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McLaren boss says no sprint events in 2022 ‘a possibility’

Formula 1 is in danger of not having any sprint events this year as a result of a stand-off over money, says McLaren boss Zak Brown.

The F1 sprint format was first introduced only last season at the Silverstone circuit, and only featured in three races so far (at the British, Italian and Brazilian Grands Prix).

It was since anticipated to be regular feature in F1 racing events, but, McLaren boss Zak Brown now hints that it may not return altogether.

F1 had an agreement in principle from the teams to increase the number of sprints from three to six in 2022.

But eight out of 10 teams need to agree on details to secure the sprints, and some are holding out for more money.

Brown said F1 "might not" find a way out of the impasse, adding: "That would be unfortunate."

F1 has shown the teams data that proves the sprint events increased audience figures and sponsorship income.

Last year, there was also a deal to provide teams with a small payment to offset potential damage from more racing, which has led to larger teams pushing for increases in the budget cap, which is set at US$140m (£103m) this year.

McLaren Boss, Zak Brown
"A couple of teams, and one team in particular, wanted a $5m budget cap increase, which was just ridiculous,"

Brown said.

"And no rational facts behind it. When you challenged them, they go to what if and could and you've got to anticipate. You sit there and go 'This is just nonsense.'"

F1 rules dictate that for a change in the rules to be instigated in the calendar year of the championship, eight teams need to agree to it. So teams can hold F1 to ransom if they can get others to agree.

To agree to the sprint events for the 2023 season requires only five teams to agree, and Brown said F1 should vote that through first and then try to agree on this season.

"Maybe there can be a compromise raised and we raise it a little bit, and we start in 2022 or we skip 2022, and a couple of these teams should have to explain to the fans why there is no sprint races,"

he said.

Brown said the row over sprint races was one example of a problem with F1 governance where the voting protocols are exploited by the big teams pressuring smaller outfits with whom they have links to vote in their favour. (BBC Sport)

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