F1 set to confirm Sprint Race trial after teams agree financial terms

Formula 1 is set to give the go-ahead to a sprint race trial this season after teams reportedly agreed financial terms with the sport's chiefs.

Earlier this year, F1 teams agreed in principle to a three-race trial involving a short qualifying race to be held on Saturday afternoon that would define the grid for Sunday's event.

While everyone was open to experimenting with the idea in order to assess its merits, several teams took a step back, highlighting logistical and cost concerns associated with running an extra race and the risks involved with regard to potential damage such an initiative would entail.

F1 allegedly offered teams a special payment to compensate for the extra expenses incurred for the three trial events, but the amount was initially judged by the teams to be insufficient.

In a year in which teams are chasing savings following the introduction of F1's $145 million budget cap, Red Bull team boss Christian Horner suggested raising the latter's threshold. But the proposal was frowned upon by F1's smaller teams which feared that the additional margin would be used to achieve performance gains.

While details of the sprint race deal remain scarce, according to a report from Motorsport.com, teams have allegedly agreed to a $500,000 payment from F1 for the three qualifying races and to an increase of the sport's budget cap by the same amount.

A team could also benefit under certain circumstances from an additional cash handout to cover its repair bill in the event of a major accident in the Saturday afternoon sprint race.

A few minor details remain to be ironed out between the teams and F1, but the plan is expected to kick off at the British Grand Prix at Silverstone, with Monza and Interlagos expected to host the following two trials.

The Saturday afternoon mad dash which is destined to boost spectating numbers and TV ratings will be run over 100km, while the qualifying race's grid is set to be determined by a qualifying session held on Friday afternoon in place of FP2.

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Michael Delaney

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