Formula 1’s planned sprint qualifying trials were approved on Monday by the sport’s F1 Commission, with a formal green light from the FIA’s World Motorsport Sport Council expected in short order.
F1 chief executive Stefano Domenicali said the sprint race plan, which should kick off at this summer’s British GP, will add value to the race weekend and entertainment for the fans.
“We are excited by this new opportunity that will bring our fans an even more engaging race weekend in 2021,” said the Italian. “Seeing the drivers battling it out over three days will be an amazing experience,” he said.
“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.”
While the specific venues remain to be confirmed, Monza and Interlagos are expected to complete the three-race trial.
“F1 is showing itself to be stronger than ever with all stakeholders working together in this way, and much has been done to ensure that the sporting, technical and financial aspects of the format are fair,” added FIA president Jean Todt.
Practically, a qualifying session based on the normal format will take place on Friday afternoon and determine the grid positions for the Saturday afternoon 100-kilometer sprint race.
An important point here regarding tyre rules: only soft tyres will be permitted in the Friday 60-minute qualie session. As a result, teams and drivers will be free to start Sunday’s Grand Prix on the compound of their choice, rather than on the tyre used in Q2.
The result of the mad dash will subsequently the grid order for Sunday’s Grand Prix which will take place over the normal full distance.
Furthermore, points will be awarded to the top three drivers in the sprint race, with the winner receiving 3 points while P2 and P3 will receive 2 and 1 point respectively. But there will not be a podium ceremony celebrating Saturday’s top-three.
Finally, Parc Fermé rules will apply from the start of Saturday’s sprint race, while certain settings and component changes will be permitted between Friday’s qualifying session and the start of the sprint race.
Race weekend Sprint Qualifying trial format:
Friday: FP1 / Qualifying (60-minute Q1-Q2-Q3 session)
Saturday: FP2 / Sprint Qualifying (100 kilometers max)
Sunday: F1 Grand Prix
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