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Azerbaijan Grand Prix to bid for F1 sprint event

Azerbaijan Grand Prix to bid for F1 sprint event

F1 News

Azerbaijan Grand Prix to bid for F1 sprint event

Azerbaijan Grand Prix to bid for F1 sprint event

Executive director of the Baku City Circuit Arif Rahimov has confirmed the Azerbaijan Grand Prix will push to host one of the proposed six F1 sprints in 2023.

At a recent F1 Commission meeting, all 10 teams agreed to double the number from the three this season after four successful runnings of the adjusted weekend format so far.

A super-majority is required in order to make the change for next season and this was not achieved, with the FIA failing to back the alteration as it sought to carry out further research into the impacts of the increase.

At a sprint, qualifying is moved to a Friday evening with its Saturday slot taken up by a 100km race to decide the grid for Sunday's grand prix proper, a format that has been a hit with F1's viewership since first being trialled at Silverstone last year.

Asked in a media briefing including GPFans whether he would look to secure a sprint event for Azerbaijan, Rahimov said: "Well, in general, I am personally a proponent of tweaking things around sometimes, just to bring some of the interest back.

"I quite like the sprint races, they add a lot more action. Basically, the appeal with the sprint race - not just for Baku but for any promoter - is definitely it looks like it will bring more fans on a Saturday than qualifying because you call it a race, especially for those fans... we are a market where fans are not as educated in the sport itself.

"So when you say you have two races, for people who don't know the difference between a sprint race and an actual race, I mean it will definitely increase the attendance on a Saturday and give them more value for money, they think they are buying their ticket for two races - they actually are buying their ticket for two races.

"I would be glad to have the sprint race here in Baku next year. I hope we are one of those six races that will get it."

Sprint "good for the sport" - Rahimov

Last year's Azerbaijan Grand Prix provided a mini-sprint when a red flag was thrown two laps from the end after Max Verstappen's spectacular tyre failure left debris strewn across the circuit.

On whether talks had already taken place with F1 over hosting one of the sprint events for 2023, Rahimov explained: "That was on my agenda for this year's race

"With how busy F1 is right now, I think the best time to get their attention to the novelties is when you are actually racing.

"So that was something on my agenda for this year, I was going to propose that we have one of those sprint races for next year.

"I am a big proponent for it, like I said. I really like the idea, I think it is good to mix things around a little bit throughout the year.

"Things get boring and people get too used to the same format and they lose their interest so when these sorts of changes come in, I think it is good for the sport."

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