McLaren CEO Zak Brown has said he cannot rule out the possibility of there being no sprint racing action this year, owing to disputes within Formula 1 over the budget cap.
Every F1 team will be working on a $140 million budget over the course of 2022, which is down by $5 million from last season.
This budget cap excludes certain expenses, such as driver salaries.
There will also be an engine freeze preventing teams from developing their power units, which is particularly significant given that Red Bull will be making their own engines for the first time this year.
F1 technical director Ross Brawn has previously indicated that “some teams” have asked for scope to spend more money.
This is owed to the brand-new sprint qualifying format that was introduced last year, but Brown has already rubbished this, saying that the sprint events caused “very little damage” to the cars in 2021.
Therefore, McLaren are “adamantly opposed” to a raised budget in 2022, according to Brown.
Earlier, Ferrari sporting director Laurent Mekies told his drivers, Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz, to “sound out the limits” this year to avoid incurring costs on damage repairs as the teams gear up for a new set of regulations that will diminish the margin for error.
As such, some squads have called for more funds to be made available, which Brown labels “ridiculous.”
“A couple of teams, and one team in particular, wanted a $5m budget cap increase, which was just ridiculous,” Brown said, as quoted by the BBC.
“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.'”
Three sprint races took place last season in Silverstone, Monza and Sao Paulo, and this is set to increase to six in 2022.
It has now been suggested that sprint races may be scrapped entirely in 2022 due to several teams’ concerns over the financial toll the additional racing could have on them.
Brown admits that F1 “might not” be able to find a solution that satisfies all, and therefore it is possible the sprint events will be scrapped altogether 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.
“That would be unfortunate,” he added.
McLaren ended the 2021 Constructors’ Championship fourth, and reports have recently emerged that they will be part of a deal with Audi and Porsche for the pair to supply them with powertrains from 2026.