The radical and somewhat controversial proposal to host a new ‘Sprint Qualifying’ format at three grands prix during the 2021 season has been approved by the FIA Formula 1 Commission.
First held at Silverstone, Monza and one other venue yet to be announced, the format comprises of a qualifying session after the First Free Practice session that will determine the grid for the Sprint Qualifying on Saturday.
The results of that Saturday Sprint Qualifying will then determine the grid for Sunday’s race and, as an added incentive, the top three finishers from Saturday’s Sprint Qualifying will receive points. The winner of the Sprint Race will gain three additional points, second place two points and third place one point.
New race weekend format, new challenge.
— Formula 1 (@F1) April 26, 2021
“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,” commented Jean Todt, President of the FIA.
““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.”
Stefano Domenicali, President and CEO of Formula 1, added: “We are excited by this new opportunity that will bring our fans an even more engaging race weekend in 2021. 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.”
The Sprint regulations as set out by the FIA Formula 1 Commission are as follows:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 Fermé 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.