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F1 chief Domenicali eyes more sprint weekends

Formula 1 president and CEO Stefano Domenicali says he would be keen to see more sprint events on future F1 calendars.

Fernando Alonso, Aston Martin AMR24

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

F1 currently schedules six sprint weekends per year on a selection of circuits, with the first sprint of 2024 taking place last weekend in China, and the second following next week at the Miami Grand Prix.

Sprints have been treated to mixed reviews by drivers and fans, with the additional competitive sessions compared to free practices generally raising interest, but also increasing the load on team personnel.

A tweaked format for 2024, with teams now allowed to make car adjustments between the sprint race and grand prix qualifying, was seen as a step forward.

PLUS: Did F1's new sprint format work?

China's entertaining sprint, with a somewhat different pecking order compared to the actual grand prix, further emboldened F1 CEO Domenicali to suggest there is a case to go beyond six sprints per year in the future.

"The qualifying sprint in those incredible conditions, we had a lot of running [in the rain] and that reminds us that we have the duty to make sure that every day there is some action on the track to respect the fans that are coming here and want to have fun," Domenicali told Sky Sports F1.

When asked if that could mean more sprints in the future, he replied: "Why not? Why not? I would say this is great because it keeps the tension on every day and this is something that will be discussed in the future.

"Now, let's see how this year with the sprints will go. But that's a point of discussion for sure that I want to discuss in the next F1 Commission.

Stefano Domenicali, CEO, Formula One Group, and Yao Ming on the grid

Stefano Domenicali, CEO, Formula One Group, and Yao Ming on the grid

Photo by: Andy Hone / Motorsport Images

"We need to avoid any possibility to have a situation like Japan with cars not running [because of weather conditions].

"This is not good for the people that are coming to see us and see the drivers. I am sure that the teams will understand that we need to find solutions."

World champion Max Verstappen, one of the fiercest critics of sprint races, conceded that the updated format for 2024 was a solid improvement.

But he also added that F1 shouldn't take that as a reason to pump up the number of sprints in the future.

"The sprint format was better, a bit more straightforward I would say," Verstappen said after swooping both Shanghai's sprint and grand prix.

"But let's not overdo it as well, because we are already doing 24 races a year, six of these sprint events as well.

"I get it. I guess it sells better and better numbers on TV, but it's also more stress on the mechanics and everything.

"You have to deal with it, but let's not think that now we need 12 of those because it will take its toll on people as well."

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing, on the grid

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing, on the grid

Photo by: Zak Mauger / Motorsport Images

McLaren's Lando Norris added: "I don't think it's too bad for us as drivers, honestly. I don't think we can be the ones to complain at all.

"It's the hundreds of mechanics and engineers that have to travel so much. It's not healthy for them. It is not sustainable.

"So, the problem is not with us. People should look out more for the rest of the team."

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