Formula 1 offers compromise of three sprint events in 2022 amid teams' ongoing dispute over costs
F1 had majority of teams' support for initial plans of six sprint races but it is understood Mercedes, Red Bull and Ferrari want an increase to the cost cap; a compromise package of three sprints has now been offered; eight of the 10 teams need to pass the plans
By Matt Morlidge
Last Updated: 03/02/22 1:13pm
Formula 1 bosses have offered a compromise of three sprint events this season instead of the planned six, with the teams still at odds over costs.
F1, encouraged by the Silverstone, Monza and Interlagos experiments from last year, had wanted to double the amount of Saturday sprint races from three to six in 2022, increasing the action over a Grand Prix weekend.
However, those plans hit a stumbling block over the winter as teams disagreed about the compensation involved for the extra racing.
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It is understood the three top teams - Mercedes, Red Bull and Ferrari - all want an increase of F1's cost cap, much to the frustration of their rivals.
That has left talks at an impasse as, while the other seven contenders are happy with the 2022 proposals, F1 needs support from at least eight teams for the six sprints to get the green light this year.
Discussions are still ongoing and F1, intent on retaining the format, have now offered a compromise package of three sprint events, and hope for an agreement at the F1 Commission meeting on February 14.
They will, however, still not allow an increase to the budget cap, which is set at $140m (£103m) for all 10 teams this year.
But without the support of Mercedes, Red Bull and Ferrari, there remains a chance that F1 could have to abandon their sprint plans entirely in 2022.
F1 earmarked Bahrain, Imola, Montreal, Austria, Zandvoort and Interlagos as potential venues for sprint races this year, although it is unclear which three tracks they are now putting forward.
Explaining the sprint race stand-off
The sprint format debuted in 2021, bringing a shorter Saturday race to three weekends to set the grid for Sunday's Grand Prix. The British, Italian and Brazilian GPs all turned out to be hugely-dramatic and exciting events.
It also coincided with F1's new yearly cost cap, which was introduced to help level the playing field between the teams with bigger resources and the rest, improving the competitiveness and fairness on track.
The link between sprints and a cost cap is that these extra races essentially give teams another risk of car damage, which in many cases would mean they needed to spend part of their cost-cap budget - which ideally is used for improvements to their cars - to fix.
Last year, teams were given a small extra allowance for sprint races in case of crashes and damage, and there was a similar offer for this year's plan - with seven teams in support.
But it is understood the top teams felt this was not enough, and want to increase the cost cap.
McLaren boss Zak Brown even suggested that one team wanted to raise it by $5m.
He wrote in a passionate column last month that "some teams still look for excuses to raise the cost cap and win world championships with chequebooks".
"Teams continue to demand a raise to the cost cap by an inordinate amount of money, despite the clear evidence that little damage was incurred during these races last year, in a thinly-veiled attempt to protect from their competitive advantage being eroded," Brown stated.
F1's current governance structure dictates that for the rules to change in a calendar year, eight of the 10 teams must back the idea.
With so little time before a vote and three teams thought to be pushing for more money, F1 needs its compromise to resolve the impasse if they are going to get the green light for their sprint races.
For rules to change the following year, only five of the teams need to agree. Brown said he believes F1 should therefore try to push through sprint races for 2023 first before voting on 2022.
"I think we should go ahead and lock in now for '23 with no budget cap raise at all, if you want to be hard about it," he said.
"And then maybe either there can be a compromise made and we can raise it a little bit when we go ahead and start in '22. Or we skip '22 - and I think a couple of these teams should have to explain to the fans why there's no sprint races."