With a confirmed commitment to integrate a selection of sprint races into the F1 calendar, F1 is poised to commence discussions on refining this spectacle for the 2024 season.
Although grand prix officials are content maintaining the six sprint races for the coming year, a meeting of the F1 Commission, planned during the Belgian Grand Prix weekend, is earmarked to ponder modifications to the sprint schedule.
Stefano Domenicali, F1 CEO, recently disclosed the proposal of adding a unique ‘Grand Slam’ feature to sprint weekends, an accolade awarded to a driver who secures pole position and victory in both the sprint and the main grand prix.
In a one-on-one interview with F1 Flow.com, Domenicali discussing the sprint plans for next year, said: “We will have six sprint races, the details of which we aim to announce by September, during the Formula 1 Commission meeting at the Belgian Grand Prix weekend.
“I am considering a proposal consistent with the ‘Grand Slam’ concept, wherein drivers who achieve dual pole positions and race wins over the weekend receive additional recognition, symbolizing their remarkable sporting achievement.”
The ‘Grand Slam’ proposal is still in its nascent stage, and it’s understood that F1 wants to engage with teams for initial discussions about the general idea before honing in on the ultimate reward.
While it’s unlikely to manifest in the form of extra championship points, it may culminate in a distinctive trophy or other prize awarded for a dominant performance.
(Image: Mark Sutton / F1 Flow Images)
In addition to the ‘Grand Slam’ concept, F1 teams are due to discuss potential refinements to the format of sprint weekends for the following year.
Considerations reportedly include altering the tyre allocation or parc ferme rules, or even revising the weekend schedule to build better momentum towards the Sunday race.
A suggestion put forth by several team heads involves using Friday qualifying at sprint weekends to determine the grid for Saturday morning’s sprint race, instead of an afternoon slot. The Saturday afternoon would then be dedicated to the grand prix qualifying.
However, any modifications to the sprint format could result in further changes to the weekend schedule, potentially perplexing fans.
Despite these concerns, Domenicali asserts that their research indicates such changes would not deter the audience.
“We have evaluated this aspect,” he said. “The risk is potentially greater for loyal viewers accustomed to certain routines, rather than new fans who are more open to change.
“Nevertheless, no major changes are underway regarding the format. Our aim is to establish the six sprint race weekends while respecting the traditions of our long-standing fans.”
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about F1 ‘Grand Slam’ proposal
What is the ‘Grand Slam’ concept in F1 racing?
The ‘Grand Slam’ is a new concept being considered for introduction in the 2024 F1 season. It would be a special recognition given to any driver who achieves pole position and victory in both the sprint and main grand prix over a weekend.
How many sprint races are planned for the upcoming year in F1?
For the upcoming year, the F1 officials have decided to retain the number of sprint races at six.
What changes are being considered for the format of sprint weekends?
Changes under consideration for the format of sprint weekends include alterations to tyre allocation or parc ferme rules and revisions to the weekend schedule to build better momentum towards the Sunday race. There’s also a proposal to determine the grid for Saturday’s sprint race during Friday’s qualifying, freeing up Saturday afternoon for the grand prix qualifying.
How is F1 managing the risk of confusing fans with changes to the sprint format?
F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali has indicated that while changes could potentially confuse long-term viewers who are accustomed to certain routines, research suggests that new fans are more open to change. F1 aims to respect the traditions of long-standing fans while establishing the six sprint race weekends.
What could be the reward for achieving the proposed ‘Grand Slam’?
While the reward for achieving the ‘Grand Slam’ is still under discussion, it is thought unlikely to be extra championship points. The reward could take the form of a distinctive trophy or other recognition of the driver’s dominance over the weekend.