The highly anticipated announcement from the FIA, as to what will be happening with the Sprint races this season, has finally been announced.
In the first commission meeting for the 2022 season, the hot topic was the outcome of the inquiry held by the FIA in to the 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. Sadly, the findings of the inquiry will not yet be released to the public today and will be announced in the coming days.
The other major topic being discussed, was the proposal of the structure for Sprint races in the 2022 season.
A decision has been made that there will be three Sprint races for the forthcoming season. These will take place in:
There will also be some minor changes to the Sprint format as we currently know it. Instead of being known as the ‘Sprint Qualifying’, the races shall be known simply as ‘Sprint’ races. There will also be a change in the points system for the Sprint races. Instead of a maximum of three points awarded in the Sprint race, points will now be awarded in the following format:
- 1st – 8 Points
- 2nd – 7 Points
- 3rd – 6 Points
- 4th – 5 Points
- 5th – 4 Points
- 6th – 3 Points
- 7th – 2 Points
- 8th – 1 Point
The final change to the format, will be that pole position shall be officially awarded to the fastest driver during the qualifying format on a Friday.
The Sprint race format has been a mixed bag of reactions from the Formula 1 fanbase. Likened to a ‘marmite race’, you’ll either love it, or hate it. It’s evident that the sport does go through periods of stagnation and often needs reviving.
The positives drawn from the format last season, where that it does add a layer of excitement to each day of a race weekend. Friday suddenly became exciting for qualifying, as opposed to just being a practice day. Saturday brought a level of excitement in introducing a ‘mini-race’ by way of the Sprint.
The counter-arguments to the Sprint, were that it felt a little unnecessary. It was akin to a race being red flagged and restarted the very next day. Added to this was the confusion over what driver claimed the coveted ‘pole position’. Was it the driver who ‘won’ the Sprint Qualifying? Or should it have been the driver who was fastest through qualifying?
The FIA has done their job in clearing up these terms, but also now appears to have gone a step further and added a level of seriousness to the Sprint races. With a potential 8 points up for grabs for drivers, the Sprint races can no longer be considered small fry.