It is a race serving as a qualifying session. This is in substance the nature ofNew event, judged over 100 km, soon introduced in Formula 1, episodically, at least for this season. Three rounds will be affected in 2021 by the arrival of this “sprint race”, whose baptism of fire should a priori be held at Silverstone, theater of the British Grand Prix at the mid-July.
Race or qualifying? Victory or pole position?
On the form, it’s a race. Basically, a qualifying session. Moreover, it is sometimes called a “sprint race” or “sprint qualifications”, since it is a hybrid concept, that of a qualifying race. This is why, it is not necessarily obvious to define the contours of this new test introduced during the day of Saturday, in order to promote the spectacle on the track. This 100 km race, to last about half an hour, represents a third of the regulatory distance of a Grand Prix, around 305 km, except for that of Monaco (260 km). Concretely, its mission is to completely replace the qualifications disputed on Saturday. Therefore, its result is used to determine the order of the Grand Prix starting grid Sunday. To follow this logic, on the side of the statistics of F1, know that the winning driver of the sprint race will officially take pole position.
What new format for the whole weekend?
On the relevant Grands Prix, qualifying on Saturday is replaced by a 100 km race, ie. But how is the starting grid of the latter defined ? By holding, instead of the free practice session of the Friday afternoon, of a classic qualifying session, for which the closed park conditions apply, prohibiting the change of major parts on single-seaters. Logically, the driver who posted the best time in these Friday qualifying sessions will not, strictly speaking, sign a “pole position”, this statistic going to the winner of the Saturday race. As for the winner of the Grand Prix, there can only be one and he is necessarily known on Sunday. Find below the summary of the new format communicated by the official website of the discipline.
- Friday morning: Free practice 1 (60 min) – 2 sets of tires, free choice
- Friday afternoon: Qualifications in the classic format (Q1-Q2-Q3) – 5 sets of soft tires
- Saturday morning: Free practice 2 (60 min) – 1 set of tires, free choice
- Saturday afternoon: Qualifications in the new sprint race format (100 km) – 2 sets of tires, free choice
- Sunday: Grand Prix (approximately 305 km) – 2 sets of tires remaining
Points scored during this sprint event?
Never in the history of F1 has a qualifying format resulted in the awarding of points. It will therefore be a first for the introduction of this sprint race. The first three to arrive will score respectively three points, two points and one point in the championship. Therefore, taking into account the 25 units awarded to the winner of the Grand Prix the next day and the point awarded to the author of the fastest lap in the race, it will be possible for a driver to enter up to 29 points for a weekend.
How many Grands Prix affected in 2021?
Under study for a few years and redefined many times, the concept of sprint racing therefore finds expression in this 2021 season. In its final version, this new format was unanimously adopted by the ten teams on the plateau. Its introduction should be limited to three Grands Prix of the current season, their identity has not yet been officially disclosed. First, it should be the British Grand Prix, scheduled for July 16-18. A symbolic choice for the circuit of Silverstone, scene of the birth of the discipline in May 1950. The other two meetings could be those of Monza (Italy) and Interlagos (Brazil), expected in September and November respectively, subject to the evolution of the health crisis.
The whole 2022 season in sprint mode?
At start of the 2016 financial year, the introduction of a new format of continuous elimination qualifying, particularly convoluted, had caused a resounding quack, to the point of being abandoned at the end of the second round. To avoid suffering this kind of inconvenience again, Formula 1 has decided to operate a full-scale test on three Grands Prix in 2021, a priori spaced apart (Silverstone, Monza and Interlagos, to be confirmed) in order to allow time for correct the shot, if necessary. In addition, this format must be officially approved at a meeting of the FIA World Motor Sport Council. If the test is successful, will the sprint race concept be the only format chosen for qualifying for next year? A priori, no. For now, there would be no question of extending it to the whole of the 2022 season., but rather to reserve it for the tracks which have the potential to offer the best possible level of spectacle.
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