Grand Prix racing chiefs hope to continue with plans to stage six sprint races this year, following successful experiments at Silverstone, Monza and Interlagos in 2021.
However, the green light has yet to be given as the teams have yet to agree with F1’s commercial rights holder on a funding plan for the races.
It is understood that teams received an additional $100,000 per event for each sprint in 2021. They also received a cost cap allocation of $450,000 for all three events, plus a possible additional $100,000 per car for damage caused by an accident in the event of a serious incident. .
For this year, it is understood that F1 does not want to offer any additional accident compensation. Instead, his initial offer was a straight payout of $500,000 per team for the first five events, plus an additional $150,000 for each event above. That effectively meant an additional $2.65 million for each team for all six races in 2022.
It is understood that this offer has not been well received by the bigger teams who are at the limit of the cost cap and fear that it will not be enough. They fear that adding additional sprint costs will force them to compromise on what they can spend on pure performance improvements in the event of a crash.
According to Brown, an unidentified team wants the cost cap limit increased by $5 million instead of what is being proposed.
However, smaller teams believe that calls for the cost cap to be increased by such a margin are simply a cover for larger teams to spend more on making their cars faster rather than needed for racing. sprint.
The continued inability to find common ground is a problem for F1 as, just weeks away from F1’s first race of the season, the dispute over money risks completely derailing sprint race plans .
Gasly crashed out of the Monza sprint after contact with Hamilton. Some teams fear more sprints will be covered by an increased cost cap, although McLaren boss Brown disagrees with that.
Photo by: Steve Etherington / Motorsport Images
F1’s current governance structure means that for the rules to change in the current year it needs a “super majority” of 28 votes among the 30 F1 Commission representatives.
While F1 and FIA’s 10 votes each are guaranteed, getting eight teams to back the idea could be a problem as it’s understood that Red Bull, Mercedes and Ferrari are most concerned about the situation – and could force the hand of client teams to support their position.
Brown, whose team is happy with the current financial package on offer, fears there is a risk that a few teams will pull their ranks and completely sabotage the sprint idea.
Asked how F1 can break the deadlock over money, Brown replied: “We might not, which would be unfortunate.”
Brown was far from happy with pressure from big spending companies to try and push the cost cap limit.
“We all have the same challenge,” he said.
“If you happen to have more incidents, it’s the same problem that we all have. And for me, that’s part of the sport. It’s about meeting challenges: I don’t just want to solve it by pulling out my checkbook.
He added, “One team in particular wanted a budget cap increase of $5 million, which was just ridiculous and not based on any rational fact.
“Then when you challenge those facts, they tell you ‘but you have to anticipate things just in case’. So you sit there and say, ‘That’s just nonsense.’
Brown says politics could mean sprints won’t happen at all in 2022
Photo by: Charles Coates / Motorsport Images
With the battle lines drawn, Brown thinks the best approach may well be to scrap plans for sprints in 2022 and instead focus on securing approval for 2023 – where only six teams would need to support the teams. plans because only an overall majority is needed for long-term rule. changes.
“I wish we didn’t end up in a situation where we vote for 2022, where we have to go back to eight votes, because we’ve passed a deadline,” he said.
“I think we should go ahead and lock in 2023 now, without any increase in the budget cap, if you want to be tough on it.
“So maybe there can be a compromise and we can increase it a bit so that we can go ahead and start with 2022, or we skip 2022. And then I think a few of those teams should explain to fans why there are no sprint races.