Introduced last year as Sprint Qualifying, this time they are simply called F1 Sprint. After positive feedback in 2021, the Formula 1 promoter has decided to slightly tweak the innovative format which will be used three times this season, in the Emilia Romagna, Austrian and Sao Paulo Grands Prix.
Can’t remember what it’s all about? Don’t worry, here’s a quick refresher course on the F1 Sprint race weekend. Track action starts on Friday with a single Free Practice session followed by Qualifying. Then on Saturday, there’s a second Free Practice session prior to the Sprint, a mini-race that lasts around half an hour, over a distance of 100 kilometres. In other words, not many laps and no obligatory pit stops, so that it’s a sprint from start to finish. The finishing order of the Sprint decides the grid for the Grand Prix itself on Sunday, which remains the main event of the weekend.
What has changed for this year? A few minor adjustments have been made, after listening to the opinion of the fans, who were polled last year, as well as the teams and drivers. While in 2021, the points were only given out to the top three finishers of the Sprint, this year, the first eight pick up points, from 8 for the winner, 7 for second, 6 for third and so on down to 1 for eighth place.
Furthermore, so that the honour of pole position is still all about which driver has produced the absolute fastest lap, it will not be accorded to the winner of the Sprint, as was the case last year but to whoever was fastest in Friday’s qualifying session.
The Sprint having gone down well last year, it seems that the winning formula for an exciting weekend is F1 Sprint + new generation of cars = a spectacular show!