(GMM) Formula 1’s plan to expand the new ‘sprint qualifying’ format to as many as seven grand prix weekends in 2022 is in tatters.
Recently, we reported that the big three teams – Mercedes, Red Bull and Ferrari – were demanding extra allowance under the new budget cap to compensate for the supposedly additional costs of adding a second race per weekend.
“They want the budget cap increased by $2.65 million,” the authoritative German magazine Auto Motor und Sport claims.
McLaren supremo Zak Brown recently called that demand “unreasonable” and simply a “clumsy attempt to defend the loss of their competitive advantage”.
Haas team boss Gunther Steiner also dismissed the claims.
“The chance that one of your drivers will crash in the third practice session is almost as high as in this sprint,” he said.
His counter-proposal was that the $2.65 million is not simply added to the budget cap allowance, but that actual money in that amount is distributed to each of the ten teams.
The top teams rejected the idea.
“The only thing that interests them is to protect their advantage over the small teams,” Steiner charged. “That can only be done with a higher budget cap.”
The result of the stalemate is that F1’s plan for seven ‘sprint qualifying races’ in 2022 has now dwindled to just three – the same number as in 2021.
Auto Motor und Sport claims teams have even been told there could now be fewer than three sprints this season.
“By giving up more sprints, the teams will lose additional income from the race organizers and the main sponsor. That money is lost to all of the teams,” wrote Auto Motor und Sport correspondent Michael Schmidt.
“Formula 1 is now considering a vote for an increase in the number of sprints for 2023,” he added.
“A positive vote is more likely because with so much advance notice, only six affirmative votes are required.”
Silverstone will NOT host sprint race at this year’s Grand Prix
Silverstone is not scheduled to host a sprint race during the British Grand Prix weekend in July.
Formula One boss Stefano Domenicali is instead keen to take the concept, first trialed at Silverstone last year, to new venues based on simulation of which tracks would best suit the one-third distance races and be most willing to pay a premium for the extra action.
Bahrain, Imola, Austria, Canada and Brazil are all high on the list, but not Silverstone.
Under Domenicali’s plans, ‘pole’ would officially be awarded to the man who sets the fastest time in qualifying rather than to the winner of the sprint race (as was controversially the case last year).
Points would also be distributed further down the sprint field rather than to just the top three finishers.