F1 to debut sprint qualifying format at three races in 2021

Formula One is set to have three sprint qualifiers in 2021 season. Photo: @F1 /Twitter

The Formula One weekend is set to be shaken up with the announcement on Tuesday morning that an agreement had been reached between the FIA, Formula 1 and all 10 teams on the grid to have sprint qualifying for three races during the 2021 season.

The sprint qualifier will be a 100km race lasting approximately 30 minutes with no required pit stops.

The sprint will take place on the Saturday afternoon, with the result deciding the starting grid for Sunday’s Grand Prix, which will remain unchanged.

Points will be awarded to the top three finishers, with three for the winner, two for second and one for third place.

The grid for the sprint qualifying will be decided on the Friday afternoon using the normal qualifying format currently in place for Grand Prix’s.

Formula 1 President and CEO Stefano Domenicali said, “we are excited by this new opportunity that will bring our fans an even more engaging race weekend in 2021,” in response to the announcement.

“Seeing the drivers battling it out over three days will be an amazing experience and I am sure the drivers will relish the fight.”

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The plan is to have the new format debuted at two European circuits and one non-European circuit, however where the Sprint Qualifying sessions will take place is yet to be formally announced.

It has been rumoured that the two European sprint qualifiers will be the British Grand Prix at Silverstone in July and the Italian Grand Prix at Monza in September, as their track layouts offer a chance for the format to shine, according to F1.com Senior Writer Lawrence Barretto.

Practice sessions will still occur over the weekend with one on the Friday morning and the other Saturday morning before the sprint qualifier.

If the format is successful, the plan is to have the sprint qualifiers at select Grand Prix in the future based on the circuit.

“We’re considering these weekends being Grand Slam events, spread through the season, so it is something different,” said F1 Managing Director of Motorsports, Ross Brawn.

“I don’t think it’ll go to the whole season, I think it’ll be a limited number of races, but that is to be decided.”

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