F1 poised to confirm ‘Sprint Qualifying’ races as teams agree financial terms · RaceFans


Formula 1’s plan to hold three ‘Sprint Qualifying’ races this year is expected to go ahead after the sport agreed financial terms with teams.

The first of the three extra Saturday races, which will award world championship points, is to take place during the British Grand Prix weekend at Silverstone. The Italian and Brazilian rounds have also been selected feature Sprint Qualifying races.

RaceFans revealed two months ago F1’s latest attempt to change the qualifying format, at selected rounds of this year’s championship. However discussions over its introduction dragged past the start of the new season without resolution.

F1 teams expressed concerns the extra races would increase wear and tear on their cars and create further risk of damage. They sought additional payments from F1 and coverage in the event of a major crash.

“What we can’t ignore is that to run and operate these cars is extremely expensive,” said Red Bull team principal Christian Horner in Bahrain. “We need to find a solution how to combat that, in particular in a season where the budget cap is having a significant impact on how we operate.”

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The financial terms have now been agreed, leaving only sporting details left to work out. These include what restrictions may be imposed on the use of tyres during the Sprint Qualifying races and whether the Drag Reduction System will be altered to enable easier overtaking.

F1 weekends featuring Sprint Qualifying sessions could therefore feature two different race winners. However F1 does not want the new format to detract from the significance of Sunday’s grand prix.

“It’s almost like a pre-final,” said Horner, “this concept that you’re winning a qualifying race; effectively you’re not a grand prix winner.”

“We need to protect the DNA of the sport, the history of the sport,” he added. “A grand prix winner should only be a guy that prevails on a Sunday afternoon. A pre-final on a Saturday is not a grand prix.”

Proposed Sprint Qualifying race weekend format

Day Time Session Notes
Friday Morning First practice
Friday Afternoon Qualifying Decides the grid for Sprint Qualifying
Saturday Morning Second practice
Saturday Afternoon Sprint Qualifying Awards points to the top three and decides the grid for the grand prix
Sunday Afternoon Grand Prix Awards points to the top 10

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