F1 looking beyond 2023 ‘sprint race’ expansion

Tue, 13 December 2022, 07:00

Dec.13 (GMM) F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali has defended the sport’s expansion of the ‘sprint race’ weekend format in 2023.

For the past two years, three sprint weekends were held per season – but three more are being added for 2023 including Baku, Spa, Qatar and Austin.

World champion Max Verstappen, however, is no fan of the entire concept.

“I feel like we don’t really race (on Saturday),” said the Red Bull driver.

“There are a few points that you get, but you also know that you can’t really risk it because the main race is where you really get the points.

“You don’t do a pitstop so you just put on the tyre which will last the distance. You don’t really see a lot of overtaking unless there is a car out of position.

“So then it’s not really that fun for me.”

But Domenicali says the decision to expand the format from three races in 2021 and 2022 to six in 2023 was an easy one.

“The races on Saturday had a 90 percent positive impact on the TV audience, also with the three days on track with pole position on Friday,” the Italian told La Gazzetta dello Sport.

The Formula 1 CEO denied that Liberty Media is prioritising ‘the show’ over pure sport.

“We always try to keep the competitive and sporting part central,” Domenicali insisted.

So with that in mind, he said F1 is also considering other measures to similarly spice up the weekend format.

“We are already thinking about what we can do beyond the sprints, creating incentives every time the drivers take to the track, even in free practice,” Domenicali said.

“We are studying that now.”

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