The recent F1 Commission meeting has reportedly left everyone puzzled by the FIA's attitude towards sprint races. What was even more surprising was the cavalier demeanor of the FIA president at the meeting, as reported by Craig Slater of Sky Sports.
Slater reported, writing:
“A number of senior figures at the meeting also told me they were bemused at FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem’s general attitude. They felt he was more interested in talking about issues like drivers wearing jewellery than some of the major concerns confronting F1. There is growing concern he is not aligned with F1’s direction of travel.”
The British journalist also reported that the word 'greed' was even used to describe the latest developments, writing:
“The word ‘greed’ was actually used to me. And a couple of teams said that, in their view, the FIA do not incur significant extra costs by replacing a practice session with a sprint event. They’re shocked that the FIA has taken this position. What we’ve had at this Formula One Commission meeting is a very significant split at the very highest level of Formula One.”
As reported by Sky Sports, the main topics of the discussion included increasing the number of sprint races to six next year from the three we have this year. The concept has been seen as a success by the teams as well as Formula One and is considered to be a potential singular revenue stream in the future as well.
While there was a unanimous vote in favor of the increase in sprint races by all 10 teams, the FIA in its official statement, however, has revealed that it is "still evaluating the impact of the proposal on its trackside operations and personnel."
F1 in favor of an increase in the number of sprint races
As revealed by Craig Slater, F1, the sport's commercial rights holder, was in favor of an increase in the number of sprints next season. He reported, however, that the FIA is not in support of that stance, stating:
“Among the subjects discussed was increasing the number of sprints to six next year. Formula One, the sport’s commercial rights holder, was in favour of that - there was unanimity among the 10 teams in favour of that as well - but it has not happened because the FIA cannot support it at this point. F1 and the teams have seen how the sprint increased TV audiences and view it attractive to younger fans. They hope it could gain independent sponsorship and become an even bigger revenue stream.”
This season, just like the 2021 season, the number of sprint races has been kept at three. After the success of the sprint race at Imola, it was expected that a decision for the increase in the number of sprints would be reached much faster but that has not happened.