There are no races until the end of this month, April 30, AZERBAIJAN GRAND PRIX, Baku City. In the meantime a lot of things is happening with the teams, drivers and specially with the format of qualifying during the weekend.
Last year on December it was announce that for 2023 Formula 1 season there would be more Sprint races than before and some other changes that may come with it.
- AZERBAIJAN GRAND PRIX
- GROSSER PREIS VON ÖSTERREICH
- BELGIAN GRAND PRIX
- QATAR GRAND PRIX
- UNITED STATES GRAND PRIX
- GRANDE PRÊMIO DE SÃO PAULO
Formula 1 is making an effort to bring a bigger audience to the sport and keep it, this new format of Sprint races was introduce in 2021 looking to make more interesting Saturday normally the day for the Qualifying sessions, Sprint races are usually 100km that's from 25 to 30 laps depending on the circuit.
Race weekend starts on Friday with Free Practice or as many know it FP1, FP2, FP3, depending on the circuit, usually Friday is FP day, Saturday FP & Qualifying Sessions 1,2 and 3, finally on Sunday is the Grand Prix. To be hones not everyone watch Friday and Saturday, that's only for hard core fans who understand the mechanics of the sport, strategies or you just enjoy listening to the F1 sound, petrol heads only. Formula 1 has notice this and wants to bring more audience for those two days, basically they think the event can make more money by introducing a short race on Saturday.
This is the current format for when there will be sprint race during the weekend.
Practice is just that, practice, doesnt matter who is faster, just doesnt count.
The one-hour session, split into three segments, that has yielded plenty of drama in recent years, will still a big part of the show. However, it will move to Friday, giving the first day of track action some gravitas and a crescendo event.
The session is also happening later in the day, to make it easier for fans who are working to watch.
"...its easier for the fans who are working to watch"
As you can tell most of this changes are happening to keep fans watching most sessions during the weekend either they are practice, qualifying, sprint or the grand prix.
For the entire weekend teams have, for each driver, a set of tires, there is usually only three compounds or type of tires, drivers have 13
- Two set of hard compound
- Three set of medium compound
- Eight set of soft compound
This set of tires will be reduce to eleven
- Three set of hard compound
- Four set of medium compound
- Four set of soft compound
Until Australia Grand Prix teams could choose any tires they want during qualifying but starting on AZERBAIJAN GRAND PRIX teams MUST ONLY use
- Hard compound on Q1
- Medium compound on Q2
- Soft compound on Q3
On 2023 there will be a new compound introduce, a C5 soft compound will makes it debut in Azerbaijan, also a new wet tire, improve will be available this year.
Current Formula 1, Drivers Champion, Max Verstappen from Red Bull Racing, have express that he has no intentions of keep racing for too long if the amount of races keep increasing, 23 for this year and possible to close 2026 with up to 30 races, this has not been confirm yet obviously, although there are several factors why a driver would not want to have more races on his calendar.
- Time away from Family
- Have a personal life
Every race is a risk, yes there are security measures, they are getting paid to race but Formula 1 is a sport where anything can happen.
Just look for Guanyu Zhou's accident last year at Silverstone, its a miracle he got out without a scratch from that car, look at the Romain Grosjean accident at Bahrain on 2020.
Every single time a driver gets into a Formula 1 they are literally driving a spaceship rocket with the intention to go as fast as possible on a circuit, keeping all that power to the ground by using aerodynamics down force.
Thats for the more races topic, now lets talk about sprint races that are from 25 to 30 races, I'm not against progress but I'm sure this will get to a point that there will be a Sprint race on every single circuit, so if drivers use to race 23 races a year now they are basically doing 34.5 races a year. Thats more stress to the mechanics, cars and drivers plus also the risk of the car to broke down or even worst can you imagine a sprint race that ends like the recent Australia GP, because of a Sprint race you end up will half of the Grid DNF, I'm ok with Sprint Races on circuits like Silverstone, Spa, Imola but having Sprint races on urban/street circuits is just too dangerous as they are not usually the most clean when it comes to the surface, they are bumpy, tight and curves are the most awkward some times.
I think this will fail, there are cars on the Grid that take more time to get tires to the correct temperature specially with hard tires and this will take out drivers from Q1, I'm not sure how will British fans would feel if Mercedes cars for some reason on Silverstone cant heat up tires and end out of Q1 or if this happens to Ferrari on Imola, same goes for Red Bull on The Red Bull Ring. Yes this will force teams to bring their A game when it comes to development but I'm not sure if its the best approach.
Im ALL IN when it comes to bring the sport to more viewers, have it exponentially grow but some of this changes could only complicate things that will lead teams, cars and drivers to become unreliable and will take out of the show, could even take great drivers out of the sport like Max Verstappen has mention that if they continue to increase the amount of races he is not interested on staying in the sport, for Formula 1 thats probably fine since there will be another driver, another champion but what if he is the next Hamilton, all the years Formula 1 will miss, his fans some might just stop watching because there is no other Dutch driver dominating Formula 1. All this changes have contradictory factors that they need to evaluate and not just try to please the fans and at the end is not about the fans its about making money, there has to be a balance.