FIA, Formula 1, in sprint race ‘fight over money’

Thu, 28 April 2022, 09:00

Apr.28 (GMM) Unity between F1’s authorities – Liberty Media and the FIA – is under threat over a financial dispute about sprint qualifying.

The decision-making Formula 1 Commission met in London this week, chaired by new FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem.

On the agenda was the Liberty-employed F1 managing director Ross Brawn’s desire to expand the number of sprint race weekends for 2023 from its current three to as many as six.

In a statement issued after Tuesday’s meeting, the FIA admitted not only that the format last year had been “popular with fans and stakeholders”, but that “Formula 1 and the teams” are “supportive of an extension to six” sprints for 2023.

However, the FIA also has a problem with six sprints.

“While supporting the principle of an increased number of sprint events, the FIA is still evaluating the impact of this proposal on its trackside operations and personnel, and will provide its feedback to the Commission,” it said.

According to Italy’s Corriere della Sera, what’s really happening is a dispute about money, and a new rift between Ben Sulayem and F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali.

“It’s a fight over money,” correspondent Daniele Sparisci concluded.

The Dutch newspaper De Limburger agrees, concluding that the FIA and Formula 1 are “diametrically opposed” on the funding issue about more sprints.

“Sources report that the FIA, through its new president, has come up with an additional demand. Mohammed Ben Sulayem would like money from Formula 1 to be able to organise the six sprints,” the report said.

“The question is how the matter will be resolved, because the Formula 1 leadership finds Ben Sulayem’s demand to be unreasonable to say the least.”

A spokesman for the FIA is quoted by Belgium’s Sporza news agency: “We are in principle in favour of more sprint races, but are still investigating what impact that will have on personnel and our work at the circuits.”

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