Sprint Qualifying to debut at three Grands Prix in 2021 following unanimous agreement from teams
Formula 1 is set to debut the Sprint Qualifying format at three Grands Prix in 2021, following an agreement reached between the FIA, Formula 1 and all 10 teams on the grid – with two European venues and one non-European one set to host the format, with those venues to be announced in due course.
Sprint Qualifying will see the drivers battle it out over 100km on Saturday afternoons of the selected Grand Prix weekends, with the result from Sprint Qualifying then deciding the starting grid for Sunday’s full distance Grand Prix.
The new format will also see the grid for the Sprint Qualifying decided on Friday afternoon, using the current qualifying format, with cars entering Parc Ferme conditions from the start of Friday qualifying – while there’ll be one 60-minute practice session on both Friday and Saturday mornings.
It’s been decided, meanwhile, that the top three finishers in Saturday’s Sprint Qualifying will receive points – three points for first place, two points for second and one point for third.
“We are excited by this new opportunity that will bring our fans an even more engaging race weekend in 2021,” said Formula 1 President and CEO 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.”
FIA President Jean Todt, meanwhile, commented: “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. 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.”
The Sprint Qualifying format in full
- 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
Lawrence Barretto, F1.com Senior Writer, says:
In an impressive show of unity, all 10 teams have agreed to trial the new Sprint Qualifying format at three Grands Prix this season. It’s taken some time to get there, with the details surrounding the financial implications the trickiest to nail down.
But this was the year in which to try new ideas, ahead of the introduction of sweeping new technical rules in 2022, and ultimately, an agreement was reached.
It has yet to be formally announced where the Sprint Qualifying sessions will take place, but it is widely understood Silverstone and Monza are two of the three in the running, their track layouts offering a chance for the format to shine.