F1 braced for sprint race, engine freeze decisions

An engine freeze, the final 2021 calendar and a sprint race experiment will dominate talks between teams and the sport's chiefs in a meeting of the Formula 1 Commission today.

F1 braced for sprint race, engine freeze decisions

The meeting, which will be attended by F1 management, teams, and the FIA, is set to vote on a series of changes that could have huge ramifications for the sport over the next few years.

As Motorsport.com revealed yesterday, F1 is expected to tell teams that it has given approval for the Portuguese Grand Prix to go ahead on May 2.

The move, while finalising the opening stages of the season, will however require some extra commitment from teams because of quarantine restrictions in the United Kingdom.

Portugal is currently on the UK's 'red list' of countries where anyone returning needs to complete a 10-day hotel quarantine on arrival.

With elite sports having not been granted an exemption, it means F1 personnel are included on such a requirement, so any staff attending the Portuguese Grand Prix will be unable to return home prior to the following event in Spain.

Read Also:

One of the most interesting decisions that will be taken is whether or not to approve a proposal from F1 to trial Sprint Races at three grands prix this year.

F1 wants to run a Saturday 100-km sprint qualifying race at the Canadian, Italian and Brazilian Grands Prix this year to see if the change of format helps improve the weekend experience.

While a previous push to trial reverse grid races failed to get unanimous support, because Mercedes was wholly against the idea, there may be more backing for a sprint race format.

Furthermore, a new governance structure that has been introduced for 2021 as part of the new Concorde Agreement means that unanimous support is no longer needed. Now a 'super majority' of 28 votes out of the 30 available (F1, the FIA and teams have 10 each) will be enough to get it passed.

The most complicated discussions of the meeting, though, could revolve around the possibility of an engine freeze from 2022.

The proposal has been pushed hard by Red Bull, which wants a freeze in place so it can take over the Honda engine project from next year without the need for an expensive development budget.

But the move is not just about Red Bull, because F1 is clear that if a freeze is in place from 2022 onwards, then that will mean manufacturers can focus their efforts and budgets solely on a future powerplant that should come into play for 2025.

The situation is quite complicated though, because a push to use ever-greater sustainable fuels means that there could be the need for some engine developments in the short term.

Furthermore, there are some concerns that if one engine manufacturer finds itself on the back foot at the start of 2022, the lack of any development could leave them facing several years of struggle.

One idea being looked at, but not yet agreed, is for some form of equalisation structure to come into play – which will allow for all the power units to deliver roughly the same amount of performance.

This could be achieved through allowing an increased fuel flow for any engine that is down on power at the start of 2022.

But such a 'Balance of Performance' strategy for F1 risks opening a can of worms and has not so far had universal approval from all teams.

For the latest on the outcome of the F1 Commission decisions, follow Motorsport.com.

shares
comments

Related video

F1 drops rainbow branding in updated We Race As One initiative

Previous article

F1 drops rainbow branding in updated We Race As One initiative

Next article

Why F1 shouldn't be afraid of trying sprint races

Why F1 shouldn't be afraid of trying sprint races
Load comments

About this article

Series Formula 1
Author Jonathan Noble
Why Mercedes isn't confident it's really ahead of Red Bull at Imola Prime

Why Mercedes isn't confident it's really ahead of Red Bull at Imola

While Mercedes struck back against Red Bull by topping the times at Imola on Friday ahead of the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, the overall picture remains incredibly close. Despite having a possible edge this weekend, the reigning Formula 1 world champion squad is not taking anything for granted...

Formula 1
Apr 16, 2021
What Mercedes must do to keep its F1 title challenge on track Prime

What Mercedes must do to keep its F1 title challenge on track

Mercedes may find itself leading the drivers' and constructors' standings after Lewis Hamilton's victory in the Bahrain Grand Prix, but it is well aware that it came against the odds, with Red Bull clearly ahead. Here's what the Brackley team must do to avoid its crown slipping .

Formula 1
Apr 16, 2021
The double whammy that is defining Vettel’s F1 fate Prime

The double whammy that is defining Vettel’s F1 fate

It's been a tough start to Sebastian Vettel's Aston Martin F1 career, with a lack of pre-season testing mileage followed by an incident-packed Bahrain GP. But two key underlying factors mean a turnaround is no guarantee.

Formula 1
Apr 14, 2021
The themes to watch in F1's Imola return Prime

The themes to watch in F1's Imola return

Three weeks is a long time in Formula 1, but in the reshaped start to the 2021 season the teams head to Imola to pick things up after the frenetic Bahrain opener. Here's what to look out for and the developments to follow at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix

Formula 1
Apr 13, 2021
The 'new' F1 drivers who need to improve at Imola Prime

The 'new' F1 drivers who need to improve at Imola

After a pandemic-hit winter of seat-swapping, F1 kicked off its season with several new faces in town, other drivers adapting to new environments, and one making a much-anticipated comeback. Ben Anderson looks at who made the most of their opportunity and who needs to try harder…

Formula 1
Apr 12, 2021
The delay that quashed Aston Martin’s last F1 venture Prime

The delay that quashed Aston Martin’s last F1 venture

Aston Martin’s only previous foray into Formula 1 in the late 1950s was a short-lived and unsuccessful affair. But it could have been so different, says Nigel Roebuck.

Formula 1
Apr 10, 2021
Verstappen exclusive: Why lack of titles won't hurt Red Bull's ace Prime

Verstappen exclusive: Why lack of titles won't hurt Red Bull's ace

Max Verstappen’s star quality in Formula 1 is clear. Now equipped with a Red Bull car that is, right now, the world title favourite and the experience to support his talent, could 2021 be the Dutchman’s year to topple the dominant force of Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes?

Formula 1
Apr 9, 2021
Is Formula 1 as good as it has ever been now? Prime

Is Formula 1 as good as it has ever been now?

For many, many years Formula 1 has strived to do and to be better on all fronts. With close competition, a growing fanbase, a stable political landscape and rules in place to encourage sustainability, 2021 is on course to provide an unexpected peak

Formula 1
Apr 8, 2021