The World Motor Sport Council has decided to increase the sprint events from three to six from the 2023 F1 season after an e-vote.
While there was a push from the FIA to increase the sprint events from three to six from 2022 season onward, the F1 teams dropped the idea citing cost cap. Staging extra races even in the form of sprint events cost them more in terms of everything.
But the idea was never dropped as it floated again ahead of the 2023 season and this time, the FIA got the upperhand. The governing body confirmed the increase of sprint events from three to six from the 2023 season onward on Wednesday after an e-vote.
The FIA did not mention if the decision was unanimous of there were some against it too. The exact location of the races will be revealed at a due course of time, with the 2023 calendar feature 24 rounds in all – the maximum a F1 season will see in its history.
After the format made its debut in 2021, the 2022 season saw a slight change where the Friday qualifying saw the pole-sitter being regarded as the pole man, even though the grid for the Sunday race was to be decided from the results of Saturday sprint race.
Additionally, the points system saw drivers being awarded points until the eighth position unlike Top 3 in 2021. This change helped in rewarding more drivers and the teams on the grid rather than just the leading teams in a particular season.
“The confirmation that six race weekends featuring Sprint will take place from the 2023 FIA Formula One World Championship season onwards is another example of the continued growth and prosperity at the highest level of motor sport,” said FIA President Mohammed Ben Sulayem.
“Thanks to close collaboration with Stefano Domenicali and our colleagues at FOM, we concluded a thorough analysis on the impact of additional Sprint sessions, and have adjusted relevant parameters of our work to ensure that they continue to be regulated at the very highest level.
“Sprint sessions provide an exciting dynamic to the race weekend format and have proven to be popular over the past two seasons – I am sure that this positive trend will continue and am pleased that the World Motor Sport Council has today given its approval for them to go ahead.”
At the same time, Stefano Domenicali added: “I am pleased that we can confirm six Sprints will be part of the Championship from 2023 onwards, building on the success of the new format introduced for the first time in 2021.
“The Sprint provides action across three days with the drivers all fighting for something right from the start on Friday through to the main event on Sunday – adding more drama and excitement to the weekend. The feedback from the fans, teams, promoters, and partners has been very positive and the format is adding a new dimension to Formula 1, and we all want to ensure its success in the future.”
UPDATE: In a separate announcement by the Bahrain International Circuit, the organisers confirmed hosting the pre-season test at their venue on February 23-25 for the 2023 F1 season. It is unclear if this will be the sole test or there will be one in Europe too.
— Bahrain Int. Circuit (@BAH_Int_Circuit) September 27, 2022
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