The winner of next season’s F1 sprint races will be rewarded with eight championship points in another significant rule change for the sport.
However, the number of shortened Saturday races will remain three, with the FIA scrapping their original plans to double that number.
The news may be welcomed by Lewis Hamilton as he bids to regain his world crown, with the Mercedes man failing to win any of the additional events last year – despite a stunning display in Brazil.
In 2021, the 100 kilometre dashes were held at Silverstone, Monza, and Interlagos, with grid places decided by a qualifying session the previous day.
It was Red Bull’s Max Verstappen who won the inaugural race in Britain, while Valtteri Bottas prevailed in the latter two.
However, last year just three points were handed to the winner, two for the runner-up, and one for a third-placed finish – with the Saturday standings then forming the grid the main Grand Prix race on Sunday.
The events prompted a mixed reaction with many pundits and fans calling for them to be culled, and there was widespread condemnation when provisions were announced to increase the amount to six for this campaign.
F1 bosses have now appeared to take note of the feedback, and have only pencilled in extra events for the race for Austria, and again Italy and Brazil – but plans to host them in Bahrain, Canada and the Netherlands have been scrapped.
The name has also been officially changed from ‘sprint qualifying’ to just ‘the sprint’.
And as an added incentive for drivers to perform on a Saturday, the top-eight sprint finishers will all get points, with the allocation counting down from 8,7,6,5,4,3,2,1 from first to eighth.
Like last season, the grid for the sprint races will be decided by the fastest times in Friday’s qualifying, and the results of the race will then dictate the grid order the following day.
However, the ‘pole position’ will still be officially awarded to whoever his quickest in the first qualifying session.
“Following a review of the three sprint events that took place in 2021 and a recognition by all that the format created positive benefits for the sport,” read an FIA statement.
Three sprint events were proposed for 2022, acknowledging this as a sensible number in light of the pressures already on the teams for this season with the introduction of major changes to the regulations.
“The Commission unanimously approved the three sprint events for the coming season, incorporating a number of updates to the format based on the feedback of fans, media and teams.”