Domenicali: F1 won’t have a sprint at every race weekend

Formula 1 CEO Stefano Domenicali insists that he has no plans to follow MotoGP and introduce a sprint event on every race weekend.

Stefano Domenicali, CEO, Formula 1 at the complimentary cruise give giveaway

Speaking for the first time since the format changes for Azerbaijan, the Italian suggested that sprints at a third of the races would be his preference.

With F1’s expected ongoing calendar of 24 grands prix, that would equate to eight per season in a slight increase on the six scheduled for this year.

Speaking in a call with Wall Street analysts, Domenicali said: “We don't want to go in a situation where in the future we are going to have all the races with the sprint format.

“We want to keep a limited number of maybe one-third of the calendar in number, and create something special with regard to the competition that we can give a sporting value with trophies and of course, commercial opportunity to these things. I think that's the right way to go.”

Domenicali insisted that all sports have to move with the times, citing examples of others where rules have been tweaked.

“I see a big trend today in all sports not to be stable, let's say, not to stay consistent with the old regulation,” he said.

“So, we're just following what baseball did and just following what the NBA has done.

"That means that all the professional sports need to listen to the requests and to the new input that the fans, promoters and partners are asking to have more excitement around the game.”

Domenicali also indicated that he had received positive feedback on the new standalone format, while acknowledging that it’s harder to please longer-term fans.

F1 staged its first standalone sprint race in Baku

F1 staged its first standalone sprint race in Baku

Photo by: Andy Hone / Motorsport Images

He didn't rule out tweaks to the new format ahead of the next sprints in Austria and Belgium.

"Of course, we did that in accordance with the teams and the FIA,” Domenicali said.

“Because, as you know, our idea is to make sure that during the racing weekend there is always action on the track.

“Actually, the result of the first one of this year has been very encouraging. And every one of our partners, promoters, media partners, and also teams is very positive about that.

“Of course, there is something that we want to take as a lesson learned, to see at the end of summer, if there is something that we can learn to do even something better.

"But in general terms, the first weekend of the sprint format has been great.

“As always, when you want to do something different in a very standardised ecosystem, the reaction of the traditional fans is the one that needs to be awaited for longer term.

"But normally with the new fans we've seen a very, very positive reaction. Promoters were pushing for that.”

Meanwhile, on Friday Liberty Media announced F1’s 2023 first quarter results, covering the period from January to march that included the income from the first two events of the season in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia.

Overall revenue was slightly up from the same period last year with a 6% rise from $360m to $381m, while operating income was up 3% from $35m to $36m, with the flat progress partly explained by $6m in costs attributed to planning for the Las Vegas GP.

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