Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Silverstone, 2021

Domenicali wants more F1 sprint events in 2022 after “overwhelmingly positive feedback”

2021 Sao Paulo Grand Prix

Posted on

| Written by

Formula 1 CEO Stefano Domenicali says the sport’s third sprint event will be held in Brazil this year and he wants more of them in 2022.

The first such event was held at Silverstone this year, including the addition of an extra sprint race awarding bonus points on Saturday. Domenicali said it was greeted by an “overwhelmingly positive feedback from the teams, drivers and fans.”

“We will continue to discuss any lessons learnt from the tournament with the teams, but the fundamentals are strong,” he added in a Liberty Media investor call yesterday. “We believe this can be expanded in 2022.”

The first appearance of the format at the British Grand Prix will be followed by two more sprint rounds later this year.

“The idea was to offer something different in order to make sure that there was something new that we can offer to all the stakeholders in Formula 1,” Domenicali explained. “We have said that we wanted to do three tests. One has been done at Silverstone. Another one will be in Monza and the other one will be at the end of the season in Brazil.

“At the end of this complete test we’re going to have a plan to see what will be the next step.”

Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free

The first running of the sprint format was “dramatically positive”, said Domenicali. “The response that we have both from the drivers, from the teams, the media has been really positive. And also for the promoter because if you think that every day we had something new to say. People coming to the track on Friday were already [anticipating] the first qualifying.”

The sport has attracted a new sponsor,, as the sponsor of its 2021 ‘sprint series’. Domenicali said this demonstrated the format is already making a positive financial contribution to the sport.

“Therefore there has been, if I may say, a good sign, a very, very, very positive sign.

“We want to respect what we said. We’re going to have a full debriefing at the end of the season. We have a plan for the future, of course, we are developing that, we are fine-tuning [based on] some of the comments that we received.”

Domenicali reiterated the sprint format will not be used at every round, but they are looking to introduce other “special awards” at certain races “to offer and add to the already incredible platform of Formula 1.”

“So it’s very, very positive comments after the first exercise and [we’re] ready to prepare at the end of the three event a proposal that will bring home what we can see,” he added. “Hopefully it will be a big step that’s a different future for Formula 1, also in a sporting proposition.”

Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff said at Silverstone F1 should have no more than four sprint qualifying events per season.

Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free

2021 F1 season

Browse all 2021 F1 season articles

Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

Got a potential story, tip or enquiry? Find out more about RaceFans and contact us here.

115 comments on “Domenicali wants more F1 sprint events in 2022 after “overwhelmingly positive feedback””

  1. But Brazilian (or Sao Paulo) GP going ahead is unviable, given UK’s red list + that following weekend is a non-race one unless it’d get removed in time for November, which seems somewhat doubtful.

    1. to Brasil is no problem getting to home is harder.

  2. So they are continuing with the propaganda style narrative huh?

    I’m not so sure I’ve seen any ‘overwhelmingly positive’ reaction from anywhere but official F1 channels…

    1. A worrying pattern indeed. It’s a bit too often “overwhelmingly positive”, without any numbers to back it up.

    2. You guys are stuck with British media, but in other parts of the world we love the new sprint qualifying race..

      It should be improved somewhat, but it is better than not having it.

      Ideally we would have quali on friday(determines grid for sunday), reverse grid(from quali result) 100km race on saturday for 10 points maximum.

      And then normal sunday for 25 points.

      This would be awesome, and reward teams good at overtaking with 10 extra points, and not punish top qualifier.

      1. I’m not British and I don’t love it at all. it’s not the media, it’s the fans that don’t like it. qualifying was anti-climatic since it doesn’t actually matter. it feels like the Saturday is red flagged and resumed on Sunday, it takes away all the excitement and I really don’t like it

        1. Exactly… well said

        2. Me neither and I was one of those who actually didn’t oppose it before trying, but it disappointed.

        3. Yes, you’ve described it in a nutshell. Now we have a practice session where no one can make changes to their car. There are parts of it that seem to have merit, such as letting every team just choose which tyre they want to start the race on, but basically the Sprint-Race is just a way of making the Race longer. Oh, and yes, more points for those at the front.

