F1 sprint qualifying

F1 sprint race explained, let’s find out how it works

The introduction of F1 sprinting was in 2021. In April, the FIA Formula One management announced that the first sprinting qualifying would take place as an experiment at the British Grand Prix. The first F1 sprint race started on 17 July 2021 at the Silverstone circuit. A short Formula 1 race or “mini Grand Prix” may sound difficult, but you are not alone in your thoughts. So, let’s figure out what is an F1 sprint race.

What does sprint mean?

Top-speed running over short distances – that is the original meaning of sprinting. However, in Formula 1, as an independent event, the Sprint is the additional race event for the weekend.

What is an F1 sprint race in simple terms?

F1 Sprint is the 100 km race that takes place on Saturday and will last about 25-30 minutes. The results of of the Sprint race will determine the starting grid of Sunday’s race – the Grand Prix, which will stick to its classic format.

It is designed to be an action-packed event, comparable to a Twenty20 cricket match, where drivers will drive without interruption from the start to the finish.

The top three finishers gain three points for the victor, two for the runner-up, and one for the third. While the podium ceremony is reserved for the Grand Prix on Sunday. A special post-Sprint presentation for the top three will still take place. Thus, the winner of the Formula 1 sprint qualifying at parc ferme receives a trophy, which official tire supplier Pirelli presents to winner. However, traditions such as the national anthem will only take place during the Sunday race.

How long is a sprint in Formula 1?

F1 sprint races last about 25 minutes. For example, Silverstone hosted a 17-lap race, F1 sprint qualifying Monza lasted 18 laps, while the Brazilian Formula 1 sprint lasted 24 laps.

How does the sprint race work in F1?

The three-part, one-hour-long session that has caused a stir in recent years will remain as a main part of the show. The difference is that it will now take place on Friday, thus adding more significance to the first day of track action and creating a climax.

The event is taking place later in the day to enable those who have to work the opportunity to view it.

This session will feature a change to the tyre regulations, with only soft tyres accepted. This means that teams and drivers will have the opportunity to choose which compound to use for the beginning of Sunday’s race, instead of being obligated to utilize the compound they used in Q2 to qualify.

From start to finish, the drivers speed up at full throttle without pit stops or changing tires. The distance of 100km makes it possible to race at the highest level and to qualify for the higher positions. Such a run makes the Formula 1 more attractive for fans.

Formula 1 sprint works without podium and a prize-giving ceremony after the finish.  This honor remains the privilege of the three first-place finishers at the Grand Prix on Sunday. However, there are a special post-Sprint presentation for the top three.

The drivers take their starting positions on Sunday in the order in which they finished the sprint race. In the event of accidents or F1 car accidents, drivers will occupy the position at the end of the grid, as stipulated in the Formula 1 qualifying Rules.

How does the racing weekend change with F1 Sprint?

The weekend will only include two practice sessions, each of which will last one hour.

On Friday, teams will be able to use any combination of two of their twelve allocated sets of tyres for the weekend, with one set being reduced due to the decrease in total running. They must reserve five sets for softs for qualifying and two sets for the race, of which the choice is free.

It is assumed that the teams will use the more difficult tire compound to establish their initial set-up. Possibly one softer tire while they investigate how to improve their performance.

Once FP1 is complete, all cars head to the Parc Ferme facility prior to FP2, which is scheduled for Saturday morning. During this session, drivers are allowed to utilize one set of tyres of their own choosing.

Once they have completed the F1 Sprint, the cars travel back to Parc Ferme and situated once more in the secure area for the night, in preparation for the following day’s race.

F1 Qualifying vs Sprint Race.

At the beginning of the experiment with introducing sprint races, someone said that this is the best substitute for standard qualifying, but that is not true. As with practice, sprint race is an excellent opportunity for drivers from the middle grid to fight for points and top starting positions.

In this way, Williams’ team driver George Russell improved to ninth place during the first Silverstone sprint race in 2021. Carlos Sainz also finished third in the Brazilian short race in 2022.

However, it is impossible to determine the fastest driver in the sprint. Too many secondary factors come first. For example, Lewis Hamilton was the fastest at Silverstone sprint race. He got the purple sectors during the event. Sametime, Max Verstappen was a bit more tricky and took the lead and won Silverstone sprint. F1 fans disappointed because it looked unfair to Hamilton. That’s the point of regret and the “no” answer to “Will F1 sprint replace the qualifying session?”.

Formula 1 qualifying as a pre-event of Sunday’s race determines the fastest driver by pure time. Meanwhile, the sprint race calls the fastest through the finish line. Although these two events complement each other perfectly. Running F1 sprint races is expensive and sprinting will not work well on every track.

What if it rains during the sprint race?

In the case that FP1 or Qualifying is held in wet weather, teams will receive an extra set of intermediate tyres; however, they must hand back a set that has been used once the F1 Sprint is over.

If the sprint is recognized as wet, F1 teams can replace a new set of tires in accordance with the regulations.

