F1 Sprint races have been adopted for a few seasons now, with 2023 adding more to the calendar despite some pushback. Here, we explain how F1 sprint races work and where we will see them in the 2023 season.
Ever since Bernie Ecclestone passed on ownership of Formula 1, the new bosses have looked at ways to bring more exciting racing to the sport.
One of the efforts implemented by Liberty Media, the current owners, is implementing sprint race weekends into a number of races - something that has divided fans for multiple reasons.
With that being said, we’re here to bring you all the details of what a sprint race in F1 is, how they work, and which race weekends in 2023 will use the different format.
What is a sprint race in F1?
The sprint race format was adopted in the 2021 season and sees the traditional format shifted to one that promotes more entertainment throughout the whole weekend.
The sprint race is a shorter version of the full race on Sunday. It is a flat-out dash from lights out to the chequered flag with no mandatory pit stops.
With the sprint race coming on Saturday, the finish positions of the drivers will determine the grid positions for Sunday’s full race.
Points are also awarded for the sprint race, with the top eight finishers scoring what could be some very valuable points. Here is how the points are broken down:
- 1st Place - 8 points
- 2nd Place - 7 points
- 3rd Place - 6 points
- 4th Place - 5 points
- 5th Place - 4 points
- 6th Place - 3 points
- 7th Place - 2 points
- 8th Place - 1 point
How do F1 Sprint races work?
A normal race weekend is structured as such:
- Friday - Two 60-minute practice sessions
- Saturday - One 60-minute practice session in the morning, qualifying in the afternoon
- Sunday - Race day
The thing with the classic weekend setup is that the Friday sessions are a bit of nothing - no one really tunes in for them, and there’s nothing at stake. As mentioned earlier, the point of a sprint race weekend is to change that.
It doesn’t completely eliminate the classic qualifying session, though, as on the Friday, instead of two practice sessions there is just one in the morning. Then in the morning is the qualifying session to determine the start positions for Saturday’s sprint race.
A sprint race weekend is then structured as such:
- Friday - One 60-minute practice session in the morning, qualifying for the sprint race in the afternoon
- Saturday - One 60-minute practice session in the morning, sprint race in the afternoon
- Sunday - Race day
How long is an F1 sprint race?
An F1 sprint race is a 100km dash, which is roughly 33% of the race distance on Sunday and lasts around 25-30 minutes.
There are no mandatory pit stops to change tires for drivers. Essentially, the only reason why any driver would need to pit is due to damage if they were involved in a collision with another driver but were able to continue racing.
All drivers will be fitted with the soft tires - the softest compound tire available, which provides the most speed while being the least durable, which isn’t as much of an issue in the sprint race and means every driver can push as hard as they possibly can.
Which F1 races have sprint qualifying?
For 2023, the F1 bosses decided to increase the number of sprint race weekends in the season from three to six. The six race weekends in the 2023 F1 season will be:
- Baku City Grand Prix (28th-30th April)
- Austrian Grand Prix (30th June-2nd July)
- Belgian Grand Prix (28th-30th July)
- Qatar Grand Prix (6th-8th October)
- Austin Grand Prix (20th-22nd October)
- Brazilian Grand Prix (3rd-5th November)
Only Interlagos at the Brazilian Grand Prix has played host to a sprint race all three years since the format's introduction, while the Red Bull Ring of the Austrian GP will host for its second year running.
The first trial of sprint races in the 2021 season saw the British Grand Prix and the Monza Grand Prix hosted alongside Interlagos. In 2022, the Italian Grand Prix at Imola joined Austria and Brazil in hosting sprint race weekends.
When is the next F1 sprint race?
The first sprint race weekend of the season will be in the streets of Azerbaijan’s capital Baku for the Baku City Grand Prix.
As one of the most popular races and tracks on the calendar, the Baku City Circuit has provided plenty of exciting races since its debut in 2016. Adding the thrill of a sprint race weekend is sure to add even more entertainment and spectacle!
You can experience the race in person in the grandest way possible with a premium Baku City Grand Prix hospitality package, providing you with an absolutely unforgettable race weekend.
Be sure to book your Baku City Grand Prix hospitality package or premium ticket now to secure your place at this year's race!Buy Baku City Grand Prix premium packages
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