          1. Well said @drycrust, and @nickthegreek, that captures my experience of the thing too

            @jureo without the prejudiced ‘British’ stuff, you might have a valid counter opinion (under influence of which media are you?), but this is just not a useful way to start an argument

      2. Don’t really agree, Dutch television was exited mostly because Max won, but German tv and most comments on worldwide media (Facebook, Youtube etc.) weren’t really that positive either. Most positive comments were about it being a good race, not that the whole thing was a good idea.

      3. GtisBetter (@)
        7th August 2021, 11:04

        Which countries? Do you have some data? Or are you just making things up like Domenicali.

      4. @jureo by “other parts of the world”, are you just referring to the Netherlands and assuming that your viewpoint applies to the rest of the world?

        You can find criticism of the sprint race concept in the Italian, French and German motorsport communities – do you have any evidence to back up your assertions, or are you just going “well, I like it, therefore I am assuming everyone else around me must like it?”.

        1. Only the talking heads of Ziggo are in favor, since the need new jobs when Viaplay comes around next year. Better be not too critical about anything FOM makes up.

          Most Dutchies I know strongly dislike it. I wonder what was the result of the fan vote survey. Perhaps they didn’t register the negative ones.

          1. Señor Sjon, so what you are saying is that the only broadcaster in the Netherlands that is positive about the idea (Ziggo Sport) is the one that is owned by Liberty Media? Sounds a lot like those broadcasters being given a particular line that they need to stick to…

        2. @anon

          Agree, I’m having a hard time while searching hard and wide for any overwhelming positive feedback. Many non-english (non-dutch) speaking sites have about the same average response on the sprint race as the English sites. It’s definitely not a thumbs up from everyone; it’s way more undecided if its any good and there’s a lot of post of keeping quali the way it’s been.
          What positive responses I do read, is that it’s nice to see another race over the weekend but a sprint race as a quali is at best maybe 50-50, more like 40% or under approval. Many seem to still want to keep quali the way it was with a sprint race of sort thrown into the weekend. Most of the likes for a sprint race have been coming from newer fans (old & young) who don’t know the sport as well and not as familiar with the nuances and quality of the racing.

          I agree lets see these numbers of overwhelming feedback, I say its a very dubious statement that Domenicali made. Seems like F1 is overwhelmingly patting themselves on the back for their own idea rather than listening to the all the fans: young & old

          Let’s keep the racing as honest as possible and give each driver a equal playing field/chance to show what they can do. Quality competition over quantity of spectacle entertainment. Please no american wrestling style of TV injected into F1.

      5. Broccoliface
        7th August 2021, 20:41

        Thanks Stefano, very cool

      6. Who are those “we”? I hate the “sprint” concept as an idea and I also dislike the way it’s organized. I dislike the British media as well and I live like 3000km away from UK.

    3. Yes, what happened to we’ll evaluate after the first series?

      1. “At the end of this complete test we’re going to have a plan to see what will be the next step.”

        It might just be the narrative, but it’s still explicitly there.

    4. CheeseBucket
      7th August 2021, 13:54

      Everyone I’ve spoken to thinks its great. It must be fun in your fish bowl.

    5. @phil-f1-21


      Having read on many different racing forums I definitely have not been hearing overwhelmingly positive feedback. Some yes but far from overwhelmingly positive with many voicing don’t break what’s not broken.

    6. Coventry Climax
      8th August 2021, 23:49

      Sorry to say this, but only the feeble minded did not see this coming.

    7. sooooo predictable!

  3. I think he meant overwhelmingly positive sponsorship revenue from dodgy crypto currencies

    1. “Therefore there has been, if I may say, a good sign, a very, very, very positive sign.”
      I read this as “$,$,$.”

    2. CheeseBucket
      7th August 2021, 13:53

      What’s dodgy about something that is completely trustless? Crypto is by nature the complete opposite of dodgy, I think you are just ignorant.

      1. pastaman (@)
        7th August 2021, 14:27

        You should comprehend what they are writing before you call them ignorant. He is not calling crypto technology dodgy, he is calling crypto companies dodgy, which a lot of them are.

        1. Actually he didn’t say companies, he said “dodgy crypto currencies” which only specifies imolementations which may or may not involve a company.

          1. pastaman (@)
            7th August 2021, 19:25

            Yes, technically you are right. But someone’s getting paid, amirite?

