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Official: Sprint Qualifying gets green light

NEWS STORY
26/04/2021

The FIA Formula 1 Commission has unanimously approved the adoption of a Sprint Qualifying at three Grands Prix this season. These events will be held at two European and one non-European venue.

The format is designed to "increase the on-track action and engage fans in new and innovative way", according to the FIA, which adds that "it also strikes the right balance of rewarding drivers and teams on merit while also giving others the chance to battle their way through the field on Saturday to increase their race chances on Sunday".

On the Friday there will be a qualifying session after the First Free Practice that will determine the grid for the Sprint Qualifying on Saturday. The results of Saturday's Sprint Qualifying will determine the grid for Sunday's race. It has been decided that the top three finishers in Saturday's Sprint Qualifying will receive points, with first place receiving three points, second place two points and third place one point.

Friday:

60-minute First Practice in the morning with two sets of tyres for teams to choose freely.

Normal Qualifying format in the afternoon with five soft tyre sets available only.

Saturday:

60-minute Second Free Practice in the morning with one set of tyres for teams to choose freely.

100km Sprint Qualifying in the afternoon with two sets of tyres for teams to choose freely.

Sunday:

Full distance Grand Prix with two remaining sets of tyres

In the event of wet conditions:

Three sets of Wet and four sets of Intermediate tyres at the start of the event

If FP1 or Qualifying is wet, teams to receive an additional set of Intermediates but must return a used Intermediate set prior to Sprint Qualifying.

If the Sprint Qualifying wet, teams may return 1 set of used Wet or Intermediates after - to be replaced with a new set of Intermediates.

Maximum of 9 sets of Wets and Intermediates in total.

Parc fermé conditions:

Parc Ferme conditions will apply from the start of Qualifying on Friday, forbidding the changing of major components with three objectives:

To stop the construction of special Qualifying cars.

To limit the number of hours required for preparing the car for the following day.

To allow enough reconfiguration of the cars to make Saturday morning Free Practice a useful session.

After the start of Sprint Qualifying, cars will be in full Parc Fermé. A limited number of components will be able to be changed after Qualifying:

Weight distribution may be altered.

Power Unit and gearbox cooling may be adjusted by altering the engine cover outlets or louvres providing the declared ambient temperatures recorded by the FIA appointed weather service provider one hour before the start of Qualifying and one hour before the start of Sprint Qualifying varies by 10 degrees Centigrade or more.

"I am pleased to see that Formula 1 is seeking new ways to engage with its fans and enlarge the spectacle of a race weekend through the concept of Sprint Qualifying," said Jean Todt. "It was made possible thanks to the continued collaboration between the FIA, Formula 1, and all of the teams. 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."

"We are excited by this new opportunity that will bring our fans an even more engaging race weekend in 2021," added Stefano Domenicali. "Seeing the drivers battling it out over three days will be an amazing experience and 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."

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READERS COMMENTS

 

1. Posted by trackrecords, 30/04/2021 11:29

"Over 20 years ago, British motor racing's premier championships split into 2 separate groups (circi?): the British Touring Car Championship and the British F3 and British GT Championships "Powertour".
Compared to the bumper crowds at BTCC meetings, Powertour attendances were falling so much that a desperate call went out for suggestions to 'spice-up the show'.
So many times, my girlfriend had endured being stuck in traffic (and confined within a car with me as I complained relentlessly) queuing into Silverstone on a GP morning. Eventually, finally enjoying the release of driving down the farmer’s lane into the car park, my girlfriend knew the spine-tingling sensation of parking-up to be greeted by the crescendo of F1 cars released for morning warm-up.
Making the valid suggestion that the British GT Championship adopts having a ‘warm-up’ too, it has been a permanent feature of the GT raceday ever since.
F1 is struggling for a similar inspiration to get the collective pulses racing and return to the wail of a V10 (a modern-day BRM 1.5 litre V10 anyone?) would go some way to achieve it.
"

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2. Posted by Editor, 28/04/2021 8:19

"Much like Daniel Ricciardo said recently, with broadcasters, mainstream media and, sadly, F1 itself, there is a lot of emphasis on crashes.

Any preview, any highlights show will emphasise these incidents.

Even keen fans will admit that as the sport has been continually emasculated, the starts remain the most exciting part of a Sunday afternoon.

Why? Because the start is when there is the most likelihood of an incident.

So forgive this old cynic, who believes that the driving force behind sprint qualifying is the fact that there will now be two starts... hence double the chance of one of those - oh so camera friendly - incidents."

