Formula 1 has published its schedule for each race weekend in 2022, but a notable absence is that of sprint qualifying weekends, which have yet to be included.
Speculation has been rife that the teams and sport have been at an impasse regarding the budgetary arrangements for sprint qualifying, with the sport’s big hitters said to be wanting an extra $5million added to their cap to account for any damage caused in the shortened races, which set the grid for Sunday’s grand prix.
McLaren CEO Zak Brown said the stand-off between the sport and the FIA may not be resolved prior to the start of the season, meaning the short-term future of sprint qualifying is currently in doubt, given the need for eight of the 10 teams to vote ‘yes’ on the proposals in front of them.
The sport offered the teams a flat rate of $150,000 extra cash for each sprint weekend in 2021, with an additional $100,000 being made available for any damage sustained – but the significant rise in monetary demand among the dissenting teams, rumoured to be Mercedes and Red Bull, has put paid to a universal agreement for now.
The format was trialled three times in 2021 – at Silverstone, Monza and Interlagos respectively – but Formula 1 had been hoping to up the number of sprint weekends to six in 2022, after the positive overall reception it gained among fans.
Those in charge of the sport introduced the sprint format to try and have “meaningful action” on each day of a race weekend, which shuffles a standard qualifying session to Friday – which is normally solely reserved for free practice – before the sprint on a Saturday and the race taking place as normal on a Sunday.
It’s worth noting that sprint qualifying venues were not confirmed until the season had started in 2021, so should an agreement be reached, it is possible Formula 1 may follow its approach from last year and announce sprint venues during the season.
The FIA published a detailed breakdown of the session times for each weekend of the 2022 season, which gets underway in Bahrain on Sunday 20 March.
FP1 in Sakhir will start at 3pm local time [12noon GMT] on Friday 18 March, with lights out coming at 6pm [3pm GMT] at the floodlit circuit.