F1 sprint race explained

While originally called 'sprint qualifying', it was quickly changed to just F1 sprint race. The sprint is the new experimental format introduced in 2021 to the grand prix weekend. The goal is to bring more spectacle, excitement and make the grid for the actual grand prix less predictable.

F1 sprint format

The outcome of the sprint race on Saturday, determines the grid for the grand prix on Sunday. The sprint is 100KM and takes about half an hour. It is flat out without any (mandatory) pitstops. The grid for the sprint is determined by a regular qualifying session, which is moved to friday (at the expense of one practice session).

There is a free choice of tyres, dedicated for the sprint. For the grand prix race on Sunday, all drivers have a free choice of starting tyre. The traditional sunday grand prix race format remains unchanged.
With F1 running a budget cap, the F1 teams receive additional budget to cover for these sprints and receive extra budget in case of a heavy car crash in the sprint. The sprint does not have a podium ceremony.

When will the F1 sprints be held?

In the 2021 season, the concept was initially trialled with 3 events. And the same for the consequent 2022 season. While not without critique from drivers and fans, on the whole it is seen as an addition to the weekend. 2023 will therefore ramp up to six sprints events on the calender. At Azerbaijan, Austria, Belgium, Qatar, United States and Brazil. Sprint should be viewed like a 'Grand Slam event' in Tennis, spread out through the season.

How are sprint points awarded?

A driver is awarded points based on his finishing position in the sprint. Points have been extended to the first 8 finishers, starting at 8 points for first place, down to 1 point for P8. This is significantly more than in 2021 when only the top three drivers were awareded points (3, 2, 1, respectively). And sprints are unique in that they are the first time in F1 history that points can be achieved outside of the Sunday grand prix race itself.

Pole position

Another change is the definition of pole position. This has returned to the driver setting the fastest time in qualifying (on the friday). As opposed to 2021, where the winner of the sprint (initial called sprint qualifying, but tag was quickly dropped) was awarded pole.

Formula 1 sprint evaluation

The purpose of 2021 was to trial the new concept. While it wasn't met with universal praise from the fans and drivers, the sport was generally happy with this addition to the weekend.
The evaluation will likely continue in the future. With various discussion points remain on things like the costs incurred (especially under the cost cap). The number of events (to six in 2023). Increasing the points awarded to include the complete top 10 (to 8 in 2022). And making the sprint a standalone event without any bearing on the sunday GP; with some saying that it now feels more like a red flag and race restart.

Sprint qualifying - seasons: 2021 - 2021
PlacePointsPercentage of first placePercentage of previous place (n-1)
    
13100%100%
2267%67%
3133%50%
Description: Sprint qualifying determines the grid for the grand prix.

Sprint - seasons: 2022 - 2022
PlacePointsPercentage of first placePercentage of previous place (n-1)
    
18100%100%
2788%88%
3675%86%
4563%83%
5450%80%
6338%75%
7225%67%
8113%50%
Description: Sprint determines the grid for the grand prix.
Date last modified: 2023-02-06 01:06:26 - 3 days ago
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