Formula One announces changes to sprint format and short races

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Formula One’s governing body, the FIA has announced tweaks to the sprint races and also addressed the rules regarding the short races after the controversial Belgian Grand Prix.

The F1 Commission gathered yesterday in London, for its first meeting of 2022, and the first attended by newly-elected FIA President Mohammed Ben Sulayem. The FIA President led detailed discussions of the 2021 FIA Formula 1 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. Feedback from the Commission on matters raised will be incorporated into the President’s analysis and he will publicly present news of structural changes and action plan in the coming days.

It has also been decided that three sprint races will be held in 2022 with Imola, the Red Bull Ring and Interlagos set to host the special events. The F1 Sprint was introduced last season with Silverstone, Monza and Interlagos hosting the special format which involves a 100km dash with each lasting around 25-30 minutes. As it was last year, Qualifying will continue to determine the grid for Saturday’s F1 Sprint, with the result of the Sprint forming the line-up for the start of Sunday’s Grand Prix.

The point system has also been altered with the first eight drivers set to earn points instead the top three finishers. The driver who finishes P1 will receive eight points, down to one point for the driver in P8.

“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.”

The FIA has also altered the points system for shortened grands prix. Last August’s Belgian Grand Prix was shortened due to bad weather conditions which did not allow the race direction to start the race. Despite assessing the conditions on multiple times, the race ran to two laps behind the safety car, and Red Bull’s Max Verstappen was declared the winner of the grand prix. The Dutch-Belgian driver and the rest of the top ten were awarded half points.

Following yesterday’s meeting in London, it has been decided that no points will be awarded unless a minimum of two laps have been completed by the leader without a Safety Car or Virtual Safety Car intervention. There is also a new point system for race that are shorter than the 75% of the scheduled race distance. The altered points systems are as followed:

For races between two laps and 25 per cent scheduled distance only the top five will be given points: 6-4-3-2-1. For races between 25 per cent but under 50 per cent points will be given to the top nine: 13-10-8-6-5-4-3-2-1 For races between 50 per cent but under 75 per cent points will be given to the top 10: 19-14-12-9-8-6-5-3-2-1.