Red Bull blocked six sprints as it made ‘zero sense’ financially

Michelle Foster
Christian Horner in front of a camera. Barcelona February 2022

Red Bull blocked Formula 1’s plans to increase the number of sprint races to six as they make “zero sense” financially according to Christian Horner.

Last season Formula 1 trialled sprint races to mixed reviews.

The three events – held at Silverstone, Monza and Interlagos – saw the traditional qualifying session take place on a Friday evening with the result of that defining the starting grid for the Saturday sprint race.

The result of that short race, a 100km dash, was then used as the starting grid for Sunday’s grand prix.

Adding something a bit different to race weekends, Formula 1 bosses wanted to up the number of sprint races to six.

The teams blocked that, Red Bull being one of those who voted no.

“Financially it makes zero sense to agree to any sprint races,” Horner said in an interview with BBC Breakfast, “but in the interests of the sport, we conceded to agree to three.

“We were not even being permitted the increase of inflation.

“When you’re seeing gas and electricity bills, the amount of inflation that is going on at the moment… when the budget cap was set, it was set at a limit in the midst of the coronavirus crisis that in many respects is irrelevant to what’s going on in the modern world.

“So that is why it was limited to three races.”

Mercedes and Ferrari also reportedly said no after the FIA refused to up the budget cap to cover the races.

Last year the teams were given a bit of leeway when it came to the budget cap with an allowance of $150,000 per sprint race with an added $100,000 per event should a car be damaged in an accident.

This year they were offered a flat fee of $500,000 per team for the first five events with an additional $150,000 for each event above that.

But given that at least one of either Red Bull, Mercedes or Ferrari reportedly wanted an added $5 million in the budget cap’s allowance, plans to increase the number to six events were quashed.

Confirming the three, which will take place at Imola, the Red Bull Ring and Interlagos, the FIA said: “Following a review of the three sprint events that took place in 2021 and a recognition by all that the format created positive benefits for the sport, three sprint events were proposed for 2022.

“Acknowledging this as a sensible number in light of the pressures already on the teams for this season with the introduction of major changes to the regulations.

“The commission unanimously approved the three Sprint events for the coming season, incorporating a number of updates to the format based on the feedback of fans, media and teams.”

 

Red Bull on zero sense six sprint races

The idea of hosting six sprint races throughout the year was blocked by teams.