FIA affirms three sprint races on 2023 Formula 1 calendar

2023 F1 season

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The 2023 Formula 1 calendar will feature three sprint races again, the FIA has confirmed.

A proposal by F1 to increase the number of sprint races from three to six was not approved by the FIA earlier this year.

The sport’s governing body has issued its first set of regulations for the upcoming season. They state 5that “a sprint session will take place at up to three competitions.” The format of the Saturday races are unchanged from those which are taking place alongside three rounds of this year’s championship.

F1 introduced its sprint format at three events last year. However its efforts to increase the number of sprint events have been repeatedly thwarted.

A proposal to hold six sprint races this year was blocked by teams on cost grounds. Three sprint events are therefore being held, two of which have already taken place, with one more to follow at the Brazilian Grand Prix in November.

F1 proposed increasing the number of sprint races to six again for 2023. This won the support of teams when it was discussed by the F1 Commission in April, but failed to win the backing of the FIA.

“While supporting the principle of an increased number of sprint events, the FIA is still evaluating the impact of this proposal on its trackside operations and personnel, and will provide its feedback to the Commission,” said the sport’s governing body in a statement at the time.

The first edition of the 2023 F1 sporting regulations was approved by the FIA World Motor Sport Council on Tuesday.

Next year’s rules may be changed to alter the number of sprint events if it is approved by a ‘super majority’ of the F1 Commission. This requires 28 of 30 votes shared between the 10 teams (one vote each) and representatives of the FIA and Formula One Management (10 votes each). The change would then require the approval of the WMSC.

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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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34 comments on “FIA affirms three sprint races on 2023 Formula 1 calendar”

  1. Still too many sprint races, need to take that number down to 0. Why they keep insisting on forcing this failed experiment is beyond me

    1. It’s not a failed experiment. They generate money for Liberty, which in turn increases payouts to the teams. That’s why both F1 and the teams are pushing for more Sprints. We may not like it, it ruins qualifying and the whole “pole position goes to the Friday fastest lap” is absurd because pole position is whoever starts the Grand Prix in first. Still, it’s a money maker and F1 is in the business of making money.

      1. Prostitution is money maker too, and legal in many countries, yet we can’t call it a success for society. There are short term benefits to sprint format, but it may be bad in the long run. For example, I really don’t enjoy those weekends and it does bring me one step closer to not watching a race. The thought of having 23 sprints a year upsets me as a fan, they spoil the main race for me and the weekends are too long and confusing. I really lose that feeling of anticipation and excitement before a race, it affects the whole experience greatly and it’s not just another small change. Is it that step too far that will ruin the sport? Probably not (except for some of us), but how many steps like this can you make before you see real negative consequences?

        1. Prostitution is money maker too, and legal in many countries, yet we can’t call it a success for society.

          I’d call it a huge success. The oldest profession, and still going as strong as ever despite, and because of, all the changes in society and technology. There’s more money in that industry now than ever before, too.

          Which metric are we using, anyway?

          1. Which metric are we using, anyway?

            How much does the long-standing customer feel they’ve been screwed?

  2. Scrap them all together. They are boring.

  3. Stubborn bunch of people..

    1. The people rejecting sprints?

      F1 isn’t known for it’s accommodating and open-minded ‘fans.’

      1. That’s because we’re fans of F1. We didn’t sign to being fans of some new sport to take its place. We know what we want, I don’t think that’s being stubborn, I’d rather call it maturity. Of course, new fans can take our place and it may be more lucrative in the end, but I can’t like something because I’ve been told it’s better. I don’t need to watch the same race twice, it takes away from the whole experience and there’s nothing that will change my mind about that, not with the current concept. That doesn’t make me stubborn since I don’t refuse any good arguments against my view, there are none except money. But guess what? I’m not the one to receive that money, so why should I care? It’s good having your own opinion, even if it’s getting more and more difficult and it seems to be a lost cause.

        1. Thanks for showing my point.

          I don’t refuse any good arguments against my view, there are none except money. But guess what? I’m not the one to receive that money, so why should I care?

          That’s a very selfish view, I’d say.
          Certainly fits in with F1’s ethos.

