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New FIA President strongly denies suggestions of 'greed'

While F1 and the teams have agreed to double the number of Sprint races to six in 2023, the FIA are taking time to evaluate the impact of such a move.

Mohammed ben Sulayem - Verstappen - Horner
To news overview © Red Bull Contentpool

FIA President Mohammed Ben Sulayem has stressed that money is not behind a hold-up in plans to increase the number of F1 Sprint events next season.

After making its debut in 2021, the revised format - which shifts qualifying to Friday and slots in a 100-kilometre race on Saturday - has remained in place for 2022, again at three venues.

F1 and teams recently backed proposals to double this number to six from the 2023 campaign, but the FIA are yet to give it the green light as they "evaluate the impact on trackside operations and personnel".

Amid subsequent suggestions that the issue comes down to "greed" on the governing body's part, Ben Sulayem has hit back with a strong denial.

"I did not ask for more money, but if I had I would have wanted to use it in the right way – to invest in the proper regulation of the sport," Ben Sulayem told Daily Mail.

"We say Formula 1 is the pinnacle, and it is, so we at the FIA need the resources to govern the technical and financial side of a billion-dollar sport in a manner that respects that.

"We need the capability to observe those standards."

Ben Sulayem not in a rush to make Sprint decision

Ben Sulayem added that he does not see a need to rush over such a move.

"I support the races if it is the right thing to do," he commented.

"I'm not saying it is the wrong thing. I'm saying there is time to decide. This is for 2023, not this season. Our house isn't on fire.

"We have what is called a democracy: Formula One (Group) have a vote, the teams have a vote, I have a vote. If you then say I can't abstain or take time to study the proposals, then you are not allowing me the freedom of democracy."

Ben Sulayem then made reference to the 2021 finale in Abu Dhabi, where Max Verstappen controversially beat Lewis Hamilton to the crown.

"Specifically with regard to the Sprints, I have to see whether my team on the ground can absorb the extra workload the races would entail," he said.

"After Abu Dhabi people said we should change this or that, so I don't understand why we would suddenly ask the FIA team to do more. An incident happens in the future, such as one involving a Safety Car, and then what?

"We need to look into all this and make a sensible decision. Let us run our operation. We are going to fix it."

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