Formula 1 has provisionally agreed to increase the number of sprints to six in 2023 at a meeting of the F1 Commission – if the FIA ratify the move.
Sprint qualifying took place on three occasions in 2021 and there will be the same number this year, even though the original plan had been six.
When the decision not to increase the sprints was announced in February, three was stated to be “a sensible number in light of the pressures already on the teams for this season with the introduction of major changes to the regulations”.
But that reason will not apply next year, of course, so six are on the cards providing the proposal is signed off once it has been evaluated by the FIA.
— PlanetF1 (@Planet_F1) April 26, 2022
Discussed at the Formula 1 Commission meeting in London, the FIA said in a statement: “With the first of three sprint events of the 2022 season popular with fans and stakeholders last weekend at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, Formula 1 and the teams were supportive of an extension to six sprint events for the 2023 season, running with the same format as in 2022.
“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.”
Also discussed was the next generation of power units from 2026 onwards and the FIA revealed six preliminary targets “following simulation work by its aerodynamic department” and which had been “well received by the Commission”.
• Significantly reduced drag to improve sustainability and efficiency and complement the power unit characteristics.
• Maintain and improve on recent lessons learned about close racing and cars being able to follow each other.
• Reduce car dimensions.
• Reduce or contain car mass.
• Sustainability: Continue path towards the standardisation or simplification of strategically-selected components for cost-cutting purposes. Expand the usage of sustainable materials or technologies and focus on recyclability.
• Continued innovation in terms of car safety, moving towards active and connected safety systems.
Another point to emerge from the meeting was that helmet cameras, which have been a popular new feature of F1 broadcast coverage this year, are to remain and the 2023 regulations will be updated to make them mandatory for all drivers.
In addition, there will be a trial at two events in the 2023 season of a reduction from 13 sets of tyres to 11, “with the overall intention to move to more sustainable use of tyres in the future”.
Would six sprints in a season be too many?
Sprint race weekends still divide opinions, and with the notion of more being added next season, would six be too many?