–by Mark Cipolloni–
Christian Horner on the upcoming sprint race in Baku:
“The reality is that it is absolutely ridiculous to have the first sprint race of the year on a street circuit like Baku.”
“From a fan’s point of view, it’s going to be one of the most exciting, but for us, all you can do is damage your car and lose money. One race is already enough in Azerbaijan, so two is a bit of a worry.”
We suspect a Sprint race weekend was chosen for Baku because:
- Of all the races on the F1 calendar, Baku has the lowest attendance. Their race contract is up for renewal after the 2024 race, and they likely begged for a Sprint Race weekend to try and sell more tickets. Because of the soft attendance, the oil rich nation loses money on the race just to put their country on the world map in front of 70 million TV viewers. With so many countries wanting an F1 race, and with 25 per year being the maximum, F1 could choose not to give them a renewal, and if they do get to keep their race, they will need to pay at least $50 million per year
- Baku features the longest straight in F1 at 1.37-miles, so slip streaming produces plenty of passes and fan excitement.