          2. Broccoliface
            7th August 2021, 20:46

            What other cryptos we talking? Ive seen Crypto dot com which is a legitimate trading platform with fiduciary compliance, and Tezos whose funding for advertising comes from its initial ICO fundraising warchest from 2017, and is itself a functional and viable network.

          3. Yaru, the same week that the sponsorship deal was announced for the British GP, the UK financial conduct authority issued a penalty to Binance – another trading platform – for illegal advertising that falsely presented cryptocurrency as a low risk investment.

            It also came just two weeks after the UK’s serious crime investigators seized about £350 million in cryptocurrency across a range of platforms that were being used to launder money.

            There are also plans by the EU to extend their anti money laundering legislation to cover cryptocurrency exchanges, which have largely relied on being classified as a service platform to avoid most of that regulation until now.

  4. Biskit Boy (@sean-p-newmanlive-co-uk)
    7th August 2021, 7:50

    aw nuts

  5. Even though he mentions that they are going to respect what they said in having a full debrief after the season is finished, I don’t like the tone of this. Sounds like they have already made up their mind after a single running out of three. All because of money. There is some potential in the format, but it is far from good at the moment I would say, and way too early to have made a decision for the future.

    1. They most probably made up their mind before a single running.

      1. @f1mre Almost certainly

    2. Yep. 100% agree.

    3. In the end, it’s all up to the teams, they can block it of they want to..

      As for money, well why wouldn’t they? They’re a for-profit publically traded company. They wouldn’t be doing their jobs if they don’t try to make more money.

      I certainly would try to get a raise in my job of I could, I want more money too.

      1. @yaru, quite true, and remember, the teams get a share of all revenue so should support anything that increases revenue more than expenditure.

        Personally I like the sprint format but not the change to qualifying, although I accept that it may make the main race less of a foregone conclusion.

  6. As expected, there was no analysis at all. They knew very well that this was here to stay… The overwhelming positive response might or might not exist, but the decision to expand sprint racing further was made before Silverstone anyway

    1. Indeed, at best from the poll I saw here it was 50-50 about liking it, overwhelming would be 80%.

      1. I’m not saying FOM is correct but a voluntary poll with small sample size from Racefans is hardly scientific either.

        1. @yaru at least the Racefans poll was actually published. I’d like to see Domenicali’s scientific findings. Including how they reached their conclusion!

  7. Didn’t a few of the drivers say that they still had to manage the tyres even over the short distance? Maybe a sprint specific compound that can do the race distance at full beans would help to increase the excitement. And tbh, the whole thing may work better if/when the new cars deliver on their promise of more competitive racing/more overtaking.

  8. Isn’t anyone else a little worried by these other “special awards” mentioned.

    1. Yes, the one who loses pole in the SQ will get a blue shell. Secretly awarded already in Silverstone. ;)

    2. More food for the well fed.

  9. The only positive for me was that sprint-format event allowed free tyre-choice for Q3-participants to start on, but that could have easily been achieved without the sprint as well. My fear is however that although F1 couldn’t afford to experiment with a sprint instead of a regular 300 km, the long term goal might be to have shorter races, with 100/150/200/250 km or 40/60 minutes limited, maybe a combination of multiple short races. I don’t say that it would neccessarily damage the sport, but the communication feels a lot like contemptuous.

    1. Free tire choice should be introduced for main event aswell.

      1. @jureo That will happen for next season.

    2. @andrewt I wouldn’t mind if all F1 races became 260 km, like Monaco.

      1. I rather want 500km like the good old days….

    3. I am in favor of variable lengths.
      Some tracks deserve a longer race – 400km or, why not, a 600km – in Spa, for instance.
      On the other hand, other track do not need the full 300km to be run in the same day.
      I mean, for some tracks the action is limited to the first corner and a few laps of compatition.
      After that, at least on current regulations, everybody settles down.
      Maybe three 100km races in Barcelona during the weekend would make more sense.

