Motorsport.com revealed over the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix weekend that Baku and Spa were both being lined up to host a sprint after it was agreed in September there would be six 100km sprints in 2023, up from three this year.
On Wednesday, F1 formally confirmed the six sprint locations for 2023, which are:
- Azerbaijan - Baku City Circuit (April 30)
- Austria - Red Bull Ring (July 2)
- Belgium - Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps (July 30)
- Qatar - Losail International Circuit (October 8)
- USA - Circuit of The Americas (October 22)
- Brazil - Interlagos (November 5)
Baku, Spa, Losail and Austin will host a sprint race for the first time since the introduction of the format in 2021.
The Red Bull Ring hosted its maiden sprint this year, while Interlagos has been one of the most successful sprint tracks through its events in 2021 and 2022.
Imola has been dropped from the sprint roster after hosting its first one back in April, while Qatar gets the nod for a Saturday race upon its return to the F1 calendar. Qatar took 2022 off so it could focus on the FIFA World Cup, but returns in 2023 to start a 10-year deal.
F1 is known to be considering tweaks to the format of the sprint races in the future, including the possible switch to making them standalone events that do not impact the starting grid for Sunday’s race.
But the format will remain unchanged in 2023, awarding points to the top eight and the result setting the final starting grid for the grand prix.
“We have seen a hugely positive reaction to the F1 Sprint events during the first two years of its running, and we can’t wait to bring even more action to fans with six events next year, including our first US F1 Sprint in Austin,” said F1 CEO and president Stefano Domenicali.
“The introduction of the F1 Sprint has created a race weekend that includes three days of competitive racing action and brings more entertainment to fans of the sport as well as additional value for key stakeholders including teams, broadcasters, partners, and host venues.”
Important tweaks were made for this year, including the designation of pole position to whoever topped Friday’s qualifying session after fan backlash, and an increase in the points on offer to encourage drivers to push more.
It has not stopped some criticism of the sprints from drivers, including world champion Max Verstappen, who felt most were unwilling to take risks for fear of dropping down the order and ruining their starting position for the Sunday race.
But Interlagos proved to be the most exciting sprint race to date with incidents and overtaking throughout the field, setting up a thrilling race on Sunday where George Russell scored his maiden F1 win.