Formula 1 has confirmed it will double the number of sprint races next season to six.
With 24 rounds confirmed on the 2023 F1 calendar, six sprint events will mean a total of 30 points-paying races are scheduled.
The expansion of the sprint race format was confirmed by an electronic vote of the FIA World Motor Sport Council.
The sprint format was introduced at three races last season under its original name ‘sprint qualifying’. Extra points are awarded for one-third distance races held on Saturday, which also determine the grid for the grand prix on Sunday. The sprint race grid is decided by a regular qualifying session, held on Friday instead of Saturday.
F1 tried to increase the number of sprint races to six for this year, but was thwarted by opposition from teams and had to settle for three instead. Its first attempt to expand the sprint format to six races in 2023 was blocked by the FIA, however the sport’s governing body has now approved the change.
“The confirmation that six race weekends featuring sprint will take place from the 2023 FIA Formula 1 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 [F1 CEO] 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.”
The series is yet to confirm which of next year’s races will feature sprints. The Brazilian Grand Prix is the only round to have one in 2021 and 2022. The British and Italian grands prix were also sprint rounds last year, while the Emilia-Romagna and Austrian grands prix held sprints this year.
Domenicali claimed “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.” A survey of over 167,000 fans carried out by F1 last year found a small majority of 6.7% agreed that the “introduction of sprint race has improved the show”.
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