A new qualifying format is taking over three of this season’s Grand Prix weekends in efforts to trial the new ‘Sprint Qualifying’.
The new sprint qualifying will make its Formula 1 debut this weekend at Silverstone. The new format consists of the drivers conducting a 100 Kilometre sprint race on Saturday afternoon.
The sprint race will consist of no pit stops but DRS will be in operation. The sprint will determine the starting grid for Sunday’s race.
Drivers are not only chasing a top spot on Sunday’s starting line-up but also championship points.
Points will be awarded for the first three drivers who see the chequered flag. 3 points will go to the driver in first, 2 points for second and 1 for third. These points will contribute to both the drivers and team’s championships.
The new format does not come alone, it is accompanied by a few changes to the race weekend schedule.
Free Practice 1 will be conducted as normal allowing the teams to utilise the full 60 minutes to test their cars.
Free Practice 2 that normally takes place on Friday afternoon, is replaced by a three-part qualifying session, the same as what is normally seen on a Saturday afternoon. This qualifying session will determine the starting order for Saturday’s sprint qualifying.
Free Practice 2 will resume on Saturday morning which will be followed by the Sprint Qualifying session in the afternoon.
The grand prix race will take place as normal.
Along with some deviation from the normal course of events, there have also been some regulation changes. Parc fermé, the period through which teams cannot make alterations to their cars, will be extended from the start of Friday’s qualifying session to the end of Sunday’s race.
This extension comes with some exceptions for safety reasons, these include suspension changes and braking systems.
In addition to the Parc Fermé alterations, there will be changes to the tyre allocations. Teams will be allowed soft compound tyres only for Friday’s three-part qualifying, whereas for the sprint race teams have free reign over which tyres they use.
As always, teams must use two compound tyres during Sunday’s race.
This exciting new addition to the race weekend will give way to an intense battle between a set of 20 very competitive cars. Counting on the success of this season’s trials, could we be looking at one of the biggest and most exhilarating changes to Formula 1 in decades?