This new sprint format 2023 has never been seen before. The traditional sprint race format, to which fans are used, was altered in Baku. There was only one session of practice, instead of the two usual sessions on Saturday and Friday. After the one practice session, there was a qualifying session for the feature race. F1 hosted the sprint qualifying session and sprint race on Saturday. The Sunday feature race remained the same.
The changes were made to make the show more exciting for viewers. They wanted more wheel-towheel racing. The success of the sprint race format has convinced the commercial rights holders for F1 that they should invest more in this format. The format has divided opinions between fans and drivers. However, it is a good way to increase viewership for Liberty Media.
According to discussions are already in progress for the 2024 campaign. According to information collected from the Miami paddock there are plans to expand the number of sprints races next season from six to ten. These races will follow the same format as the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, which was held last weekend.
In 2024, there will already be twenty-four record-breaking races. The total would be increased to thirty-four with the addition of 10 sprints. This year, the current format is likely to be tested in other sprint venues before a consensus is reached.
The majority of drivers and fans do not like the new sprint format
The race weekend will be restructured so that Sunday’s Grand Prix grid is not determined by the results of the sprint race on Saturday. The starting positions for the Sunday race will be determined by Friday’s qualifying session.
A new qualifying session known as the Sprint Shootout will be held separately on Saturday morning. This will determine the order of the sprint race. The sprint race and its qualifying shootout are now separate events from the Grand Prix.
The new format is designed to increase the excitement and spectacle at the sprint weekend. The sprint race no longer determines the Grand Prix grid. Drivers are encouraged to be more aggressive during the 100km race and take greater risks. The feature race will not be affected by any mishaps that occur during the sprint race.
This innovation was not well received by fans or certain drivers. The fans have expressed their disapproval and stated that they prefer a traditional Grand Prix Weekend.
Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez are among the drivers who have expressed their preference for the traditional format. Haas boss Guenther Steiner described it as “boring”. The new format does not benefit the teams in the back. Only the eight top positions are awarded points.
They will not be able to move up the grid in Sunday’s race if they sprint well. Backmarkers risk repair costs if there is an incident on the track by racing on Saturday.
If ten sprint races are added to the calendar for 2024, they will be widely disapproved. Liberty Media is pursuing its agenda, and profits without regard to viewer preferences. This proposal’s implementation will depend on the outcome of the remaining sprint weekend in 2023.