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F1 sprint races could be scrapped amid row with teams over money


Formula One sprint races could be axed from the calendar this year amid a row over money.

F1’s CEO Stefano Domenicali, and motorsport boss Ross Brawn wanted to double the number of shortened-format rounds – first introduced at last year’s British Grand Prix – from three to six in 2022.

But F1 is locked in dispute with a number of the grid’s front-running teams, understood to be Mercedes, Red Bull and Ferrari, who want to see the cost cap set this year at 140million US Dollars (£103m) – effectively increased to cover off the additional races.

F1 and its governing body, the FIA are unwilling to accommodate the financial demands of the rebel teams.

F1 is ready to compromise by keeping the shortened events – which take place instead of qualifying on Saturday and determine the grid for Sunday’s main event – at just three of the 23 Grands Prix, in the hope of ramping up the tally next year.

But there is a possibility that there will be no sprint races at all this season – with eight of the grid’s 10 teams required to vote in favour of the sport’s latest proposal.

The topic will be discussed at the F1 Commission on February 14, a little more than four weeks before the start of the new season in Bahrain on March 20.

McLaren CEO Zak Brown said: “One team in particular wanted a $5m (£3.7m) budget cap increase which was just ridiculous with no rational facts behind it.

“And when those facts are challenged, the response is, ‘well you have to anticipate and have the extra money just in case something happens’. You end up sitting there and realising it is just nonsense.

“We all have the same challenge. If you do happen to have more crashes, well that is part of sport, like a football player getting injured. We shouldn’t solve it just by getting the cheque book out.”

F1 will also put forward an increase in points distributed to the drivers – which was last season set at three for the winner, two points for second place and one for third.

Silverstone staged the sport’s first sprint race but it is not believed to be in the reckoning as a venue for 2022.

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