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Formula 1

VW entry, more Sprint races and future engine regs all up for discussion

A meeting of the F1 Commission in London on Tuesday is set to discuss a number of important topics, as Dieter Rencken explains.

Start sprintrace Imola
To news overview © XPB

On the face of it, today's Formula 1 Commission meeting, which got underway at 11:00 in London, is unremarkable save for the fact that it marks another return to 'normality' for F1: the meeting features an in-person gathering of the great and good bosses of the sport, rather than being convened by teleconference.

Crucially, though, the agenda includes current and future discussion points, with freight costs and potential disruptions dominating proceedings.

Fuel prices increases, the Russia-Ukraine conflict and a recovering economy after the disruptions caused by Covid have played havoc with supply lines, with F1 being particularly vulnerable due to its small volumes in global terms, one-way routings and tight deadlines.

Cost increases have impacted on the budget cap, with various team bosses calling for either blanket revisions to the current $140 million dollar restriction or suitable inflationary allowances.

Either way, the decision is crucial for the major teams, who are already on the limit.

More Sprints on the cards?

After the success of the last Sprint race in Imola, F1 bosses are expected to push their team peers to accept a doubling to six such events in 2023. As always, though, the sticking point will be the costs of these events, with teams demanding additional allowances.

F1's Managing Director, Ross Brawn, said after the Imola edition: "I think we can see the success, and I think we didn't know quite where we were last year with the old cars. I think [the teams] can see the way this is feeding into the new cars and the philosophy of new cars.

"I'm optimistic that they'll see the value in it and what we're giving the fans.

"I think one thing you should always remember about the Sprint is that it gives you a great Friday as well. We have qualifying on Friday, we have three days of action for the fans, and we can't ignore that."

New engine regs, and what about VW?

Also up for discussion are various rule clarifications in the wake of the sweeping changes introduced by F1's adoption of its 'new era' regulations this year. Depending on their nature these could be introduced immediately with team approval or for safety reasons, or held over for 2023.

According to Ferrari Team Principal Mattia Binotto, the 2026-onwards power unit regulations are listed for further debate, although the basic framework was agreed in December. The Swiss-Italian said: "A number of open points remain. The objective is to try to vote… or to finalise the regulations by June.

"Are we close to the final regulations? Maybe not: there is still much to do – but I'm pretty sure we are getting it all together, and we have the right priorities.

"It is important for us to have those regulations defined, as it is important for Volkswagen Group, but not only [them] because [current manufacturers] need to decide on what we need to develop, and what are the boundary conditions."

Mercedes F1 CEO Toto Wolff told RacingNews365.com that he expects to be updated on a number of developments, including the status of VW Group's mooted entry – a final decision was recently delayed again.

Other F1 topics up for discussion

Calendar revisions after the Russian Grand Prix was cancelled are listed for discussion, with Qatar in pole position as replacement, although a second (daylight) race in Singapore is another option.

A number of items are expected to be raised under "Any Other Business", with recent demands by the Grand Prix Drivers' Association for inclusion in topics such as weekend formats, calendars and venues and media work likely to be discussed.

The FIA and Formula 1 are expected to issue a statement after the meeting.

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