HomeOther SportsFormula 1 introduces new 'sprint' race format for Azerbaijan Grand Prix

Formula 1 introduces new ‘sprint’ race format for Azerbaijan Grand Prix

Formula 1 introduces new ‘sprint’ race format for Azerbaijan Grand Prix

In an effort to inject more excitement and unpredictability into the race weekend, Formula 1 has introduced a new ‘sprint’ race format starting with the Azerbaijan Grand Prix. The ‘sprint’ race will be held on Saturday, separate from the main grand prix, and will have its own qualifying session called the ‘sprint shootout.’

New qualifying format

Qualifying for the main Grand Prix will still be held on Friday, while a shorter qualifying session will be held on Saturday to determine the grid for the sprint race. The sprint qualifying will have three sessions, with the slowest five cars eliminated after each of the first two sessions, which will last 12 and 10 minutes, respectively. The final top-10 contest will last eight minutes. This is a departure from the standard qualifying format, which has three sessions of 18, 15, and 12 minutes.

Tyre use

Teams will be required to use new tyres in each session of the sprint qualifying, with the ‘medium’ compound in the first two sessions and the ‘soft’ compound in the final top-10 contest. In the standard qualifying, tyre use is unrestricted.

The purpose behind the changes is to create more excitement in the ‘sprint’ race and encourage drivers to take more risks. The previous format for sprint weekends, which was introduced in 2021, had the Friday qualifying session setting the grid for the sprint race, and the result of the sprint establishing the grid for the main grand prix. This meant drivers were hesitant to take risks in the sprint race, as any errors or accidents would significantly impact their chances in the grand prix.

Points system

As before, the top eight finishers in the sprint race will receive points, ranging from eight points for first place to one point for eighth place. Although the new format aims to introduce more jeopardy and excitement, the point rewards for the sprint race are still significantly lower than for the grand prix.

Benefits of the new format

The new format for the sprint race has the added benefit of eliminating a Saturday practice session that was previously held with race fuel loads and was unexciting for viewers. Instead, this session has been replaced by the new qualifying session for the sprint race. The new format will be used at all six of the sprint weekends this season.

Permitted engine components increased

Finally, the F1 Commission has agreed to increase the permitted number of specific engine components from three to four this season. These components include the internal combustion engine, turbocharger, and the MGU-K and MGU-H, the two parts of the hybrid system that recover energy. This decision is a boost for Ferrari and Mercedes, both of whom have drivers on their second examples of some of these components after just three races of the season, and are thus now further from suffering grid penalties for excessive parts usage than they were.

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