With the FIA having recently given the green light for the number of sprints to expand next year from the current three, F1 chiefs have been carefully considering where best to hold the events.
During a meeting of the F1 Commission in Abu Dhabi on Friday, part of the discussions were devoted to plans for the 2023 season and where the sprints should take place.
Multiple sources have confirmed that F1 told teams its current plan is for the sprints to run in:
Azerbaijan Grand Prix – Baku
Austrian Grand Prix – Red Bull Ring
Belgian Grand Prix – Spa-Francorchamps
Qatar Grand Prix – Losail
United States Grand Prix – Austin
Brazilian Grand Prix – Interlagos
While the locations are not yet totally set in stone, with Saudi remaining in contention for a possible switch with Qatar, high level sources indicate the other venues are pretty much locked in.
Kevin Magnussen, Haas VF-22, Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB18, George Russell, Mercedes W13
Photo by: Andy Hone / Motorsport Images
The choice of venues is slightly different from F1’s previous preferred six venues that were originally laid out for this season, before those plans were scuppered by teams rejecting the idea of more sprints.
For 2022, F1 had wanted sprints in Bahrain, Imola, Canada, Austria, the Netherlands and Brazil.
Autosport understands that the change of some venues has come about because of a desire to ensure the sprints take place at venues where overtaking opportunities are great – rather than locations that were willing to pay the most for the privilege of hosting a sprint.
F1 has an overtaking index for tracks that shows which venues are better for racing, and that has played a big factor in its choice
Speaking exclusively to Autosport about the driving force for the change of sprint venues, F1 managing director of motorsport Ross Brawn said: “They are not necessarily the most commercially lucrative of the options we have, but they’re the ones where we thought the sprint would work well.
“We’re trying to find a balance. And that’s what we will always do. We’ll never compromise on the event.”
As well as settling on the locations of the sprints, F1 is still evaluating the idea of making the Saturday races standalone events so that they do not decide the grid for the main grand prix.