After making its debut last year, the F1 Sprint format is being used three times this season. It has already featured at Imola, this weekend we’re about to tackle it in Spielberg and later on, in November, the experience will be repeated at Interlagos in Brazil. The format has been tweaked slightly this year, with Friday featuring just one free practice session, followed by the serious business of qualifying. On Saturday, there is one further free practice session, prior to the Sprint, a mini-race of around 100 kilometres, run over 24 laps or 60 minutes. There is no obligation to make a pit stop, so it’s a case of pushing flat out to the chequered flag.
The first eight finishers score points – 8 for the win, down to 1 for eighth place, while the overall finishing order of the F1 Sprint decides the grid for Sunday’s Austrian Grand Prix. However, as far as the record books are concerned, the driver who is credited with pole position is the one who is quickest in Friday’s qualifying.