race was better than the main race.

    Duel for the win was awesome.

    Max Maximized both events.

    1. That’s not how you treat people with different opinion than yours. Next time someone may say to you something like: “You don’t like the new prices of food, gas or electricity? Go back to 1800s and don’t use it”. As for your argument, I say, why only two races per weekend then, is more is better? What makes two races the exact number that we need? I say 3 sprints per (real) race. We’ll see more action.

      1. Food, gas and electricity are somewhat more important than watching some funny looking cars go round and round every other weekend, but only with a very specific event format.
        Be thankful that the cars are still going round and round. And probably more times than they would otherwise.

        3 sprints? Yeah, that would be cool too.
        Wouldn’t mind seeing several different event formats throughout the season, personally.
        Why should every event be identical bar the venue? There’s so much scope to make it more interesting and increase the challenge for the competitors.

  7. I would go even further than that, in Monaco, just have quali and a sprint race, no main race needed.

  8. I prefer a qualifying shootout between the title contenders Verstappen and Leclerc and see who comes out with the best lap under pressure rather than a Sprint race. Qualifying has been always a core part of F1 and in some races it’s actually more important than the main event and the current Q3/Q2/Q1 system is just fine. The casual fans that want some WWE spectacle have already Drive To Survive.

    1. Fortunately, there is still a qualifying session each and every time that is based around setting the fastest lap.
      Nothing is lost.

      1. except for the fact that on gimmick weekends qualifying is on a friday so significantly less people can watch it.

        additionally friday qualifying on a gimmick weekend is far less meaningful as its not setting the grid for the actual race and any mistakes can be made up in the gimmick race thus decreasing the penalty of mistakes which takes away a lot of the jeopardy from qualifying.

        and something i saw over the weekend was that in regions where F1 has taken the pay tv money and where the fta offering is highlights only such as the uk, there is no proper dedicated highlights of qualifying so in those cases no real qualifying doesn’t exist for those to view it because it’s the gimmick race that gets the focus of the usual saturday highlights program.

        how is that a positive for those who enjoy & prefer qualifying over the silly gimmick race?

        its just an awful idea that along with the other gimmicks is going to turn the actual fans of the sport off.

        1. how is that a positive for those who enjoy & prefer qualifying over the silly gimmick race?

          A) You still get qualifying
          B) It’s not either/or. It’s both.
          C) I didn’t say it was positive. I said nothing is lost. The sessions you like most are still there and untouched in format – only they may be at a different time/day and there is something else in addition (that you don’t have to watch).
          If you have Sky F1 you’ll find a repeat some time, I have little doubt. If you are expecting FTA to provide it for you – well, good luck with that. Hardly anything worth having is free anymore.
          There’s always F1’s website or YouTube channel for a highlights package, assuming you can’t set a computer, DVR or VHS(!) to record it for you when it is live.
          Perhaps you can even get a little resourceful and hunt around Google for a bit. You might find what you are looking for hiding in a dark corner somewhere.

          You seem to be so obsessed by your own feelings about sprint races that you can’t (or won’t) even see any positives in it, even if only for people other than yourself.
          If you have such a beef with it, have you sent correspondence to all the teams who are in favour of Sprints, @roger-ayles? They are just as much to blame as Liberty, and they also have the power to limit their quantity – perhaps even eliminate them altogether.

          And finally – can I ask what an “actual fan” is?

  9. they are making the same mistakes nascar did 20-ish year ago.

    alienate the diehard fans who are passionate and knowledgeable about the sport to chase the casual crowd that won’t stick around. and then when the casual crowd start to leave (and they always do) it’s harder to get the diehard fans to come back which leaves you with a significantly smaller audience.

    it’s clear that liberty don’t care about the knowledgeable fan, they care only for there home us audience & the netflix, twitter crowd. you see it by the way ross brawn talks down to the knowledgeable fans, last year when he said something about them not been normal fans or with his demeaning comments about how they watched the sprint so must like it and how he talked down to george russell’s concerns recently.

    its now a sport been run ultimately by people who don’t understand the sport or its fans & don’t care to learn. to them the sport can be thrown aside because they see only the show and probably don’t even care if that approach will turn off many of the longer time knowledgeable fan because they don’t respect us anyway and the less of us there are the more gimmicks they can throw at it because the less people watching will see through it all like we can.

