F1 increases number of sprint races to six for 2023 season

 (AFP via Getty Images)
(AFP via Getty Images)

Formula 1 has announced that six sprint races will be on the calendar from 2023 - doubling the amount from 2022 and 2021.

The 100km Saturday dash, first introduced at the British Grand Prix last year, has proven popular with teams and fans alike and will be present at 25% of Grand Prix weekends during 2023’s record 24-race calendar.

There was an unanimous agreement to increase the number of sprint events amongst F1 teams at the commission meeting earlier this year, following discussions with the FIA, and a vote amongst the World Motor Sport Council (WMSC) today confirmed the plans for next year.

Currently, there are points on offer for the top-eight in the 25-30 minute race - from eight points down to one - with the result determining the starting grid for Sunday’s Grand Prix.

Venues for the 2023 sprints will be confirmed at a later date. This year two sprint races have taken place so far at Imola and Spielberg, both won by Max Verstappen, with one more to come in the penultimate weekend of the season in Brazil.

Formula 1 CEO Stefano Domenicali said: “I am pleased that we can confirm six Sprints will be part of the Championship from 2023 onwards, building on the success of the new format introduced for the first time in 2021.

“The Sprint provides action across three days with the drivers all fighting for something right from the start on Friday through to the main event on Sunday - adding more drama and excitement to the weekend.

“The feedback from the fans, teams, promoters, and partners has been very positive and the format is adding a new dimension to Formula 1, and we all want to ensure its success in the future.”

Max Verstappen has won both sprint events in 2022 (POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
Max Verstappen has won both sprint events in 2022 (POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

Sprint races change the schedule of the overall Grand Prix weekend, with qualifying taking place on Friday afternoon after first practice. Second practice then takes place on Saturday before the sprint race with the usual Grand Prix on Sunday.

Due to less practice time, sprints have taken place on traditional mainstay tracks on the calendar so far, with 2021’s races located at Silverstone, Monza and Interlagos. As such, new venues such as Las Vegas are unlikely to be used for sprints next year.

FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem added: “The confirmation that six race weekends featuring Sprint will take place from the 2023 FIA Formula One World Championship season onwards is another example of the continued growth and prosperity at the highest level of motor sport.

“Thanks to close collaboration with Stefano Domenicali and our colleagues at FOM, we concluded a thorough analysis on the impact of additional Sprint sessions, and have adjusted relevant parameters of our work to ensure that they continue to be regulated at the very highest level.

“Sprint sessions provide an exciting dynamic to the race weekend format and have proven to be popular over the past two seasons – I am sure that this positive trend will continue and am pleased that the World Motor Sport Council has today given its approval for them to go ahead.”