Six sprint race in 2022: Which tracks are suitable for this format?

16-11-2021 13:21 | Updated: 16-11-2021 13:47
by GPblog.com
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Six sprint race in 2022: Which tracks are suitable for this format?

After the Brazilian Grand Prix, the test with sprint race formats in 2021 is over. It has already become clear that six sprint races will be held in 2022, but where is still the big question. At GPblog we asked various editors from the Dutch and English editions of GPblog to suggest six circuits for a sprint weekend in 2022.

Jordi Smit - Editor GPblog NL

1. Great Britain

Although many Formula 1 fans were sceptical about the new format prior to the first sprint race in Great Britain, the race at Silverstone showed the positive effect that sprint races in Formula 1 can have. Right from the start, Max Verstappen overtook his rival Lewis Hamilton and took the lead in the race. The sprint race not only created extra tension at the front but there were also several overtakes in the midfield. The Silverstone circuit, therefore, seems to be an excellent place to continue organising sprint races.

2. Italy

The choice for Monza also turned out to be a great decision. The sprint race in Italy showed how the format can create surprises in Formula 1. Where the Grands Prix in recent years were mostly a repetitive story with the fastest cars starting at the front due to a strong qualifying, Hamilton ran into the factor bad luck in Monza. It caused a stir in the driver's field and the actual race was even more exciting than expected. The FIA would therefore make a logical decision by choosing Monza again.

3. Spain

The Barcelona circuit offers the drivers every year a great challenge to perform. Not only are the drivers presented with a challenging circuit in Spain where the high speeds and twists and turns require a lot of steering skills, but the past has also shown that it is possible for drivers to overtake each other. Should the FIA, therefore, decide to use the Spanish circuit for a new sprint race then the spectators will undoubtedly be treated to an exciting piece of racing where drivers must perform at their very best.

4. Austria

The Austrian track has often been the stage for Red Bull Racing, but Mercedes have shown in the past that the German team is equally good on the track. The Austrian GP gives the drivers a lot of freedom to overtake each other, which makes the races always exciting to watch. On top of that, the whole environment around the circuit breathes top sport. Looking at the race calendar, it seems that the FIA did not make the wrong choice to provide Austria with a sprint race, where success is guaranteed.

5. Netherlands

The Dutch GP could count on almost exclusively compliments this season. Where beforehand there were expectations that it would be impossible to overtake each other in the Netherlands, this turned out not to be the case. The spectators saw an exciting race where drivers had to take risks from time to time to score points for their team. The FIA would make the race weekend complete if they would organise a sprint race in the Netherlands. Then the drivers could write history again at Zandvoort.

6. Brazil

With the end of the season in sight, not many drivers and teams will want to take the risk of sustaining damage and therefore not being able to perform in the race. On the other hand, an extra point in the world championship can also be decisive. The FIA would therefore be well advised to hold a sprint race in the final phase of the season next year. Since one swallow does not make a summer, it makes sense that it would offer the opportunity to Brazil as well next season.

Aryaan Jena - Editor GPblog UK

1. Bahrain

The Bahrain Grand Prix would be my first choice for a sprint race. Sector one makes for good racing and overtaking (especially on the first lap), which can spice up any sprint race. The high tyre wear would be a factor to consider towards the end of the race.

2. Monaco

It would be interesting to see a sprint race for the Monaco Grand Prix. Although the sprint race itself would probably not be too exciting, it might be worth experimenting with different formats (since the main race is usually boring anyway). Moreover, it offers an extra challenge to the drivers, as they have to keep their composure for 26 extra laps: every mistake can be costly.

3. Belgium

A sprint race at Spa might be worth considering. The pole position is usually not the ideal starting place, given the effect of the slipstream Kemmel Straight. For example, in 2018 Vettel overtook Hamilton on the first lap. With a sprint race and a Grand Prix, the second-place finisher could make two attempts to overtake the pole-sitter, or conversely, it would give the pole-sitter a chance to bounce back after the sprint race.

4. Austria

The Red Bull Ring, like Sakhir, offers plenty of overtaking opportunities. So this circuit would be an ideal opportunity to compare the excitement of a sprint race with that of a full distance Grand Prix.

5. Mexico

Next, I would like to see a sprint race in Mexico City. With such a long run-up to the first corner, there is a high chance of a crash on the first lap. Because the tyres on the track wear so quickly, the teams need to think carefully about which tyres to use.

6. Brazil

My last choice for a sprint race would be Interlagos. The Brazilian Grand Prix is known for its close racing and exciting title decisions, and a sprint race would add an extra twist to a potential championship battle in the final laps.

Nicole Mulder - Editor GPblog NL

1,2 and 3. Great Britain, Italy and Brazil

Silverstone and Monza have already proven to be suitable venues for sprint qualifying and there is a good chance that these circuits will also be the scene of a sprint weekend in 2022. It remains to be seen if Interlagos will make it to 2022, but there is a good chance that it will do so.

4. Australia

Formula 1 returns to Australia in 2022, this time as the third Grand Prix on the calendar. It is the intention that the sprint weekends are evenly spread throughout the season, which creates the possibility for Albert Park to host the first sprint race of the season. The circuit has been modernised quite a bit in the meantime and would now have more overtaking opportunities, as well as a possible fourth DRS zone.

5. Barcelona

The Barcelona circuit is in need of a spectacle. In recent years, some races have been predictable or even boring, mainly because it is very difficult to overtake. A sprint race could make the race weekend in Barcelona a lot more interesting. In addition, Formula 1 hopes that the new cars will give more beautiful races, which might make it easier to overtake here as well.

