[F1 considering ‘Grand Slam’ idea for Sprint races in 2024
With F1 now fully committed to incorporating a selection of sprint races throughout the F1 calendar, talks are set to begin soon about ways to further fine-tune the spectacle in 2024.
While grand prix bosses are happy to keep the number of sprint races at six for next year, a gathering of the F1 Commission scheduled for the Belgian Grand Prix weekend looks set to discuss tweaks to the sprint plans.
F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali has now revealed that one idea being looked at is to introduce a special ‘Grand Slam’ element to sprint weekends – which would be awarded to any driver who takes pole position and victory for both the sprint and main grand prix.
In an exclusive interview with Motorsport.com talking about the sprint plans for next year, Domenicali said: “There will be six sprints, and we will announce them I think in September, because we have a meeting of the Formula 1 Commission scheduled for the weekend of the Belgian Grand Prix.
“There is a proposal that I would like to make, in line with the concept of the ‘Grand Slam’. It is that drivers who take the two poles and the two race wins over the weekend should be recognised with something extra, which represents well the sporting enterprise they have achieved.”
The idea of the ‘Grand Slam’ is still in its early phases, and it is understood that F1 wants discussions with teams first about the general concept before it focuses more on what the final award could be.
It is thought unlikely that it would result in extra championship points being offered, but it could end up being a special trophy or other reward to be given out if a driver is dominant.
Sergio Perez, Red Bull Racing, 2nd position, Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing, 1st position, Carlos Sainz, Scuderia Ferrari, 3rd position, with their Sprint trophies
Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images
As well as the ‘Grand Slam’ idea, F1 teams are also set to discuss whether or not the format for the sprint weekends should be refined for next year.
It is understood that areas being looked at are whether or not the tyre allocation or parc ferme rules should be changed, and even whether the flow of the weekends are shaken up to build momentum better towards Sunday’s race.
At the moment, Saturdays at a sprint race weekend are completely standalone, with sprint qualifying in the morning and the shorter race in the afternoon.
One idea that has been suggested by some team bosses is for Friday qualifying at sprint weekends to decide the grid for the sprint race, which would take place on Saturday morning rather than in the afternoon. Then Saturday afternoon would be devoted to qualifying for the actual grand prix itself.
Should any changes be made to the sprint format, then it would be yet another change to the weekend timetable, something that could risk confusing fans.
Domenicali insists, however, that research shows that tweaking the format does not risk being a turn off for many.
“We have analysed this point,” he said. “I believe that the risk is more related to loyal viewers, who have their own habits, rather than to new fans, who are much more open to change.
“However, there is no big news on the format front. We want to stabilise the six weekends with the sprint race and respect the habits of the long-time fans.”