British Formula One managing director, motor sports and technical director Ross Brawn confirmed that the number of sprint qualifying events could double to six in the 2022 Formula 1 season and then increase further in the next years.
Sprint qualifying is a new format being trialled on three race weekends this year, starting with the British Grand Prix from July 16-18.
The traditional one-hour qualifying session takes place on the Friday evening at Silverstone. This will set the grid for Saturday afternoon’s sprint qualifying, a ‘race’ of around one-third distance of a grand prix, the result of which then determines the starting order for Sunday’s main event.
A scoring system of three, two and one points for the first three finishers in sprint qualifying will be implemented, although no podium ceremony is to be held. Alongside Silverstone, the experiment is also set to be conducted at two further races in 2021, although which ones has yet to be confirmed.
Although the future of the format very much depends on how successful it proves to be with the competitors and the sport’s fans, Ross Brawn, Formula 1’s motorsports managing director, is already thinking in terms of increasing sprint qualifying’s prevalence.
“Many circuit promoters have told us they would like to see sprint qualifying as part of their offering in the future,” said Brown, quoted by Corriere dello Sport. – “We have an internal group that measures all the different ratings and polls the fans, dividing them by categories. We can imagine a scenario in which perhaps there are six events in 2022 in which to try this format again, and from there it could expand further. Who knows what the ideal number would be? I think it’s something we will have to discuss once we have a clear idea of how it works and how successful it is.” – he explained.
However, an important factor, alongside boosting the entertainment factor for Formula 1 enthusiasts, is, Ross Brawn says, not to belittle the spectacle of a grand prix.
“We need to figure out how to enhance this format without diminishing the Sunday race. For next year, we will need completely new arrangements. We have to advertise, there will be costs for the teams and for Formula 1. Of course, there is the commercial aspect of it all. The teams want to see where commercial benefits can be derived from this format. For the future, we want everything to be sustainable and I think with some certainty, as soon as possible for next year, we can find commercial advantages, sponsors, partners who want to be involved in sprint qualifying.” – he concluded.