F1 sprint race decision due before new season after "broad support"

Formula 1 wants to finalise plans to stage sprint races at select grands prix in 2021 after the plan received "broad support" from teams on Thursday

F1 sprint race decision due before new season after "broad support"

F1 president and CEO Stefano Domenicali revealed last week that sprint races were being considered as part of a format change for certain races this year, with the plan being discussed with teams at the latest F1 Commission meeting.

In a meeting that also led to teams agreeing on an engine freeze from 2022, progress was made on the sprint race proposal as teams were receptive to the idea.

In a statement issued by F1 and the FIA following the meeting, both parties confirmed that a working group would be established to further the plans before a final decision is taken on the format change.

"All teams recognised the major importance of engaging fans in new and innovative ways to ensure an even more exciting weekend format," the statement reads.

"There was, therefore, broad support from all parties for a new qualifying format at some races, and a working group has been tasked with creating a complete plan with the aim to reach a final decision before the start for the 2021 championship."

Teams are understood to want clarity on various details of the proposal, including points weighting, possible prize money and how it would impact driver contracts.

F1 is planning to hold 100km sprint races at select events, with Canada, Italy and Brazil understood to be the rounds it is targeting for the 2021 season.

F1 would still hold qualifying as normal, but moved to Friday to set the grid for the sprint race. The result of this would then set the final starting grid for the grand prix on Sunday.

Thursday's meeting also included F1 informing teams of plans to add the Portuguese Grand Prix to the calendar in the current TBC slot on 2 May, as revealed by Autosport earlier this week.

The move means F1 will abandon back-up plans to hold multiple races in Bahrain to start the season, and leave Imola on its existing 18 April date.

The deal is still pending a final agreement with the race promoter in Portugal.

"Robust COVID-19 protocols enabled Formula 1 to run 17 events in 2020 and will enable us to run a world championship again in 2021," the statement reads.

"While changing circumstances may require flexibility, the FIA and Formula 1 are working at all levels from government to local organisation to ensure that the calendar goes ahead as planned."

A further regulation change that was confirmed for the 2021 season was an expansion of tyre testing, aiding teams ahead of the switch to 18-inch wheels under the new technical regulations next year.

Pirelli submitted a request to the FIA for the number of test days to be increased, with unanimous approval being given to rise the total from 25 to 30 days.

F1 and the FIA also confirmed that plans for a possible driver salary cap were discussed, which led to agreement for another working group to be formed to explore the idea further.

"As 2021 sees the introduction of a cost cap for the first time in Formula 1, various topics around controlling costs and how this overall objective can be achieved over the coming years were tabled during the meeting," the statement reads.

"As part of this, a working group will be created - including the drivers themselves - to discuss the topic of driver and senior team management contracts."

shares
comments
F1 targets 'powerful and emotive' engine formula from 2025

Previous article

F1 targets 'powerful and emotive' engine formula from 2025

Next article

Alpine F1 driver Alonso taken to hospital after cycling accident

Alpine F1 driver Alonso taken to hospital after cycling accident
Load comments

About this article

Series Formula 1
Author Luke Smith
The diva that stole a march on F1’s wide-bodied opposition Plus

The diva that stole a march on F1’s wide-bodied opposition

In 2017 new F1 technical regulations were supposed to add drama - and peg Mercedes back. STUART CODLING looks at the car which, while troubled, set the stage for the wide-bodied Formula 1 era

The themes to watch in F1’s Imola return Plus

The themes to watch in F1’s Imola return

Three weeks is a long time in Formula 1, but in the reshaped start to the 2021 season the teams head to Imola to pick things up after the frenetic Bahrain opener. Here's what to look out for and the developments to follow at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix

The 'new' F1 drivers who need to improve at Imola Plus

The 'new' F1 drivers who need to improve at Imola

After a pandemic-hit winter of seat-swapping, F1 kicked off its season with several new faces in town, other drivers adapting to new environments, and one making a much-anticipated comeback. BEN ANDERSON looks at who made the most of their opportunity and who needs to try harder…

Formula 1
Apr 12, 2021
The delay that quashed Aston Martin’s last F1 venture Plus

The delay that quashed Aston Martin’s last F1 venture

Aston Martin’s only previous foray into Formula 1 in the late 1950s was a short-lived and unsuccessful affair. But it could have been so different, says NIGEL ROEBUCK

Formula 1
Apr 10, 2021
Verstappen exclusive: Why lack of car-racing titles won't hurt Red Bull's ace Plus

Verstappen exclusive: Why lack of car-racing titles won't hurt Red Bull's ace

Max Verstappen’s star quality in Formula 1 is clear. Now equipped with a Red Bull car that is, right now, the world title favourite and the experience to support his talent, could 2021 be the Dutchman’s year to topple the dominant force of Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes?

Formula 1
Apr 9, 2021
Are we at peak F1 right now? Plus

Are we at peak F1 right now?

For many, many years Formula 1 has strived to do and to be better on all fronts. With close competition, a growing fanbase, a stable political landscape and rules in place to encourage sustainability, 2021 is on course to provide an unexpected peak

Formula 1
Apr 8, 2021
How crucial marginal calls will decide the Red Bull vs Mercedes battle in F1 2021 Plus

How crucial marginal calls will decide the Red Bull vs Mercedes battle in F1 2021

The longer Red Bull can maintain a performance edge over Mercedes, the better the odds will be in the team’s favour against the defending world champions. But as the Bahrain Grand Prix showed, many more factors will be critical in the outcome of the 2021 Formula 1 World Championship

Formula 1
Apr 7, 2021
How Williams’ new structure adheres to a growing F1 trend Plus

How Williams’ new structure adheres to a growing F1 trend

Williams held out against the tide for many years but, as MARK GALLAGHER explains, the age of the owner-manager is long gone

Formula 1
Apr 6, 2021