F1 names six venues for sprint races
The Grands Prix in Azerbaijan, Austria, Belgium, Qatar, the USA and Brazil are the six races Formula 1 has chosen to host ‘sprint’ events in 2023.
The list was agreed after analysis of which tracks would be best suited and discussions of commercial terms with the race organisers.
The number of sprint events is doubling because F1 says they increase revenue and television audiences.
The format of the event will remain the same as the sprint weekends this year.
A short race on Saturday, with points for the first eight finishers, defines the grid for the main grand prix.
The grid for the sprint is set by a standard qualifying, moved to Friday afternoon from its normal slot on Saturday.
The first sprint will be at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix in Baku on 28-30 April, which will be either the third or fourth race of the season depending on whether F1 replaces the cancelled Chinese Grand Prix.
The Austrian event is June 30 to 2 July 2, Belgium on July 28-30, Qatar on October 6-8, the US race in Austin, Texas, on October 20-22, and November 3-5 in Brazil.
F1 has been fine-tuning its analysis of which tracks are best suited to hosting sprint events.
It had wanted to host a sprint event in Saudi Arabia, the second race of the season on 17-19 March, but Saudi authorities baulked at the fee being demanded.
An F1 statement announcing the six sprint events said that in 2022 the Austrian sprint event had a 39 per cent increase in audience compared with qualifying at the same race the year before.
“We have seen a hugely positive reaction to the F1 Sprint events during the first two years of its running,” said F1 president and chief executive officer Stefano Domenicali.
“We can’t wait to bring even more action to fans with six events next year, including our first US F1 sprint in Austin.
“The introduction of the F1 sprint has created a race weekend that includes three days of competitive racing action and brings more entertainment to fans of the sport, as well as additional value for key stakeholders including teams, broadcasters, partners, and host venues.” (BBC)