Formula 1 is exploring the possibility of adapting the Sprint format so that it becomes a shorter stand-alone race and does not influence the grid for a grand prix.
The Sprint was introduced in 2021 as a way of changing the race weekend format at certain events, providing more competitive action across all three days. Friday has qualifying take place to set the starting order of the Sprint, and then the result of Saturday’s shorter Sprint race defines the grid for Sunday’s full-length grand prix.
Ahead of the final Sprint of this season at the Brazilian Grand Prix this weekend, RACER understands F1 has discussed the potential of not linking the Sprint with the grand prix itself in future, in an attempt to provide further action from the shorter race.
That comes after criticism from Max Verstappen about the current format, as he believes it doesn’t lead to exciting racing and even suggests removing the link to the grand prix comes with other considerations.
“I don’t like it,” Verstappen said. “The weekend format for me I don’t really enjoy. I mean, I like the one practice and straight into qualifying, that’s probably even better for me, but there’s no feeling with it.
“All the time when I do these races it’s all about, ‘Oh let’s not have damage, just make sure you stay in the top three’ and for me that’s not really a race. Because you go into the main race, you know there’s way more points available there and you risk a bit more there.
“I think we should just stick to one race — I don’t understand what the problem is with that. We’ve had so many exciting races, so you don’t need to add one-third of a race distance … We have to think about the engine mileage again, it’s a lot of things which come into it.”
It is understood any further discussions about the format will only take place once F1 has finalized the schedule for next year’s Sprint races, with an increase from three to six events and the venues expected to be announced in the coming weeks.