Formula 1 has revealed which rounds will comprise its doubled slate of sprint races during the 2023 season. Azerbaijan, Austria, Belgium, Qatar, Austin, and Brazil will host the Saturday sprints next year. Formula 1 claims that the selection of the sprint venues came after researching which circuits would be best suited for the format. Of the six circuits selected, Interlagos in Brazil has held sprint races in both seasons of the format’s existence. The Red Bull Ring in Austria is the only other returning track, having held a sprint during the 2022 season.
Coinciding with the number of F1 sprint races doubling from three to six, the FIA World Motor Sport Council has approved the sprint accident damage allowance also being doubled. The forfeit allowance amount for each sprint session has increased from $150,000 to $300,000. There were originally plans for the 2022 F1 season to feature six sprint races. However, those plans were dropped over the potential added cost against the budget cap.
Stefano Domenicali, President & CEO of Formula 1, said:
“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. 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.”
The introduction of sprint races to Formula 1 has been divisive among fans. Some feel that the format has no place in the world championship and others who the format doesn’t go far enough to produce more exciting racing. However, the numbers don’t lie. F1 has seen increased viewership for both sprint races compared to normal qualifying sessions and Friday qualifying sessions compared to practice sessions.