On Saturday is the day. For the first time in the history of Formula 1, a sprint race will be held. We explain how it works.
The motorsport “premier class” decided to replace classic qualifying with a sprint race on three race weekends. The first edition will take place on Saturday as part of the British Grand Prix. Italy and Brazil are being discussed for further editions.
In any case, the goal of the motorsport “premier class” is clear: a sprint race should provide an additional spectacle that attracts the fans in front of the TV screens during qualifying. In addition, every day would have a high point. The actual qualifying already takes place on Friday, the sprint race on Saturday and the Grand Prix on Sunday.
100 kilometers are driven – this corresponds to a third of the usual racing distance. 17 laps are completed in Silverstone. The starting grid for this will be determined in qualifying, which is brought forward to Friday. All pilots have a free choice of tires. In contrast to the Grand Prix, there is no mandatory pit stop.
There are points for the top three in the sprint race. The winner receives three points, the second two and the third one more point. These are added to both the driver's and the constructor's rating. The result of the sprint race is also the starting grid for the race on Sunday.
The sprint race also changes the entire weekend. On Friday, the first free practice starts at 3.30 p.m., followed by qualifying at 7 p.m., which is the starting grid for the sprint race. The second free practice session (1 p.m.) and the sprint race (5.30 p.m.) are scheduled for Saturday. The Grand Prix then rises on Sunday (4 p.m.). The ORF and pay TV channel Sky broadcast all sessions live.
Curious about it: In the Formula 1 statistics, the winner of the sprint race is assigned a pole position, as this driver starts the Grand Prix from first place. The fastest in qualifying on Friday will be honored with the “Speed King” award.
In the classic race on Sunday, everything basically stays the same. Only a few rule details had to be adapted. The drivers of the top ten in the race on Sunday now also enjoy a free choice of tires. Anyone who is eliminated in the sprint race has to tackle the Grand Prix on Sunday from last place on the grid.
In order to support teams in the event of damage, they are supported with an additional 425,000 euros. As soon as qualifying begins on Friday evening, the Parc Ferme rule applies, whereby damaged parts can only be replaced with identical pieces.
In any case, defending champion Lewis Hamilton has the opportunity to make up for additional points on world championship leader Max Verstappen. The “Silver Arrows” are judged to be more competitive, especially at Silverstone. While Verstappen could finally settle down. The Dutchman is already 32 points ahead of the Briton – that is more than Hamilton can catch up on the coming race weekend.