Motorsport’s governing body, the FIA, have announced that three qualifying sprint races will be held in 2022.
The format was introduced last season on a trial basis – before the races at Silverstone, Imola and Inter Lagos – as a means of broadening the appeal of the sport.
Instead of the usual format for a race weekend, which consists of practice on the Friday and Saturday morning, with qualification then based on the fastest timed laps on the Saturday afternoon. It was replaced by a sprint race on Saturday, with the final positions in that determining the starting place on the grid for Sunday.
And, to add an element of spice in it, points were available in both championships to the first three drivers who finish on the Saturday.
Although not all drivers or teams liked the new format, and it did not appeal to purists of the sport, it proved popular with the armchair fans sat at home, and also with sponsors.
Although the intent is to eventually roll it out across the season, its implementation in 2022 was delayed by an argument over money.
The three big teams – red Bull, Mercedes and Ferrari – were asking for an extension to the US $140 million budget cap all teams are being required to work within for the coming year, arguing that, with more raving, the risk of damage to cars was increased.
The FIA were proposing a small amount to cover this and, now, a compromise has been reached although it has not been decided yet at which venues the format will be used.
The first race of the new season begins in Bahrain on March 29th and can be viewed through a number of platforms, including online casinos. –
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What the FIA have yet to announce is the result of the investigation into what happened at the end of the last race of the 2021 season in Abu Dhabi, and which, for many involved in the sport, is the elephant in the room.
There isa substantial majority involved in the sport who believe that the position of Race Director Michael Masi is untenable for the way be ignored stablished procedures regarding safety cars.
His actions effectively allowed Max Verstappen to clinch the race, and the World Championship on the last lap from Lewis Hamilton, denying the Englishman an eight world title.
Hamilton was reported to be deeply disillusioned by what happened and there have been suggestions that he might even quit the sport if Masi stays.
Many other drivers, engineers, team principals and journalists also believe that the Australian got it wrong and, although there are no suggestions that he did so on purpose, it is clear that he bowed to pressure from the Red Bull team and allowed racing to continue in circumstances without precedent.
F1 knows that the sport needs Hamilton and that if he were to walk away from the sport in such circumstances, it would have been substantially damaged in the eyes of the public.