Six Sprint Events Confirmed for Formula 1 Season: China and Miami Join the Lineup
In an ongoing discussion about overhauling the sprint format in Formula 1 for next year, FOM has now finalized the locations of the six events that will take place in the upcoming season. While Austria, Circuit of the Americas, Brazil, and Qatar were part of this season’s sprint schedule, two events have been swapped out to keep things fresh.
This time around, Baku and Spa will revert to a normal grand prix timetable while making room for new additions. The Chinese Grand Prix on April 21st and the Miami GP on May 5th will host their first-ever sprint events as replacements. These selections were made based on being ideal options for kickstarting the campaign.
Bahrain and Saudi Arabia were ruled out due to their early scheduling in the season. Although Australia was considered initially, its significant timezone difference posed a challenge as it would not allow European audiences to view track action at suitable times. Ultimately, China and Miami emerged as strong choices with ample overtaking opportunities that make them well-suited for hosting early-season sprints.
Miami GP president Tyler Epp expressed his event’s openness towards adopting a sprint race if deemed feasible by F1 officials:
“We’re always interested in having a sprint race,” he said. “But we also understand how valuable qualifying is for us – our fans appreciate traditional qualifying experiences in F1. If there comes an opportunity to host a sprint race at some point, we welcome it.”
F1 teams can expect proposals regarding a revamp of the sprint format in January, as efforts continue to finalize potential rule changes. It is highly likely that the current weekend timetable will undergo significant modifications, with sprint qualifying returning to its traditional slot on Friday afternoons. Saturdays will then feature not only qualifying for the grand prix but also the sprint race.
An option being discussed involves scheduling the sprint race early on Saturday, followed by qualifying later in the day. However, concerns have been raised by teams about potential accident damage during the sprint affecting their performance in qualifying for the main race.
Aside from revising parc ferme rules which currently restrict car adjustments too early during a sprint weekend, discussions are underway regarding implementing a reverse grid format for the sprint race – either for all participants or just based on their positions following sprint qualifying.
However, F1 must find ways to incentivize drivers to give their best performances during qualifying rather than deliberately aiming for slower times to secure pole position in the subsequent sprint event.