F1 must decide on 2022 sprint event format plans soon – Horner

2022 F1 season

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Formula 1 needs to make a decision soon on how its sprint qualifying format will work in 2022, says Red Bull team principal Christian Horner.

Sprint events were introduced at three rounds last year and the series has indicated they will return at six race weekends on the 2022 F1 calendar. However F1 motorsport director Ross Brawn has previously suggested a raft of changes are under consideration for this year.

In 2021 the sprint events were officially referred to as qualifying sessions but took the form of races run to one-third grand prix distance. They were used to set the starting order of the grid and awarded points to the top three finishers.

For the upcoming season Brawn has indicated F1 is considering several changes to the sprint format. He is keen to ensure the pole position winner is decided by qualifying, rather than a race. F1 is also looking at increasing the number of points awarded for sprint events: Last year drivers scored three for a win, two for second and one for third, with the other 17 finishers going unrewarded.

Meanwhile several teams have urged F1 to increase the allocation in the budget cap for sprint races. Others have strongly opposed the move: McLaren Racing CEO Zak Brown accused those teams of trying to soften the cap, which was introduced last year and has been cut to $140 million (£104.5) for the upcoming season.

Horner is supportive of the sprint format trial but acknowledged it has room for improvement. With the first sprint event due to take place at the 2022 season opener in less than two month’s time, he said F1 needs to firm up its plans soon.

“I’m very much a purist, I believe that qualifying and the race are the fundamental aspects of a grand prix,” he told WION. “I think that the sprint races were interesting last year. I think the format wasn’t perfect. But if you don’t try something you don’t know, and I think there’s things that could be done to make it more exciting, to make it more interesting.

“But it’s getting quite late now and we’re going to need to have a decision pretty shortly.”

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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...

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19 comments on “F1 must decide on 2022 sprint event format plans soon – Horner”

  1. Given that the original sprint format wasn’t finalised until last season was well underway, I don’t think there is any particular urgency at all. In fact, maybe they should take some more time to think about it. A few hundred years would suffice.

    1. Couldn’t agree more.

    2. Amen to that!

  2. Considering safety car procedures are not finalised until the race director says they are, seconds before they come into place, and the same can be said of race start procedures now (by logical extension of the stewards’ interpretation of 15.3), why does anything need to be decided more than a minute in advance? Just leave it until the moments before and let Masi make something up each time.

    1. Roth Man (@rdotquestionmark)
      28th January 2022, 13:20

      Brilliant. Genuinely made me laugh out loud.

    2. Naughty….but funny.

    3. @drmouse Funny but spot-on. COTD stuff.

    4. +111111 tragically funny and accurate

  3. Think it’s a sign that it wasn’t a good idea in the first place.

  4. But if you don’t try something you don’t know

    We’ve tried it, and we know.

  5. I concede defeat. Liberty have beaten me into submission — I accept the format. Just give out pole on Friday, award a few more points to the sprint race on Saturday, call it the qualification race, and call it good.

    The past year I’ve complained that the sprint race format falls flat because there’s nothing to distinguish it from Sunday —that it’s the de facto grand prix, stage 1. But it’s basically the same format that Macau has used for almost 20 years now, and having attended that, I can say that I was quite happy to see two races on a weekend instead of one. For F1, the format’s not brilliant, but…it’s fine.

    1. EEERRR — No.
      No, No, No.
      Nopy, Nopy, Nopy

  6. Just scrap it already.

    It was awful the 3 times they used it last year. It added nothing of any value to the weekend. It made qualifying impossible for me to watch live and having to watch delayed just took all the tension and excitement out of it as a result.

    The 2 practice sessions felt far less worth watching as they were too manic to be able to really take anything in.

    And the sprint race just took away the excitement and unknowns of the opening stint of the Sunday race which therefore made the proper race feel devalued and less special. The opening stints especially lacked what it would on a normal weekend.

    Just throw it in the bin already!

  7. The one meaningful idea that recently arised is about using a shorter alternate track layout for the Sprint Race, which would make both races unique and the Sprint Race not detrimental to the proper GP.

  8. The only way to get rid of Qualifying races is if Crypto.com and the cryptocurrency market finally crashes.

    Many of us in the comments section have suggested to make the Saturday races a different championship (like FA Cup) so we can hace 3 different championships: WCC, WDC and the Crypto.com Saturday Championship.

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