Formula 1 has decided to shake things up this season by bringing some changes to the sprint format of races. Sprint, which was introduced in 2021, is a series of races that take place on the day before a Grand Prix, usually a Saturday, and attract points, just like Sundays’ races. In previous years, the result of the sprint race set the grid for Sunday’s race. But that is set to change.
According to the new rules announced on Tuesday by the F1 Commission, a qualifying race, which would be held on the Fridays of sprint weekends, would help set the grid for Sunday’s race. The sprint would have its own qualifying session, which would comprise three races. This is in a bid to make the sprint race independent of the main Grand Prix.
There are also new rules regarding tyre use, which would see teams use three different sets of new tyres for all the races in the qualifying session just before the sprint. The F1 has said that this move is to push drivers to be more daring during the sprint race.
The decision to separate qualifying for Sunday’s Grand Prix from the results of Saturday’s sprint would, indeed, allow drivers to be more competitive. This would make sprint races very big events that would attract a much larger following than they currently have.
Some things, like the format for awarding points, still remain the same, although there is the possibility that we might see changes next season, depending on the success of the new changes.
With six sprint races this season, the first to hold this weekend, we would have enough time to assess if the changes made have any real significance on the sprint format. It would also decide, to a large extent, if the number of sprint races would increase or reduce in the coming seasons.