Stefano Domenicali rules out sprint at every round despite ‘great’ first F1 2023 outing

Sam Cooper
Sergio Perez leads a Red Bull and Ferrari battle in Baku.

Sergio Perez, Red Bull, leads Charles Leclerc, Ferrari, and Max Verstappen.

F1 president Stefano Domenicali has ruled out the possibility of hosting a sprint race at every grand prix in the future.

The first of six sprint races, up from 2022’s three, took place last time out in Baku with a newly devised format that introduced a sprint shootout to decide the sprint grid.

The revised schedule was met with a rather lukewarm response from the drivers as Max Verstappen in particular voiced his concerns while Saturday’s mini-race was not the most dramatic hour of F1 action.

Despite this, F1 chief Domenicali praised the revised format and said they had seen “a very, very positive reaction” from the fans.

“Of course, we did that in accordance with the teams and the FIA,” he said when asked about the new sprint format in a call with Wall Street analysts, as per Motorsport.com

“Because, as you know, our idea is to make sure that during the racing weekend there is always action on the track.

“Actually, the result of the first one of this year has been very encouraging. And every one of our partners, promoters, media partners, and also teams is very positive about that.

“Of course, there is something that we want to take as a lesson learned, to see at the end of summer, if there is something that we can learn to do even something better.

“But in general terms, the first weekend of the sprint format has been great.

“As always, when you want to do something different in a very standardised ecosystem, the reaction of the traditional fans is the one that needs to be awaited for longer term.

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“But normally with the new fans we’ve seen a very, very positive reaction. Promoters were pushing for that.”

Former Formula 1 sporting director Ross Brawn has previously suggested that every grand prix promoter wanted a sprint race but Domenicali has ruled that out, admitting it could go as high as one third of the calendar but wanted it to be limited in order to create “something special.”

“We don’t want to go in a situation where in the future we are going to have all the races with the sprint format,” the former Ferrari boss said.

“We want to keep a limited number of maybe one-third of the calendar in number, and create something special with regard to the competition that we can give a sporting value with trophies and of course, commercial opportunity to these things. I think that’s the right way to go.”