There will be a very different feel to three Grand Prix weekends in 2021 as sprint qualifying has been given the green light today following an agreement between F1, the FIA and all 10 teams on the grid.
Here is how it will work:
- 60-minute Free Practice session with two sets of tyres for teams to choose freely
- The standard Qualifying session in the afternoon with five sets of soft tyres available only
- A second 60-minute Free Practice session in the morning with one set of tyres to choose freely
- Sprint Qualifying in the afternoon with two sets of tyres for teams to choose freely
- The normal Grand Prix with two remaining sets of tyres
The winner of the 100km race on Saturday will be awarded three points, P2 will get two and P3 will receive a single point. Drivers will not have to make any compulsory stops in the sprint races either.
Parc Ferme conditions will apply like they normally do; there will be no changes allowed after the normal qualifying session starts on Friday afternoon.
While the venues for these sprint events are still unknown, Silverstone, Monza and Interlagos seem to be the most likely locations for them to take place.
“We are excited by this new opportunity that will bring our fans an even more engaging race weekend in 2021,” said Formula 1 President and CEO Stefano Domenicali. “Seeing the drivers battling it out over three days will be an amazing experience and I am sure the drivers will relish the fight.
“I am delighted that all the teams supported this plan, and it is a testament to our united efforts to continue to engage our fans in new ways while ensuring we remain committed to the heritage and meritocracy of our sport.”
FIA President Jean Todt added: “I am pleased to see that Formula 1 is seeking new ways to engage with its fans and enlarge the spectacle of a race weekend through the concept of Sprint Qualifying. It was made possible thanks to the continued collaboration between the FIA, Formula 1, and all of the teams.
“F1 is showing itself to be stronger than ever with all stakeholders working together in this way, and much has been done to ensure that the Sporting, Technical and Financial aspects of the format are fair.”