    More Abu Dhabi 2021’s coming in the future because that is the show over sport apprach Liberty will push. welcome to the era of formula nascar.

    1. The thing is, maybe don’t even care about long-term profits and sport as a sport. They are American investors, they will try to raise the numbers as much as they can within a certain period and then sell it, when their analysis shows the moment is right. What you say is probably right (it is in my case, I’ll stop watching if they continue on this path of making quantitative changes), but that won’t show in any statistics and that’s all that matters.

    2. Many long term and highly knowledgeable viewers are quite content for F1 to try things.
      Some others, however, are stubborn and inflexible, and resistant to any kind of change or evolution at all.
      Quite ironic really, seeing as one of the core bases of F1 is change and evolution…

      Audience tastes and demands change over time, and F1 would do great harm to itself if it didn’t move with them.
      F1, as one of, if not the most expensive ‘sport’ in the world needs to compromise. Its competitors and stakeholders want that compromise.
      F1 without that compromise would be extremely unsuccessful as a business – and if it fails as a business, there is no sport.

  10. If we’re gonna have this, which we inevitably will. Please, please, please lift the parc fermé conditions between the two races so that a bad Friday setup isn’t the end of your weekend.

    1. @eurobrun or even better just get rid of parc ferme altogether.

      1. @slowmo @eurobrun Agreed, just ditch it. The original rationale for it — preventing “qualification specials” — is moot now that there’s a budget cap on the chassis and the engines are limited and frozen.

  11. I’m not against the concept of a sprint race in principal. But to me, the format they seem to have settled on is extremely lackluster. It seems like a compromise solution that doesn’t achieve the goals it is trying to achieve in terms of entertainment. To me this format of both setting the grid and now awarding a significant number of points detracts from the excitement of qualifying and to some extent the main race, without adding anything particularly new. All we get is a preview of the first stint of the grand prix, but with no uncertainty in strategy because everyone starts on the same age of tyre and is guaranteed to run the same number of laps, so there is no opportunity for different strategies to play out.

    I don’t know all the solutions, but since F1 seems determined to expand the sprint format I would at least urge them to continue to experiment with the format until they find something that is hopefully palatable to the majority of established fans (which may be difficult) and provides something worthy of tinkering with the weekend format. To me it’s the same with DRS – they settled on a format and never experimented with the basic functionality. Why not experiment with an Indycar push-to-pass type system where you have a set number of seconds of usage for the whole race? Wouldn’t that help prevent some of the DRS train issues we regularly see since drivers will inevitably use their DRS allocation at slightly different times over the course of the race? Or even, shock horror – trial a race without DRS at all on a circuit where overtaking is on the easier side?

    For a sport that prides itself on innovation it really surprises me how reluctant they are to experiment, even when they are implementing new technologies and new formats that have never featured in F1 before.

  12. Can they produce any data that even one new fan has been drawn to the sport by the sprint races? They keep asserting this will create a younger more diverse fanbase, but I haven’t seen any evidence to support that. I just see a bunch of old men convinced they know what younger people want, which I find dubious at best. For a group that seem hung up on shorter races, maybe they should be a little less quick to throw out red flags, because that’s a major factor in my loss of interest. I’ve had to extend my DVR recordings by an hour to avoid missing the end of qualifying and races that I can’t watch live.

  13. I believe that the sprint race can have a positive future in F1 but feel as if the format should be changed. I don’t like how quali and the main race is linked to the sprint race. I would rather the quali decided the grid order for the main race and that’s it. I don’t know how to fit the grid order for the sprint race in. Maybe just make it the reverse order of the championship standings.

  14. As fans we should stand together and take the sport back and just agree not to watch any of the action from the gimmick race.

    Its clear now that this is the only way to let them know how we feel. it may be hard for those of us who actually have true passion for the sport and who don’t like to miss any action but what choice do we have at this point.

    Come on, We can do this, Lets take the sport back!