6. France

The Paul Ricard circuit in France seems to be a suitable candidate for organising a sprint weekend. It's a fast circuit with long straights, where with the new cars from 2022 there might be more opportunities to overtake. The track has a somewhat bad reputation for some boring races, and a sprint race might be able to liven things up a bit.

Matt Gretton - Editor-in-Chief GPblog UK

1. Canada

Canada would be a very good place for a sprint race. The long straights offer plenty of opportunities for overtaking and it's also possible elsewhere on the track, just think of the battle between Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton. Since 2009 the circuit has averaged around 50 overtakes per Grand Prix. It is also popular with the fans and that is ultimately what the sprint race is all about.

2. Great Britain

Speaking of fans, the British Grand Prix is one of the most popular events on the schedule. 2021 proved that a sprint race can change the starting grid at Silverstone and add a little extra spice! It would be a mistake for Formula 1 not to return to Silverstone with a sprint race, given the story of the 2021 edition.

3. Hungary

The Hungaroring is a circuit with a lot of jeopardy, with the grass down to the asphalt. It also feels like this event in Budapest needs some extra excitement, otherwise, it might disappear from the calendar altogether. It's also the last race before the summer break, so that could change the momentum for the break.

4. Japan

The Japanese Grand Prix is always a spectacle. The circuit is one of the drivers' favourites and I doubt they will complain about being able to do extra laps here. It's popular with fans, averages 43 overtakes per race and should offer enough danger to make a sprint a success.

5. Mexico

Not just because of recent events, but when you think of the Mexico Grand Prix, you immediately think of the run-up to the first corner. If that happened twice in a weekend, Formula 1 could make the most of the circuit. Mercedes failed to defend that corner in 2021, while Ferrari managed it in 2019. Sprint races are all about the first lap and there's no better place than Mexico.

6. Abu Dhabi

The Abu Dhabi Grand Prix is not the best place to overtake. In fact, statistically, it scores as one of the lowest. But imagine a weekend where the title is decided with a sprint race. It adds an extra element of jeopardy. There are two first corners that drivers and teams have to go through. I think Formula 1 can't let an opportunity like this slip away.

Bonne Veenstra - Editor GPblog NL

1. Bahrain

Bahrain is the first weekend of the new season and to open 2022 spectacularly, a sprint race at the Bahrain International Circuit would be perfect. This way we can see the brand new cars of Formula 1 racing against each other a day earlier than usual. In addition, the circuit located in the desert offers plenty of overtaking opportunities with four long straights followed by slower corners.

2. Azerbaijan

Azerbaijan showed in 2021 that it is a great circuit for a sprint race after the Grand Prix was restarted with two laps to go. The long straight leading into Turn 1 is a perfect place to attempt an overtake, which means cars won't be stuck chasing each other for laps.

3. Great Britain

Silverstone has almost everything you would expect from a Formula 1 circuit. In 2021, the British circuit was the first circuit to host a sprint race and the first few laps were particularly interesting. With cars getting better at following each other in 2022, it would also be interesting to see if the new cars make much difference in terms of the number of overtakes in a short sprint race compared to 2021.

4. Austria

The Red Bull Ring is one of the shorter tracks on the Formula 1 calendar, but it's always action-packed. There is plenty of overtaking in the slow corners, and with many gravel bays left off the track, a mistake is especially painful. For the fans, the short track is also beneficial, as the cars pass each other more than twenty times.

5. Belgium

Spa-Francorchamps is one of the jewels in the Formula 1 calendar. The seven-kilometre long track would be perfect for a sprint race because drivers only drive the circuit a few times. An overtaking attempt has to be made as quickly as possible to move up the grid. Every lap counts at Spa.

6. Brazil

Interlagos is a track that has everything. Long straights, fast corners and a technical mid sector. The Sao Paulo track is one of the drivers' and fans' favourites. There are plenty of places to overtake an opponent, so a sprint race could be very spectacular.

Tim Kraaij - Editor-in-Chief GPblog NL

1. Spain

When do you set up the first sprint race? Bahrain seems to be the most ideal circuit to organise a sprint race, but in the first race weekend of a season with completely new cars, starting directly with qualifying on Friday doesn't seem realistic. Also, the second race is too early in my opinion and overtaking at Albert Park, Imola or the street circuit of Miami seems very difficult. I see the first chance for a sprint race in Spain. Not ideal in terms of overtaking, but with the wear and tear on this track it is interesting in terms of tyre choices.

2. Great Britain

It took F1 a long time to find three candidates for a sprint race and in 2021 they found Silverstone, Monza and Interlagos. I assume that, due to the great success of the first edition, those three will again be on the calendar as sprint weekends in 2022. Silverstone already proved a great success in 2021, with Max Verstappen overtaking Lewis Hamilton.

3. Belgium

Between the Grands Prix in England and Italy Belgium is the best candidate for another sprint race. Just after the summer break, teams have little time to test their updates, but with the long straights and the long track, this legendary circuit is ideal for a sprint race.

4. Italy

After its success in 2021, Monza is expected to host another sprint race. Despite the DRS train, overtaking is possible at Monza, as was proven in this year's edition.

5. Japan

Right between Italy and Brazil is an ideal GP for a sprint race. At Suzuka, overtaking is possible and the corners are very hard on the tyres. The choice of tyres becomes very interesting here, which makes this a perfect weekend for a sprint race.

6. Brazil

Hamilton overtook 25 cars during the race weekend in Brazil, despite a disqualification on Friday. The Briton single-handedly showed why a sprint race in Brazil can be a success, as evidenced by the starts of both races, with the number two coming out of turn four first each time.

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