Formula 1 organizers at a meeting on Tuesday agreed to a new format for the popular 62-mile Sprint race, which was first introduced in 2021 as an alternative to the traditional qualifying session during Grands Prix weekends.
Under the original format, a traditional knockout-style qualifying session was held on Friday to determine the starting position of the Sprint race on Saturday. The results of the Sprint race would then determine the starting grid for the main race on Sunday.
The Sprint race also awarded eight points for the winner toward the championship title, and this would drop by a point for the next seven positions. Points were also awarded to teams.
Under the new format, there will be a traditional qualifying session on Friday to determine the starting grid for the main race on Sunday. A second, shorter qualifying session, dubbed the Sprint Shootout, will be held on Saturday to determine the starting grid for the Sprint race. The Sprint race will be held later on Saturday.
It means the Sprint race will now be a standalone event with no impact on the main race, though it will still have the same championship points attached as in the previous format. A problem or incident in the Sprint race will no longer compromise the main race, which organizers said will encourage drivers to push harder during the Sprint race. The organizers also said there will be more “jeopardy,” as teams will have fewer practice sessions.
F1 will conduct six rounds with the new Sprint format in 2023, starting with this weekend’s Azerbaijan Grand Prix.
The weekend schedule for the Sprint format will be as follows:
- Friday – A single practice session followed by traditional qualifying for the main race.
- Saturday – A shorter qualifying session for the Sprint race (Sprint Shootout) followed by the Sprint race.
- Sunday – Main race only.
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