HomeSportsF1 Sprint Qualifying approved for three Grands Prix in 2021 season in...

F1 Sprint Qualifying approved for three Grands Prix in 2021 season in shake-up to weekend format

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Additional short race to be held on a Saturday at three events in 2021, the first of which is believed to be Silverstone in July; Points to be awarded to top three finishers in Sprint Qualifying with full result to set the grid for the main Sunday Grand Prix

Last Updated: 26/04/21 4:54pm

Formula 1 will trial shorter Saturday races at three events this year in a new format called Sprint Qualifying after the proposals were voted through by the F1 Commission.

The new 100km races, the results of which will form the grid for the main Sunday Grand Prix, will be held at two European venues, believed to be Silverstone and Monza, and one non-European venue.

Points will be awarded to the top three finishers (three points for the winner, two for second place and one for third) at the end of Sprint Qualifying. At these events the usual qualifying format will move to Friday, setting the grid for the Saturday race.

“The format is designed to increase the on-track action and engage fans in a new and innovative way,” said F1 in a statement.

“It also strikes the right balance of rewarding drivers and teams on merit while also giving others the chance to battle their way through the field on Saturday to increase their race chances on Sunday.

“On the Friday there will be a new qualifying session after the First Free Practice that will determine the grid for the Sprint Qualifying on Saturday.

“The results of Saturday’s Sprint Qualifying will determine the grid for Sunday’s race.

“It has been decided that the top three finishers in Saturday’s Sprint Qualifying will receive points, with first place receiving three points, second place two points and third place one point.”

How the new format will work at the three GPs

Friday:

  • 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

Saturday:

  • 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

Sunday:

  • Full distance Grand Prix with two remaining sets of tyres

Stefano Domenicali, F1’s president and CEO 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.”

More to follow…

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