As per a report, MotoGP is looking to alter its race weekend format for 2023 with events similar to that of Formula 1 sprint races.
Keen to bring some unpredictability to the order of the Formula 1 grid, initial plans to introduce sprint races fell through due to the desire to contest them with a reversed grid.
The concept did go on to make its Formula 1 debut in 2021, but without using a reversed grid, with traditional qualifying instead held on a Friday of a sprint weekend.
‘Sprint qualifying’, a 100km race, then determines the grid for the grand prix.
Three stagings of sprint qualifying took place in 2021, with the same number planned for 2022. The Emilia Romagna and Austrian Grand Prix race weekends used the format, with Interlagos set to do the same later in the season.
And from next year, MotoGP wants to join the party.
Dorna Sports and the Motorsport Network combined to create the 2022 Global MotoGP Fan Survey, and after bringing up the proposition of sprint races in the series via that survey, Motorsport.com state that MotoGP will look to bring them in for every round of the 2023 season as a standalone event.
The plan, allegedly, is to award half-points for a race that will be around half the distance of the grand prix. The report adds that these plans will be discussed in Friday’s Grand Prix Commission meeting at the Red Bull Ring, ahead of MotoGP’s Austrian Grand Prix.
Motorsport.com state that the majority of MotoGP’s constructors are onboard with the proposal.
MotoGP could show Formula 1 how exciting sprint races can be
In Formula 1 the sprint qualifying format is yet to win everyone over. Generally, a lot of fans and most teams like these mini races, but Mercedes boss Toto Wolff has questioned the spectacle of them considering the performance gaps that exist between teams, and he has a point.
Since the sprint grid is formed by the results of qualifying, the regular top teams will start from the front and in most cases pull away, which certainly takes away a sense of excitement.
And while in theory the events should be engaging due to there being no margin for error, a sprint mistake having potentially major consequences for a driver’s position on the grand prix grid, instead this has led to an increased amount of caution as drivers balance risk and reward when overtaking out front.
In the midfield of course, which like in 2021 has remained ultra-competitive under the new rules for 2022, there is a greater chance of action, but arguably none more so than in the main race.
The MotoGP grid though is more compact, while for overtaking, the riders do not come up against the same aerodynamic issues which are present in Formula 1 with the dirty air, which F1 did make some progress with via the new 2022 rules.
So, with these factors at play, and the different dynamics if MotoGP’s sprints are an event in themselves, rather than forming part of the main race build-up, the ingredients are certainly there for MotoGP to show exactly what a sprint race can add to the race weekend. It may then be Formula 1 looking to take inspiration from MotoGP.