F1 Sprint Format Returns for 2022

On Monday, the F1 Commission approved an updated Sprint format at three Grand Prix weekends in 2022: Emilia Romagna (Italy), Austria and Sao Paulo, Brazil. The F1 Sprint was introduced in 2021 as a new element of qualifying where drivers compete in a 100km dash with the results determining the grid for the Grand Prix on Sunday. The Commission also updated the points system for the Sprint format with the top eight drivers scoring points, a significant change from the 2021 system where only the top three finishers received points. The driver who finishes P1 will receive eight points, down to one point for the driver in P8.

Formula 1 will hold three Sprint events in 2022 — with more points available (Image formula1.com)

How does qualifying work on Sprint weekends?
The Commission stated that the driver who sets the fastest time in qualifying, which on Sprint weekends will take place on Friday, will be attributed ‘pole position’ and start P1 in the Sprint race on Saturday. To be clear, qualifying determines the grid for Saturday’s F1 Sprint, with the result of the Sprint race setting the line-up for the start of Sunday’s Grand Prix.

FIA Statement on the F1 Commission’s changes
“Following a review of the three Sprint events that took place in 2021 and a recognition by all that the format created positive benefits for the sport, three Sprint events were proposed for 2022, acknowledging this as a sensible number in light of the pressures already on the teams for this season with the introduction of major changes to the regulations,” an FIA statement said.

“The Commission unanimously approved the three Sprint events for the coming season, incorporating a number of updates to the format based on the feedback of fans, media and teams.”

F1’s Sprint format made its debut in 2021 (Image — 2021 Italian Grand Prix at Monza, formula1.com)

Fan feedback is mixed
After the F1 Commission and FIA issued their statements on Monday, the Go Full Throttle staff monitored fan reaction on social media, F1 online chat rooms and GFT Newsletter subscribers. Fan reaction thus far is mixed. We noted that among the F1 fandom that don’t like the Sprint format, much of their vitriol reflected their still smoldering reaction to how the FIA and Race Director Michael Masi handled the chaos at the season ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. This group of fans seems to be implying that the Sprint format will lead to more controversy and more “favoritism” in how rules are enforced, and penalties accessed.

Sprint format impact on the Driver Championship
As it was in 2021, the Sprint format will be part of the 2022 Brazil GP in Sao Paulo on November 11–13 which is Round 22 of the 23 race F1 schedule. 8 additional points on the line at the 2nd to last race of the season will likely have implications (and produce drama) for the season finally November 18–20 in Abu Dhabi.

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Go Full Throttle will have extensive coverage of the 2022 F1 season and is scheduled to be reporting live from both the US Grand Prix from Miami on May 6–8 and US Grand Prix from COTA in Austin October 21–23, all available on our website https://gofullthrottle.net/

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Bob Francis - Go Full Throttle

Go Full Throttle editors and reporters bring you news & commentary on NASCAR, F1, IndyCar, and World of Outlaws. Member: National Motorsports Press Association