Formula 1 has confirmed the introduction of Sprint Qualifying for three race weekends this season.
In a bid to shake up the sport and bring an added layer of competitiveness and entertainment to the race weekend, the powers-that-be have announced the ambitious plans.
It’s an idea that has been mooted for some time alongside the likes of reverse grids and, whilst the latter was quickly condemned by drivers, the sprint qualifying proposal has been given a green light for three weekends later this year.
So, what will it involve? We take a look…
60-minute First Practice in the morning with two sets of tyres for teams to choose freely
Normal Qualifying format in the afternoon with five soft tyre sets available only
60-minute Second Free Practice in the morning with one set of tyres for teams to choose freely
100km Sprint Qualifying in the afternoon with two sets of tyres for teams to choose freely
Full distance Grand Prix with two remaining sets of tyres
Friday will see a practice session followed by what would normally be Saturday’s qualifying session in the afternoon to set the grid for Saturday’s 100km race.
Saturday then sees an extra practice session before the Sprint Qualifying takes place in the afternoon, with the view to it setting the grid for the full Grand Prix on Sunday.
The Sprint Qualifying will also carry championship points – though far less than you’d get in a full race – with three for the winner, two for second place and one for third place.
It’s an exciting new idea that should at least be tried and, though unconfirmed, it’s expected that fast tracks like Silverstone and Monza will be used as venues to try the new format out.
Quoted by the official Formula 1 website, F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali said:
“We are excited by this new opportunity that will bring our fans an even more engaging race weekend in 2021.
“Seeing the drivers battling it out over three days will be an amazing experience and I am sure the drivers will relish the fight.
“I am delighted that all the teams supported this plan, and it is a testament to our united efforts to continue to engage our fans in new ways while ensuring we remain committed to the heritage and meritocracy of our sport.”