      1. Wow, that’d be a super race, 600km!

    4. It’s very hard to tell, a race at a fast track like Monza or Spielberg or Silverstone (without safety car or red flag) is easily under 80 minutes, meanwhile street tracks like Singapore, Monaco or Baku usually result in races over 110 minutes. Under the current aero rules and under normal circumstances the race length basically doesn’t matter as we don’t get more quality action as last seen in Mogyoród, I think it’s unacceptable that 2-3 seconds faster cars have to struggle to overtake or even follow (Hamilton vs anyone) the defender, wheel-to-wheel action is almost impossible between cars of similar pace (Ocon vs Vettel). I think we might wait and see how next year’s cars improve on-track racing and evaluate how justified the tradition 300 km races are.

  10. Who could have predicted that they’d declare their sprint race trial, which they’ve been pushing for tirelessly for over 3.5 years, a resounding success.
    It’s plain to see that feedback from fans has not been overwhelmingly positive, but pretty mixed. If there were a strong factual basis, actual evidence/research for their claims of “very positive feedback”, F1 would have shared it. Their ridiculously over-the-top-praise from minutes after the first sprint had finished, combined with zero evidence to back it up, eliminates any trace of believability. It’s full-on propaganda.
    Every fan can look at Twitter, Reddit, the big motorsport forums, or even the forums on F1’s own research platform, F1 Fan Voice, and see how much negative feedback there’s been. Often, overwhelmingly negative. Again, if this were just a vocal minority and there was research to back that up, we’d know about it. The insights shared by ex-FOM employee GT-Racer here on Racefans sound much more believable, i.e. that “that opinions have been far more mixed than they [F1] were expecting/hoping they would be.”
    I’m hoping some media outlets are going to call them out on their propaganda tactics, e.g. by pushing for some more details on how they came to determine the feedback has been “overwhelmingly positive”. I see too many headlines and articles blindly repeating Domenicali’s and Brawn’s claims. It shouldn’t be this easy for F1 to manufacture a narrative by simply shouting out unsupported claims (and asking broadcasters like Sky to do the same). Racefans has been one of the very few outlets talking about the true motivation behind the sprint race plan (this excellent article by Dieter).

    1. Indeed, who would have thought it.

      The accredited media won’t call it out as I’d imagine that would risk their accreditation, much like the Bernie days.

      Unfortunately the result was pre determined and no amount of resistance will prevent it. I suspect that the end game will be to alter some weekends to multiple sprint race formats with no “long” race which in turn will enable them to spout that they have 30 or 40 races a season.

      It’s the way most sport is heading. Lots of short events for maximum coverage (or at least that’s the theory) to replace long format events.

      Lots more to play out on this. For the time being I hope they remain at least sensible and actually take the fan feedback from social media sites and F1 Fan voice (majority of which was negative) and restrict these awful sprints to a very few venues but I’m far from hopeful.

    2. Just read your comment @moctecus and you have said pretty much the same as me below. Must have been typing at the same time.

      The Liberty reaction and analysis is just not believable. They must take us all for fools.

    3. @moctecus as you note, the polls on the F1 Fan Voice site did also support the picture that GT-Racer was painting, which was that the response was far more mixed than Liberty Media might have liked – perhaps explaining why they took the poll offline and hid the results from the public.

      As noted by others, the accredited media are unlikely to want to complain too much because of their dependency on the good will of Liberty Media for access. It could also be noted that, since Sky has quite a few commercial links with Liberty Media outside of F1, there is an added incentive for them to toe the line that Liberty is promoting – maybe Liberty is hoping that the outsized influence of Sky in certain key markets will help push the ideas that they want to sell.

    4. @moctecus Well summed up

    5. @moctecus Spot on. For me this almost feels like they are lying and saying something like “very, very, very, very” or “overwhelmeingly” are words that any media likes to highlight. The problem isn’t the spirnt or the feedback from it. This seems so scripted that it too obvious to see through those “made-up” sentencies which might be partly true. It seems that they are purely written for the media by someone who has written these things earlier.

      Of course I could be wrong but as many comments say there isn’t many very optimistic and overwhelmingly positive feedbacks around there to be seen.

      I don’t know who to blame all this. I doubt Domenicali has as much superior power as Bernie had but as it goes for any sport today the big decisions are made behind closed doors.

  11. Yes (@come-on-kubica)
    7th August 2021, 8:52

    Go on Stefano keep dwindling the audience. Too many races and with this dumb format too much time required, how they think this will help is beyond me? Get the cars closer in performance.

    1. If only there was a car format revamped coming next year designed to do just that……