F1: Domenicali hints at adding Sprint Races to all events in 2024 (Update)

(GMM) If two familiar Formula 1 faces had their way, free practice sessions would be scrapped.

Haas boss Gunther Steiner told the Daily Mail that the sport would be more exciting if the entire race weekend is essentially practice-free.

“Qualifying on Friday for a sprint race,” he said. “Then on Saturday morning, qualifying for the grand prix. Sprint race on Saturday afternoon.

“I have made the case to Formula One Group.”

Liberty Media-owned Formula 1 is run today by former Ferrari boss Stefano Domenicali, who championed the sport’s move to the occasional ‘sprint race’ format in 2021.

He agrees with Steiner that F1 would be better off without practice sessions.

“I am a supporter of the cancellation of free practice sessions which are of great use to the engineers, but that the public doesn’t like,” Domenicali told Portugal’s Sport TV at the opening MotoGP race of 2023.

“Free practice is very interesting for the engineers or for the drivers,” said the Italian. “But at the end of the day, in sport, you need to fight for something.”

However, Domenicali admits that scrapping practice altogether is unlikely to be supported by many of the teams and race promoters.

“So I will be very aggressive to have one free practice in the morning on Friday and then every time we go on the track, something to be awarded,” he said.

“So this will be my input for the discussion on the future.”

March 27, 2023 

–by Mark Cipolloni–

At the MotoGP race in Portugal Sunday, F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali suggested that the sport should scrap practice sessions as the public “doesn’t like” them.

“I am a supporter of the cancellation of free practice sessions, which are of great use to the engineers, but that the public doesn’t like,” he said on Portuguese channel Sport TV .

Adding Sprint Races has been done to spice up the F1 weekend at, now six events, and they have generally been received by fans as a positive move, though some of the drivers and team personnel are not happy with them.

Could that be extended to all weekends in 2024

MotoGP has added Sprint races to all their events in 2023, so why not F1?

We suspect this is what Domenicali meant when he said to scrap free practice sessions.  Teams need at least one or two, but certainly not three, so converting one of the three to a Sprint Race does make a lot of sense from a fan entertainment perspective. And Domenicali wants to award points for the other practice sessions.

There is, in fact, a cost involved, especially if cars crash in the sprint races. Some budget allowance has been made for that in the Cost Cap, and more cost allowance would have to be made to add a Sprint race to all F1 weekends.

We doubt Domenicali would have said what he said unless F1 management is already planning to do this.

And who can argue with their ideas given the growth path F1 is on.



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