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Formula 1

Exclusive: Formula 1 planning three sprint races in 2021

Although the finer details still have to be worked out, RacingNews365.com has learned Formula 1 are determined to have three sprint races this season. Three weekends are already being eyed as potential hosts for the test as the series look to make the idea a permanent fixture in 2022.

Formula 1 teams will hold an important meeting on February 11 with various topics, including the possible engine freeze, on the agenda. Although it may not be garnering the same amount attention, sprint races and their inclusion in the F1 calendar will also be discussed.

Barring a last minute change, it's expected sprint races will happen during the 2021 campaign. The idea first came to light back in 2019, when Formula 1 bosses considered replacing qualifying with sprint races at select events during the year with the starting grid set in reverse order of the championship standings.

In the end nothing came of the idea, but that looks set to change in 2021. While the reverse starting grid looks like it won't be adopted, RacingNews365.com has learned that Formula 1 bosses want to try out sprint races at three locations. The most likely candidates at this time are Canada (Montreal), Italy (Monza) and Brazil (Sao Paulo). Canada and Brazil are earmarked because they are broadcast in the late afternoon and early evening in Europe. Therefore they could attract significant audiences.

The move would result in the race weekend being adjusted with free practice and qualifying taking place on Friday, followed by the sprint race on Saturday and the feature race on Sunday. No points will be handed out for the sprint race, but that may change in the years to come.

Another factor to consider is how to ensure that sprint races differ from the feature race on Sunday, a point Formula 1 are still thinking over. One possible solution would see drivers forced to drive the entire sprint race with one set of tyres.

All of this is a test for the future, with Formula 1 bosses hoping to have as many as 10 sprint races per season. This would allow the series to add extra races to the calendar while cutting down on travel. It would also bring added value to select race weekends, resulting in more money from promoters who want to feature a sprint and feature race at their track.

Thus talks regarding the change will take place on Thursday with teams optimistic an agreement will be reached, as the extra money would be a boost for the series during these uncertain times, with everyone clear some changes must be agreed upon in order to get the idea up and running in 2021.

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