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F1 sprint race plan receives positive response, salary cap talks ongoing

F1 sprint race plan receives positive response, salary cap talks ongoing

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F1 sprint race plan receives positive response, salary cap talks ongoing

F1 sprint race plan receives positive response, salary cap talks ongoing
Ian Parkes & Sam Hall

Formula 1 teams have responded positively to a proposal that would see the weekend format shaken up with the introduction of a Saturday sprint race, GPFans has learned.

The format of an F1 weekend has remained largely unchanged since 2006 when the sport dropped one of its four practice sessions.

The latest proposed shake-up represents a significant departure for F1 as it seeks ways to stimulate greater interest and audience growth in the sport.

The suggestion is for the second Friday practice session to be replaced by qualifying, which would then set the grid for a Saturday sprint race.

The Saturday morning practice session would remain ahead of a one-third distance sprint race of no more than 100 kilometres [63 miles] that would set the grid for Sunday's main event.

Whilst other changes, including reverse grids and replacing qualifying entirely with a sprint race, have previously been rejected by teams, this new plan has been welcomed following a meeting of the F1 Commission.

The aim is for the sprint races to be trialled at this year's Canadian, Italian and Brazilian GPs, with the two American rounds selected due to their prime time positioning for a European audience on a Saturday evening.

If the format is eventually voted through, it is expected to become a permanent feature from next season.

A joint F1/FIA statement read: "All teams recognised the major importance of engaging fans in new and innovative ways to ensure an even more exciting weekend format.

"There was, therefore, broad support from all parties for a new qualifying format at some races, and a working group has been tasked with creating a complete plan with the aim to reach a final decision before the start of the 2021 championship."

Another item on the Commission's agenda - a drivers' salary cap - also requires further discussion.

The topic was first aired last year, with the initial proposal being for a combined limit on the salary of the two drivers per team set at $30million.

Due to the difficulties involved and the detail required in introducing such a cap, the F1 Commission has determined that further evaluation is required before the situation can be finalised.

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