Every Formula One grand prix promoter wants to hold a sprint race but only six are likely next season after the experiment of three this year, F1’s motorsport head Ross Brawn said on Monday.
Next year’s F1 calendar is due to feature a record 23 rounds.
Britain’s Silverstone, Italy’s Monza and Brazil’s Interlagos were the circuits chosen to try the format this year and Brawn, speaking to reporters by video conference, did not say which would get the nod in 2022.
Further talks with teams and stakeholders will be held after this month’s Brazilian Grand Prix, the final stage of the evaluation process.
“We’ve in principle agreed with the teams that we will look toward six (sprint) events for next year,” said Brawn. “Our view is that we should take some progressive steps for next year but not radical steps.
“That’s partly because we have the new car coming along and everyone needs to settle down with the new car … we need to see the impact of the new car.”
Formula One is undergoing major changes next year with larger tyres and a rules overhaul aimed at making overtaking easier and racing closer and more entertaining.
The sprint format features qualifying brought forward to the Friday, after one practice session, for a Saturday 100km race that then decides the starting grid for Sunday’s main event.
“I think it’s clear that every promoter we have would like to have a sprint,” said Brawn, who did not rule out the format eventually being used at a majority of grands prix.
“There’s a number of factors we’ve got to take into consideration. One is the spread through the year. How do we spread these events through the year?
“It’s probably not something we’d want to have at the first race, probably not something we want at the last race … it would be nice to have a variety (of circuits).”
Brawn has said in the past that Monaco, a tight and twisty street circuit where overtaking is extremely difficult, would be unsuited to the format and he said on Monday it would be “probably bottom of the list.
“It’s probably the most challenging circuit to have a sprint … but never say never,” he added.
Points have been awarded this season for the top three drivers in the sprint, in a 3-2-1 system, but Brawn said that could be expanded next year to provide more of an incentive through the field.
He said the original proposal had been for the sprint to have around a third of the points on offer in the main race and that could happen in 2022.
“We think that will be the starting point for the discussion,” he explained.
“Something around that order so it’s significant enough to be worth going for, it goes far enough down for people in lower positions to still want to fight for it but not of a number that has an over-influence on the championship.”