Formula 1 managing director Ross Brawn has claimed that six events on the 2022 F1 calendar could use the sport's new sprint format.
F1 announced that the British GP, Italian GP and one other event will host a sprint race this season which will see the drivers compete in a 100km Saturday race following a Friday qualifying session. The first sprint race will take place at Silverstone next month.
"We can see a scenario where maybe there's half a dozen events next year which have a sprint format," Brawn told RacingNews365.com and other select members of the press. "It could even extend from there.
"We've had a lot of promoters say they would like to have the sprint as part of their package going forward. In this commercial world, that's something that can be negotiated with promoters so that the team share the benefits of a more concrete weekend."
Brawn says that F1 will only look at keeping or adding more sprint races to the 2022 calendar if the format works.
"We will never force this through if it’s clearly not a success,” said Brawn. “There’s no incentive in doing it if the audience don’t engage.
"If we don’t see a strong engagement from the fans and we don’t see the benefits, there’s no reason why we will force it through.
“One of the great things about what’s happening is it’s three races, it’s not the season. In the past Formula 1 has always struggled with the fact that when it’s made an adjustment it’s made it theoretically for the season.
“We all remembered the qualifying fiasco a few years ago which luckily got corrected part-way through the season. I think that was one that everybody forecast was going to be a struggle and it turned out to be.
“So this is three events where were going to trial this format and if it’s not a success, if we don’t get the response we hope, then we’ll put our hands up and then we’ll stay the way we are and we’ll look at other initiatives."
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Brawn explained that the new format is intended to attract new fans to F1 and he has urged traditional fans to give the innovation a chance.
“Traditionalists, I understand,” said Brawn. “I sympathise with that view and I understand that view.
“They enjoy the format of a grand prix weekend and they like to see qualifying leading to the grid. I would just ask them to keep an open mind.
"I'd ask the traditionalists to wait and see if they enjoy it and hopefully they will. I think because it’s an addition to the weekend, we draw fans in on a Saturday and then they engage with us and follow through on a Sunday, that will be a success.”
Points will be awarded to the top three drivers from the sprint race, with three points to the first place driver, two points awarded to the second driver and one point for the driver in third position. Brawn made comparisons to cricket which has showed that a shorter format can work.
“I don’t like to make analogies, but I think with short format cricket I think we’ve seen a much better engagement with test cricket now because short format cricket has drawn fans in," said Brawn.
“I think we have to be nimble but not change so quickly that we confuse fans and alienate our traditional fans. So it’s just finding that balance and that’s what we’re setting out to do.”