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3. Posted by equator180, 28/04/2021 4:07

"So when is the fashion show going to start? The best dressed team on Friday and Saturday get an extra point and on Sunday the winner gets 3. The Sunday winner gets to be flanked by a 6 person team of Grid Girls/Boys (being woke we have to be fair here) with the best of the season at the end getting a spot on the newest sitcom. All awards to be presented by the remaining members of the Monty Python troop...that will bring in a fair amount of viewers who really don't gibe a flying hoot for F1"

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4. Posted by Tom2681, 27/04/2021 21:33

"Thanks, I hate it."

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5. Posted by Rock Doc, 27/04/2021 17:18

"@imejl99 - Memories of Spa.

At least they still had 3rd cars back then - for some."

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6. Posted by C5, 27/04/2021 15:56

"Marvelous news! This will free up several hours for me on race weekends to do better things than watching television."

Rating: Positive (1)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

7. Posted by imejl99, 27/04/2021 11:22

"@editor

What is Liberty`s responsibility toward promoters, is there a minimum race grid? 20? 18?
Contractual breach? Hosting fee void?
Would multi car incident on Saturday be F1 shoot own foot in more ways than obvious?"

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8. Posted by Burton, 27/04/2021 10:38

"The "winner" of the sprint event (not going to call it race) gets credited with pole position?"

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9. Posted by Editor, 27/04/2021 8:32

"An incident on Friday morning could mean a driver's weekend is already over."

Rating: Positive (3)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

10. Posted by TokyoAussie, 27/04/2021 4:27

""increase the on-track action and engage fans in new and innovative way"

Amazing how on-track action suddenly needs increasing after its been decreasing for so long, and with oft-heard calls to make 2-day events instead of 3-day events. I remember fondly 2 sessions on Thursday, 2 sessions on Friday, 1 session and qualifying on Saturday, and warm up session and race on Sunday.

But what most fans want, I think, is not so much more time on track on-track action, but more action when on the track on-track action. A sprint qualifying procession, instead of seeing the absolute fastest pace in qualifying runs, is not going to be any kind of fix. I don't particularly want to see a mini version of Sunday held on Saturday. Let's face it, qualifying is usually more exciting than the race."

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11. Posted by Rock Doc, 27/04/2021 2:58

"I remember when the current quali was introduced. A lot of the same comments I notice. Personally I wasn't too happy about it but I have to admit that it has proved popular and has made the hour more entertaining.

May be this will be the same. But I would still like to see some continuity between races. If you make a mess of the last race then it should impact the next. So if we go this route why have the pre-race quali (seems to defeat the purpose of the pre-race instead of quali). Instead have the pre-race line up based on the previous big race result.

It's always been a season of many single individual races. Everyone gets a reset button each weekend. But what if each weekend relied on the previous one, and each race started just like a Red Flag situation. How would that figure into the tactics. I think it would throw up plenty of interesting grids throughout a season.

"

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12. Posted by Red Baron, 27/04/2021 2:27

"As an F1 fanatic since the early 80's, I'm lucky to have experienced what I consider to be some of F1's glory years, and although I'm happy with formats of the past, I'm still open to changes that have potential to benefit the fans... and I have a feeling that this new format is going to add a whole new level of excitement to the sport, so I personally can't wait for Silverstone to see what transpires."

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13. Posted by mellow yellow, 27/04/2021 0:58

"Another blow to the heart of Formula One racing. What happens when a car is wrecked on the Saturday and unable to race ??

For the last several years F1 has revolved around who can best manage Pirelli tires, with especially stupid rules mandating tire changes, because the Grand Pooh Baa's don't want to see Hamilton/Mercedes winning every race without any passing. Suggestion: make tires to last the race, as in the Goodyear days.

Suggestion: JUNK these silly hyper-expensive hybrid V-6's. When was the last time you saw them ?? Let's go back to mechanical devices (with clean burning fuels) that make a sound louder than a wet fart. Give us V-8's, V-10's, and (be still my beating heart) V-12's.

If the size of the wing/undertray downforce were seriously reduced you would not need daft trickery like DRG."

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14. Posted by kenji, 27/04/2021 0:39

"This is not the end of the world!! You will never know whether there's any upside until you run it and see. The fact is that most people do not welcome change..and I agree with that to extent but I'm also keen to see if it adds or detracts. The rules will need to be tweaked, possibly, as I see that the the teams will only have two sets of dry tyres available for the GP on Sunday. This I fear will see some teams having to increase their tyre saving performance in the case of high deg. The one question I have is what happens if the car suffers a punture when on their second set ? It will be very interesting......
"

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15. Posted by USA1, 27/04/2021 0:24

"Another stupid move!"

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