The experimental Formula 1 Grand Prix format, sprint qualifying, which was premiered this season will be maintained and expanded into next year. The number of appointments where this was implemented will grow from three in 2021 to seven or eight in the 2022 calendar. Therefore, the so-called sprint races will take up a third of the next World Championship rounds.
F1 boss Stefano Domenicali spoke about these changes in a recent interview with Sky Sports News. Surprisingly, the Italian executive considers the ‘sprint qualifying’ to have been a success, despite the fact that only such weekends have been celebrated so far, in Silverstone and Monza, with a third one coming up for the Brazilian GP.
Contrary to Domenicali’s enthusiasm, the general feeling is that the British and Italian races didn’t actually live up to their expectations. They definitely were not able to provide the level of spectacle they were designed for. The low number of points they allocated allowed drivers to only take risks during the initial lap.
“We said at the beginning of the year there would be three tests this year to make sure we have the right plan for the future. The vast majority of the comments we received were super positive. Promoters are super happy because there is something new and important on Friday and Saturday and Sunday” -commented Domenicali -.
“We are receiving this positive feedback therefore we need to know next year we have a great plan where we will consider also the points highlighted by people who did not like this format. Generally speaking, it has been an incredible success”.
“I can say we will not go everywhere with the Sprint qualy format. It is something we want to keep for one-third of the races more or less and to connect with a certain different way of giving rewards and points and to connect with specific circuits that as you know would make the difference. So there is a lot of food for thought”.
“We will involve all the stakeholders: broadcasters, drivers, teams, promoters and fans. We won’t forget our role is to take the right decision and to consider the points of view of everyone” -reassured the F1 boss-.
As a quick recap, sprint qualifying (100 km) are held on Saturdays and establish the grid order for the Sunday race, replacing the old qualifying sessions, which are then brought forward to Friday.
2021 calendar: 23 races
The Italian chief has also spoken about the calendar for next year’s World Championship. This will consist of 23 races, a record number, which was impossible to reach in the current season due to the COVID pandemic:
“I can anticipate that, for sure, the calendar will be done with 23 races“, announced Domenicali, who, as head of the F1 organisation, was visibly proud of his achievement, having put together a global race calendar amid the coronavirus pandemic.
“The idea is to make sure there is the right rhythm to the calendar. There are of course considerations related to periods to make sure logistically the flow has to be right” – Pointed out the Ferrari ex-chief-.
Finally, the Formula One CEO revealed that the 2022 season will kicks off in March and will end in mid-November, the earliest it has ever finished in the last decade, so as not to coincide with the celebration of the Football World Cup in Qatar, and will kick off in March.
Images of sprint qualifying: Red Bull Racing