we explain what sprint qualifications consist of, a new formula introduced by the FIA
In a statement published on its website, the FIA presented a new format for certain Formula 1 weekends. This agreement must now be ratified by the World Motorsport Council, whose next meeting is scheduled for July 9, which should be a formality.
A sprint qualification on Saturday
This sprint qualifying session, which will take place on Saturday, on the eve of the Grand Prix, looks like a shorter classic race. It will have the same format as a Grand Prix, except that it will last only 100 kilometers while a classic race is around 300 kilometers. The starting grid will be defined by a classic qualifying session organized on Friday, while the order of arrival of this « sprint » will give the starting grid for the Sunday Grand Prix. Points will also be issued this Saturday, for the first three. (3 pts for the 1st, 2 pts for the 2nd and 1 pt for the 3rd).
Three weekends concerned
This format, which is inspired by Formula 2 where two races take place every weekend, will see the light of day this season but only three meetings will be affected. The first will take place in Great Britain at Silverstone on July 17th. The Italian GP at Monza (September 10-12) and the Brazilian GP at Interlagos (November 5-7) could host the other two sprint races, if the health situation in Brazil allows it.
Sprint Qualifying is coming to the @ F1 British Grand Prix # F1
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– Silverstone (@SilverstoneUK) April 28, 2021
Modified tire management
With this new format, the tire rules are also changed. Qualifying on Friday will see the different strategies on this aspect disappear, since all the competitors will be issued four sets of tires, only in intermediates. In the event of rain during the qualification, the pilots will juggle with quotas of intermediates and maxi-rains, same for the « sprint » of Saturday. They will then have to cross the Grand Prix with a maximum of two sets of tires.
Mixed opinions in the paddock
« It’s really three-day suspense », estimated before the season the executive director of Alpine Marcin Budkowski. “You are going to do qualifying on Friday, race on Saturday and race again on Sunday. For the fans, these are three days full of emotions. « Quadruple world champion Sebastian Vettel is much less won over by this new format. « Why would you have a pre-final before a final? What’s the point of that? I don’t understand », wondered the Aston Martin pilot a few weeks ago.
« The thing to remember about the sprint qualifying is that his intention is to extend all weekend. » F1 boss Ross Brawn said. « We want to engage the fans throughout the weekend. Sunday’s Grand Prix is fantastic, and we don’t want to cannibalize that, but we want to increase engagement on Friday and Saturday. »
• 60 minutes of free practice (SS1) in the morning
• Normal qualifying format in the afternoon (Q1, Q2, Q3)
• 60 minutes of free practice (SS2) in the morning
• 100km sprint qualification in the afternoon
• Grand Prize