The FIA F1 Commission held its first meeting of 2022 yesterday on the 14th of February. The London meeting was the first to be chaired by incoming FIA President Mohammed Ben Sulayem. The meeting covered a number of topics related to the upcoming Formula 1 season including three sprint races scheduled for this year, changes to point structures and of course the contentious end to the 2021 season.

Three Sprint Races Approved

The sprint races created a new exciting twist to the 2021 season, and bar the slightly confusing name of Sprint Qualifying. The Commission unanimously approved there more races for 2022 which are:

  • Emilia Romagna Grand Prix
  • Austrian Grand Prix
  • Brazilian Grand Prix

The format for these sprints, however, will be changed after some consultation with teams, media and feedback from fans. So the changes should see things being a little less confusing and also give the teams a little more incentive as the cost cap adjustment from 2021 remains the same. These changes include:

  • Officially renaming the session Sprint from the previous Sprint Qualifying
  • Awarding Pole Position for the Grand Prix to the fastest driver during the Friday Qualifying session
  • A new points structure that awards Championship points to the top 8 finishers, rather than just the top 3 as follows: 1st – 8pts 2nd – 7pts and so on, with 8th place recieving 1pt.

FIA Treatment of Short Races

Fans of F1 were unanimously disappointed with the Spa “race” in 2021; least of all the poor souls who were at the track in the miserable weather. However, the F1 council has decided to amend the handling of these weather-affected races. This was tackled in two phases; firstly by stipulating that the event would be a points-scoring race only if the race leader completes a minimum of two laps without a safety car or virtual safety car intervention. Under this new proposed change to the sporting regulation, 2021’s race would not have had any impact on the Driver’s Championship points.

The second phase is a change to the points scoring structure depending on how many laps the race leader completes before the race is ended. And the following would be the new scoring system:

  • If the leader has completed more than two laps but less than 25% of the scheduled race distance, the top five finishers will be awarded points as follows:
    • 1st – 6 points
    • 2nd – 4 points
    • 3rd – 3 points
    • 4th – 2 points
    • 5th – 1 point
  • If the leader has completed 25% but less than 50% of the scheduled race distance, points will be awarded as follows:
    • 1st – 13 points
    • 2nd – 10 points
    • 3rd – 8 points
    • 4th – 6 points
    • 5th – 5 point
    • 6th – 4 points
    • 7th – 3 points
    • 8th – 2 points
    • 9th – 1 point
  • If the leader has completed 50% but less than 75% of the scheduled race distance, points will be awarded as follows:
    • 1st – 19 points
    • 2nd – 14 points
    • 3rd – 12 points
    • 4th – 9 points
    • 5th – 8 point
    • 6th – 6 points
    • 7th – 5 points
    • 8th – 3 points
    • 9th – 2 points
    • 10th – 1 point

Abu Dhabi Analysis

The matter that’s most on people’s minds, however, is the analysis of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, particularly with some new radio messages coming to light between Redbull and Michael Masi. Unfortunately, no details have yet emerged during the F1 Commission meeting other than the FIA stating:

“Feedback from the Commission on matters raised will be incorporated into the President’s analysis and he will publicly present news of structural changes and action plan in the coming days.”

Essentially the FIA is sticking to its guns about the outcome of the analysis only becoming public just before the first event in Bahrain. Fans of the sport will be eager to find out what else has been discovered and more importantly; what the FIA is going to do to prevent a similar situation from ever happening again.