The rumours were rife and it has finally been ratified, Formula 1 is getting a shake up of its qualifying format! .. Well at least a trial.
The Formula 1 weekend for some drags out with two practice sessions on a Friday, one practice and qualifying session on Saturday and finally the race on Sunday. The times set in the practice times are seen as never relative to what happens on Saturday so the average viewer and spectator (when they’ve been allowed to attend) generally switch out waiting for qualifying and then the race.
However to bring more “value” and “spectacle” to Formula 1, a sprint race qualifying setup was floated and has now been accepted by the teams after concerns about the effect on cost caps and more.
After the trial, the plan is not to run this format at every race as in some places such as Monaco it just wouldn’t be practical to do so, however select races during the year will be chosen to host the sprint format.
The new format will see a 60 minute practice on Friday, followed by a traditional Q1, Q2, Q3 qualifying format to set the grid for the sprint qualifying race on Saturday. The tyre rules will change for this session, with only soft tyres permitted. As a result, teams and drivers will be free to start Sunday’s race on any compound, rather than having to run the tyre they qualify on in Q2.
On Saturday there will be another 60 minute practice session and then a 100km race which will set the grid for the Sunday race.
Points will be awarded for 1st, 2nd and 3rd, however there will be no podium ceremony as that will be reserved for the main race on Sunday. There will also be a small grid procedure for the Sprint Qualifying with media and guest spermitted, but no national anthem which again will be kept for the Sunday race.
No word yet on which races will get this sprint qualifying format, however Monza and Silverstone are currently the most rumoured tracks to be on there.
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