    #SportOverShow!!!!! #LibertyOut! #NoToSprints #NoToGimmicks #BanDRS!

    1. @roger-ayles I won’t be joining you but I respect your freedom to hold your opinion and to boycott F1, as to me there is no question that would be the most effective way to send a message to F1.

      I do find it interesting and a bit funny that you at the same time as decrying F1 don’t want to miss any action and therefore think it might be hard to do so. The way you go off all the time with the same anti-F1 commentary I would have thought it would be a no-brainer for you.

      1. @robbie I can’t speak for anyone else obviously but I have in more recent years thought about just switching F1 and walking away (Or at least skipping some races or not watching the sprints) because as i said a few times last year I’m more down on F1 now and more against the direction it’s going than at any other time.

        The reason i ultimately don’t is because ever since i 1st stumbled across F1 as a 5 year old kid in 1989 it’s been my biggest passion. As Ayrton Senna once phrased it, It’s in my blood and part of my life and i just love this sport so much and still get so much enjoyment out of all the aspects of it that ive always loved.

        The problem for me is that for as much as i still lovethe sport i hate the show it’s becoming and for as much as my brain wants to just switch it off my heart won’t allow it.

  15. I don’t like the sprint format at all as I just don’t like the way it alters the flow/feel of the weekend or the knock-on effects it has on the other sessions & the GP itself.

    That said since they have clearly made up there mind & are going to do it anyway so I may as well throw out an alternative format that would fix some of my issues with it & see what people think.

    I’d make Friday the sprint day. Have a 60 minute practice session Friday morning, Then a 30 minute break leading into a 20 minute qualifying session to set the grid for the sprint. The sprint then has a rolling start (To differentiate it from the GP) & isn’t tied to the rest of the weekend or overall championship with points going towards a ‘Sprint cup’ or something. Oh & no parc-ferme going into Saturday.

    Saturday/Sunday then run as normal with 60 (Maybe extend it to 90?) minutes of practice in the morning & the normal qualifying format on Saturday afternoon setting the grid for the Sunday Gp which also runs as normal.

    As to why I wouldn’t have the sprint award points for the overall championship or decide the grid for the GP. I just don’t like how the sprint format makes some weekends more valuable than others or how it could skew a championship or lessen the penalty for a mistake in qualifying or just a penalty from a breach of regulations.

    1. Just one other thing on why i’d have the sprint on Friday.

      Partly because I think having the sprint as it’s own thing on Friday helps the weekend flow a bit better as you then have the focus back on the GP through Saturday/Sunday with qualifying on Saturday afternoon leading nicely into the GP as normal.

      But also because one of the things they keep saying is that they want to give more value over 3 days & they want to have a session of more consequence on Friday.

      Problem is that with that session been qualifying it messes with the flow of the weekend & causes them having to sort of fudge the pole stats, who’s on pole etc… but also creates the parc-ferme thing that not only makes the Saturday practice less meaningful but which also creates situations where if you miss setup your basically out of the rest of the weekend which I don’t think is really a positive.

      I think by having the Friday be the sprint day you can sell that day as it’s own thing which would maybe help to create that bit of extra interest & excitement that they seem to want. And with it been disconnected from the GP & championship & promoted as more of its own separate thing maybe then people would be a bit more accepting not only of the sprint race itself but also them playing around with things like reverse grids because those who don’t like those things will maybe not feel like it’s something they need to watch. When it’s setting the grid or awarding world championship points I know that I feel a bit more like I have to watch it because it’s part of the championship & I don’t want to miss a page of the book so to speak.

    2. The main issue with detaching the sprints from the championship is that they need to provide sufficient reward to offset the risk, or else teams wouldn’t bother. Not seriously anyway – and that’s far worse.
      As things are now, the risk of the sprint is offset by the reward of a better qualifying position. That’s a pretty big reward at some circuits.

      To make sprints a separate sideshow independent of the WCC/WDC, they would need a huge amount of prize money and prestige (ie marketing clout) to go along with them.
      F1 teams don’t do anything for free – least of all risk their entire weekend and their championship with a low-value sideshow.