In the event that the F1 Sprint takes place under wet conditions, teams can come back with one set of tires that were already utilized or ones that are categorized as intermediate, and these will be switched out with a brand-new set.

Where are the F1 sprint races?

The schedule of the F1 sprint races coincides with the Formula 1 calendar. In the 2021 Formula 1 season, there were three sprints: Silverstone British Grand Prix, Monza Italian Grand Prix and the Brazilian Grand Prix.

As a successful experiment in 2021, F1 sprint race had to be held in 8 out of 23 races. After a while, it reduced the number to six sprint races. In fact, three races were proclaimed in the Formula 1 calendar 2022: Emilia Romagna, Austria and Sao Paulo Grand Prix.

However, the target six sprints goal was achieved for the 2023 Formula 1 season. Thus, the three “short” races taking place at six out of the 23 race weekends: Baku (Azerbaijan GP), Red Bull Ring (Austrian GP), Spa-Francorchamps (Belgium GP), Losail (Qatar GP), Austin (US GP) and Interlagos (Australian GP).

What is the paradox of F1 Sprint race?

The main paradox of any sprint race in Formula 1 is the unjustified risk. In order to get the coveted place ahead, any driver can lose all positions in the event of an accident. All the drivers on the grid will go to the limit, so the sprint is the big lottery.

The good example to understand above, just remember how Red Bull driver Sergio Perez claimed to win Silverstone sprint race. Starting 25-minute race from fifth place, Mexican driver had flat out and lost all positions.

What do experts think about the sprint race?

There is no clear opinion on sprinting in Formula 1. Most of them, such as Lewis Hamilton, believe that sprinting races require some amendments. The number of short races in the season is another controversy in Formula 1 for the teams. They require increasing the budget limit.

Former Formula 1 boss Bernie Ecclestone, for example, calls the format “complete nonsense”.

After three sprint races in 2021, sprint qualifying would have “many overtaking and so much fun,” as Scuderia Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto said. What is certain is that the fans enjoyed the short races, while the F1 teams and drivers got new headaches.

What modifications have there been for F1’s sprint race in 2023?

This year has seen the most recent changes to the F1 sprint race arrangement. Friday’s qualifying has been designated to just Sunday’s grand prix. Therefore, Saturday’s activities are now totally independent from the remainder of the weekend.

On Friday, the first and only practice session takes place in its usual slot before a normal 60-minute qualifying session in the Q1-Q2-Q3 format. This orders the grid for Sunday’s grand prix and has no effect on Saturday’s sprint qualifying or sprint race.

F1 has substituted its Saturday practice session for a new sprint qualifying session. It is essentially a shortened version of regular qualifying – with Q1 12 minutes, Q2 10 minutes, and Q3 eight minutes – held in the morning prior to the sprint race in the afternoon.

The sprint race has the same duration and format as 2022, equivalent to a 100km race, with points accessible for the top eight finishers. The victor obtains eight points, second place scores seven points, and so on, descending to eighth place with one point. On Sunday, the grand prix occurs as usual.

The following is the 2023 F1 sprint race weekend format:

Friday morning – 60-minute Free Practice 1.

Friday afternoon – Standard qualifying to arrange the starting grid for the grand prix.

Saturday morning – Sprint qualifying to form the starting grid for the sprint race.

Saturday afternoon – Sprint race – top eight attaining points.

Sunday – Entire grand prix race – top 10 acquiring points plus the fastest lap bonus point.

How will sprint qualifying work in 2023 F1?

Sprint qualifying is held on Saturday mornings and essentially replaces a practice session. It is shorter than regular qualifying and has distinctive rules. Q1 is 12 minutes, Q2 is 10 minutes, and Q3 is eight minutes, with every segment split by seven-minute breaks.

Fresh tires are compulsory for each phase of qualifying: medium tyres for Q1 and Q2 and soft tires for Q3. New sets for each segment of qualifying are necessary since teams won’t have time to go for multiple runs in qualifying. Therefore, it won’t be able to pit for fresh tires during each segment of qualifying.

Apart from that, the rules are the same as regular qualifying, with the bottom five dropping out in Q1 and then once more in Q2, with the top 10 contending in Q3.

Grid penalties and F1 2023 sprint race weekend

The punishments gained prior to the race weekend, during Friday’s practice, or qualifying are used for the grand prix on Sunday. Thus, grid penalties received during Saturday’s sprint race qualifying are utilized for the sprint race and not the grand prix. A grid penalty attained from an incident in the sprint race is applied to Sunday’s grand prix. While any parc ferme infringement results in pitlane starts for both the sprint race and grand prix.

Any grid punishments for power unit changes are only applicable to the grand prix, except if it denotes a parc ferme breach, which leads to pitlane starts for the sprint race and the grand prix.

Launched as an experiment, the F1 sprint race cause a sensation and became an integral part of the Formula 1 weekend. Fans have been waiting for the event, drivers and teams have been preparing for it for a long time. In terms of the experiment, it means that Formula 1, as a motor sport, is constantly evolving. Sprint race may need more interesting rules, but in reality it is a step forward for race development.