          I do love how people say they are fans of F1, yet reject changes to it. F1 is the most changing, evolving and mutating sporting entertainment competition on the planet…
          How many other qualifying formats have there been in the last 30 years? A lot more than 1, I’m sure you’ll agree. But for some reason, this one is the worst thing ever to some people…?

          Qualifying is the same. The GP is the same. Practice still happens.
          If you don’t want to watch any more of it than that, then don’t.
          But please don’t actively prevent those of us who do from enjoying more of it.

          1. Move the sprints to 4pm on Friday and the quali back to Saturday and I’ll happily ignore them. 👍

  4. Derek Edwards
    21st July 2022, 11:47

    a sprint session will take place at up to three competitions.

    There’s still room for manoeuvre in the there to take it down to zero. Whatever other justification there might be for having sprint races, I cannot understand why some race weekends are more valuable than others, just like that horrific double-points finale a few years back.

    I don’t understand quite what is going on. Are they still experimenting with this, hoping for an economic turnaround that allows them to run more, or, more likely are there some contractual commitments that they need to honour before they can drop it entirely despite the amazing feedback they claim to have had?

    1. Money is the answer. More relevant on-track action –> more coverage –> more coverage for sponsors –> more money from sponsors.

      Sprint weekends are just 405 km races with a lenghty red flag. One addition to the regular red flag is that after 100 km drivers get a few points.

  5. Three sprints are at least three too many.

  6. I am a bit surprised FIA is blocking more sprint races. What could be their reason except for still evaluating the impact of this proposal on its trackside operations and personnel ? Because this reasoning does not seem enough.

    1. It might be that the FIA fears for some of the smaller downsides, like less opportunities for young drivers to test during FP or some other possible changes due to sprint races

    2. @f1mre There are many within the FIA, Including the new president who are not a fan of the format. There is also a belief that Liberty are exaggerating the impact it’s had given how weekend attendance, TV ratings & overall social media engagement have been up across the board & not just during the sprint weekends as Liberty previously claimed.

      I gather that many FIA officials who have to be at the circuit also don’t like how the sprint format compresses aspects of the weekend with a lot of procedures that usually only required after Saturday qualifying now having to be carried out on both Friday & Saturday with the later start times to qualifying & the sprint race on those days also making that work take longer. Something the schedule for support races on sprint weekends also complicates & holds up.

      There is also aspects of a power struggle as the new FIA president Mohammed bin Sulayem is of the belief that it should be the FIA that sets the regulations with Liberty only handling the commercial aspects of the sport (And in theory that is actually how things should be run based off prior agreements). However it’s felt that the sprint format as well as a lot of the other aspects of the current regulations came from Liberty with the FIA under Jean Todt simply going along with it partly as he was on his way out & partly because of past relationships with Ross Brawn among others he brought in to help. Mohammed bin Sulayem is said to want to bring more power back to the FIA & is therefore not keen on agreeing to the sprint format which came from Liberty & again many at the FIA don’t like to begin with.

      Teams agreed to it because Liberty offered them more money but if you ask them in private I hear that most of the teams also don’t like the format & aren’t convinced it’s having the positive impact Liberty push. But as long as they get more money from Liberty they will go along with it, Especially the bigger teams now the budget cap is in place.

      1. @gt-racer As we can’t upvote, thanks for the insight!.

      2. Indeed thanks!

    3. Part of the FIA’s role is to hold F1 back.
      The FIA is full of conservatives who are unwilling to accept that the world has changed around F1. They’ve always been like this. To many, F1 is ‘this thing’ and ‘this way’ and should never change.

      Don’t forget, also, that the FIA is the automotive industry’s representative body for the manufacturers…
      If they don’t want something, why would the FIA go against them?

  7. I’m not a fan of the sprint race either, but one extra thing that annoys me is quali on the Friday, which is when most of the UK audience will be at work. Let the FIA do their job and regulate.

