Explained: The FIA’s significant financial gain from F1’s Sprint increase

Henry Valantine
FIA F1 Sprint medal.

The sprint format is set for a shake-up ahead of the 2024 season.

With F1 Sprint rounds increasing from three to six this year, the pay-per-point nature of the sport’s entry fees means that the FIA stands to gain from it come next season.

While the increase in Sprint rounds came after approval from the FIA’s World Motor Sport Council last season, held in collaboration between F1’s governing body and Formula One Management (FOM), tweaks were made to the format to try and make it more enjoyable for fans this year.

Further changes may come in time for next season, but there is a financial benefit to the FIA for having more Sprint rounds – allow us to elaborate.

FIA entry fee income goes up as a result of added Sprint weekends

“Thanks to close collaboration with Stefano Domenicali and our colleagues at FOM, we concluded a thorough analysis on the impact of additional Sprint sessions, and have adjusted relevant parameters of our work to ensure that they continue to be regulated at the very highest level,” FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem said after the increase was announced last year.

“Sprint sessions provide an exciting dynamic to the race weekend format and have proven to be popular over the past two seasons – I am sure that this positive trend will continue and am pleased that the World Motor Sport Council has today given its approval for them to go ahead.”

Points were only given to the top three runners in the first trial season of the Sprint format, before being expanded to the top eight last year for the three rounds.

This meant an extra 108 points were given out compared to what would have been in normal circumstances, and money given to the FIA to re-enter Formula 1 for the following season is based on what teams and drivers score the season before.

In short, the more points you score, the more expensive your entry bill for next year – with Red Bull set for a record invoice to get back on the grid next year, such is the price of their success.

So expanding the points scorers to the top eight at three Sprints last year netted the FIA an extra $708,850 in entry fees from the teams alone for 2023, based on the Constructors’ Championship.

On top of that, the drivers also have to pay for their FIA Super Licences to be renewed year on year, with a flat €10,400 fee added to with €2,100 per point scored in the previous year, a rule Max Verstappen described as “absurd” – hardly surprising, given he (or Red Bull, depending on the terms of his contract) will have to pay over €1million for his Super Licence next year.

But the 108 extra points last year will also have raked in €226,800 ($242,500), and when added to the team fees, the three Sprints last season will have meant that the FIA earned approximately $951,350 from additional fees for the 2023 season.

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How much have the FIA earned from six F1 Sprint rounds in F1 2023?

The entry fees for F1 2024 have been announced, with a 6.5% increase in line with inflation for teams to get back on the grid next year.

And with an extra 216 points given out as a result of the increase from three to six Sprints, and a significant portion having gone to Red Bull as Constructors’ Champions (and a higher rate of $7,893 per point to match compared to $6,575 for the remaining teams), the FIA are set to net an extra $1,512,460 from the points handed out in the F1 Sprints alone in 2023 as part of the 2024 entry fees.

When coupled with the drivers’ Super Licence fees of €453,600 (approx. $485,000, based on 2023 figures with 2024 Super Licence fees not yet released), this would make the net income for the FIA just shy of $2million (£1.63m) in entry and Super Licence fees based on F1 Sprints this year, to be taken ahead of the 2024 season.

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