Formula 1 will hold six sprint races in the 2023 season, up from three in the last two years, as the sport expands the use of controversial format.
The Azerbaijan (April 29), Austria (July 1), Belgium (July 29), Qatar (October 7), United States (October 21) and Brazil (November 4) race weekends will include the 100-kilometre race on Saturday.
On sprint weekends the typical one-hour qualifying session is held on the Friday, with pole position awarded to the winner. Qualifying determines the sprint grid, and the results of the sprint determine the grid for the race on Sunday.
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However this has drawn criticism in the past because the winner of pole position often won’t start first – as seen in Sao Paulo this year, when Kevin Magnussen stunningly won qualifying, but began the race eighth after being overtaken in the sprint.
In effect having the sprint race just gives the best drivers more laps to make up for qualifying mistakes.
Others have raised concerns that championship points are awarded for the different format – 8 points for 1st, 7 for 2nd, all the way down to 1 for 8th.
In a statement F1 said the six 2023 sprint locations were selected as suitable tracks because it is possible to overtake on them.
“We have seen a hugely positive reaction to the F1 Sprint events during the first two years of its running, and we can’t wait to bring even more action to fans with six events next year, including our first US F1 Sprint in Austin,” F1 president and CEO Stefano Domenicali said.
“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.”