The Formula 1 2023 season has nearly drawn to a close and with it all six sprint races have concluded.
But with three seasons of the Sprint format being introduced into Formula 1, there are more questions than answers about the success of the Sprint format.
2021Embed from Getty Images
When the Sprint was introduced in the Formula 1 2021 season the main prospect was to deliver more action over a race weekend.
In 2021 the Sprint Featured in three races with the weekend being shown as this:
- The first Practice will consist of a 60-minute session with teams free to choose their tyres in the morning.
- The afternoon session will consist of normal qualifying with only five sets of soft tyres available.
- A second free practice will take place in the morning for 60 minutes with one set of tyres available for teams to select.
- Qualifying for the 100km sprint race will take place in the afternoon with teams being able to select from two sets of tyres.
- The full-distance Grand Prix remains as normal.
For the Sprint Race on Saturday points are awarded to the top 3:
1st – 3 Points
2nd – 2 Points
3rd – 1 Point
While the 2021 season hosted the Sprint on a trial basis, for the fans it became a call for more action receiving positive comments.
2022Embed from Getty Images
And for 2022, the FIA announced that the Formula 1 Sprint Format will feature six races on the calendar with more points up for grabs.
However, the format of the Sprint remains the same.
But would offer more points for a 100km Sprint on Saturday.
1st – 8 Points
2nd – 7 Points
3rd – 6 Points
4th – 5 Points
5th – 4 Points
6th – 3 Points
7th – 2 Points
8th – 1 Point
However, while the feedback was good, the format allowed teams to prepare for the weekend.
2023Embed from Getty Images
So, for the 2023 season, the Formula 1 Sprint format undergone changes to allow more action and less time to prepare:
- The Sprint will now feature only one practice session for Friday to allow teams to fine-tune the car’s setup for the weekend.
- Qualifying for Sunday’s Grand Prix remains in the afternoon session.
- The second practice is replaced by the Sprint Shootout. (A smaller sequence of the traditional qualifying session)
- Qualifying 1 is 18 minutes, Sprint Qualifying 1 is 12 minutes.
- Qualifying 2 is 15 minutes, Sprint Qualifying 2 is 10 minutes.
- Qualifying 3 is 12 minutes, Sprint Qualifying 3 is 8 minutes.
The results of the Sprint Shootout determine the grid for the Sprint Race in the afternoon.
- 100km Sprint takes place with teams using any set of tyres of their choosing.
- The usual 310k of the Grand Prix takes place on the Sunday.
For the new format, the results have created a lot more track action on Saturdays.
For 2024, the FIA are yet to confirm what track will play host to the Formula 1 Sprint weekend and if they require any changes.
Some drivers are insistent that the Sprint weekends require changes.
In Friday’s Press Conference before the start of the Brazilian Grand Prix, many drivers had some opinions on how the Sprint can be more exciting.
Drivers such as Carlos Sainz, Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton all have the same set of ideals.
All were in favour of a reverse grid.
So, Saturday’s Sprint Qualifying will reverse the grid for the Sprint race in the afternoon.
While some drivers are in favour of the idea, some need more action on Saturday with the incentive of having more points up for grabs.
As the Formula 1 Sprint format is still experimental and merely concrete, will we see the FIA bring new changes for 2024?
And will we see a reverse grid in the future?