  8. What a waste of three weekends.

    1. alternatively, hooray 3 extra weekends next year to go do other things and not feel bad for missing F1

  9. I’d rather have more than less. It would then be entirely my choice whether I watched them or not.
    And I don’t mind having qualifying on Friday. It’s a good reason to engage on Fridays, rather than skipping 2 hours of nothing.
    And I like the dynamic sprint weekends produce – with teams going into their first competitive session after only one practice session. It’s far more interesting to see them have to treat it more like a sport than a science where they have plenty of ‘rehearsal’ time – sufficient to iron out all the bugs. It’s far more organic with sprints.
    One of F1’s biggest problems with quality of racing and predictability (other than car performance parity or lack thereof) is that there’s simply too much practice time at each event. They need less time to learn how to manage their tyre wear, strategy and setup – not more.

    1. S, I am not saying you are entirely incorrect. But surely to some extent the sprint races are just as instrumental in enabling teams to make estimates of their tyre wear, strategy and setup, as is another practice session.

      1. Yes, that’s true, @phil-f1-21 – but the sprint is a competitive session, whereas, obviously, practice isn’t.
        The data they extract from it and what they can do with it is essentially the same, except a competitive session is usually more interesting to watch – and to participate in.

    2. You argument about it having an effect in less ‘rehearsal’ time is from my point of view just the other way around, since the ‘sprint’ in itself is in this case more of a ‘rehearsal’ for the race than anything else…
      It detracts from the race a lot, since any driver out of place has more opportunities to place himself up the grid during the sprint without much real confrontation because rivals don’t fight much during the sprint knowing that the race is were more points are awarded and were the real prestige lies (who cares if they win a sprint or end up on the podium after all…) and so are correctly instructed by their teams. So there is no longer the uncertainty of not knowing how would these drivers play it out at the start of the race and the impact it would have during the rest of it. Would they risk things by doing bold overtaking moves on track or would they resort to a better strategy throughout the race?, that’s a question that no longer needs to be asked since the sprint killed that off.

      1. ON the other hand, having a ‘practice race’ can (and has) lead to what can be argued to be a more intense fight at the beginning of the GP. as each competitor now knows what they have and what they are up against.
        It goes both ways.

        As for things happening in the sprint that ‘should’ happen during the race instead… I say so what? It may not have happened in the race, as teams’ approach to the race tends to be quite different. Nobody will ever know what may or may not have happened, because it didn’t happen – so you can’t miss it.

        A lot of emotional responses here, but not a lot of practical ones.

    3. The problem I have with the sprint races is that they (are dull and) take away the shine of winning a race. I’ve seen it in ice skating where in the past there would be one world champion a year. Now every weekend some one becomes world champion on a particular distance or within the class where they all wear red underwear or whatever. It was clear all was done to increase viewer numbers. I stopped watching entirely as the victories have no meaning to me anymore whatsoever. So if Liberty want to go down this route what will we end up with? A WDC sprint races and a regular WDC? Maybe throw in some F2 drivers during a sprint? Or guest drivers from the public? whomever pays the most? For now I am just glad they announce 3 venues. That seems like a defeat for them to me. Apparently the message has somehow come across and I see this (maybe wishful thinking) as a phasing out of a terrible concept.

      1. The GP’s are dull, too. That’s an inherent issue in F1, and it happens in all types of sessions.
        I have no idea what you mean by ‘taking away from winning a race’ as that still happens anyway. If you think each one is less important or valuable because there are more of them, then that’s just your perception.
        They do indeed still have the same value they would otherwise in the championship.

        I hate to break it to you, but ever since Bernie took over, most decisions were made to increase viewer numbers or increase F1’s income. That’s because F1 is a marketing business. Sport happens on the side.

        If you find it so terrible, why do you bother watching it?
        And if you’ve already stopped watching it, what on earth are you still complaining about?

  10. I don’t mind having three sprint races but I am not sure six would be better. Three though is so few that it’s probably hardly worth bothering with in view of the extra work they cause.

    I would be equally as happy if they dropped them altogether.

  11. How about 3 sprints back-to-back?

  12. Still 3 sprint races too many.

  13. I’m glad there’s no more but I would rather they scrapped because they away from the tension of the qualifying and the race than because the FIA is involved in a power struggle.

    They’re obviously making liberty more money but they don’t seem particularly popular and apart from a bit more action for those at the circuit take away more than they add so I think they’re only doing damage long term. It’s a bit like putting a penalty shootout halfway through a football match…

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