    3. @stefmeister I’ve said this before, but I fully agree with you about how it alters the flow and buildup of a grand prix weekend. Instead of settling into the weekend on Friday night by catching up on the intrigue of practice, I’ve already missed one of the highlights of the weekend. And the sprint race feels like an obligation — I don’t want to miss what is essentially the start of the grand prix, but it ultimately feels disappointing that we don’t see the end of it until the next day.

      But that’s me watching at home. If I were attending in person, I would absolutely prefer an event to have a sprint race. Double the standing starts, a full weekend of racing and qualifying on Friday — that’s a no-brainer. I have gone to Macau, which runs to the same format, and having made the trip, I was very glad that it featured two days of racing and not one (and I’ve never heard anyone complain that the sprint race at Macau is a gimmick).

      I do feel though that if the sprint race is going to happen, it has to count towards the championship. I think trying to cordon it off so that a vocal minority of fans can ignore it is doing the whole thing a disservice. I would try keeping the sprint points as they are now but separate the results from the grand prix. The Sunday grid would be set by fastest laps in qualifying, as usual, and the sprint race grid would be set by a driver’s second-fastest lap in qualifying. That solves the “pole position” stats issue and also raises the stakes for the whole qualifying session, as “banker” laps actually count for something.

  16. At least increase the engine allocation per season.

  17. I agree, moving the sprint race to Friday will improve the flow of the full sprint weekends. Currently, FP2 on Saturday and park ferme rules does not make any sense…

    This would be my proposal: Friday – make 1h FP1 for testing and determining the sprint race start (as we had in the past, teams should compromise between understanding the car tyres and setup, and going for a quick time), have the race afterwards with current sprint race points. If somebody wants to use the race as testing for the rest of the weekend, why not? The battle on the front positions should still be entertaining. Then have Saturday and Sunday as current non-spring weekends: FP3 (will be called FP2 with this proposal) + qualy (and park ferme afterwards) on Saturday + race on Sunday.

    It will also be possible to have an FP2 after Friday’s race, for those

    I’d be like having two full events in one weekend, but I think it will fix the weekend flow. The qualy and races will be different in the sense that the car’s setup will evolve over the weekend, with the first race benefiting those with better simulation tools and models, and the second suiting the best packages. And it will also put interest in FP1 and Friday in general.

    For me, the problem is that, as with current format, it will probably be too much. I like analyzing Friday’s data (long run pace specially) before submitting the predictions for the weekend. It’s usually a lottery anyway, but on sprint weekends, there’s literally no time to digest the information, so the prediction is usually based on the previous race result increasing the luck element

    My opinion anyway

  18. I wish the sprint was more of a sprint and qualy replacement than a race. It’s too long and loses interest once the opening laps are completed and the drivers lap for the red flag and stretch the tires. I’d like it a lot more if it stopped being a race so much. Do a 5 lap sprint, VSC or SC and have the bottom 5 eliminated, bunch the field, and repeat until we have a top 5 or 10 dueling it out.

    1. I actually really really like this idea. Even though the ‘hardcore’ fans (whatever that means) would loathe it even more than the current sprint, I think it would be so fun to watch! I wonder if there is a way to set this up in a sim like AC or AMS2 to see how it plays out?

      1. Basically an eliminator mode like in Need For Speed or Burnout. Very arcade racer. I think by fully divorcing the Sprint from the trappings of a typical GP race it’ll be able to stand alone better and avoid the red flag feeling it currently has.

  19. stop with this! In Imola only worked because the wet qualy putted some cars out of positions (sainz and perez for example), so they recovered and the race lost appeal. So easy and clear to understand, not for #LibertyMerda

  20. I still don’t understand all the oposition to the sprintrace. Its not that I am in favour of this experiment but at least we keep qualifying in place and we have additional race laps on saterday so why not? For me (in my mind) the race starts at saterday and resumes on sunday after some sort of arteficial red flag. We still have the race at sunday.
    Hope the FIA removes DRS at least during the sprint than its fine by me

  21. Yes great news. Let’s get the other teams behind the idea. 6 sounds like the right number for a season I love sprint races, it brings something different to the weekend!

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