F1 approves sprint races plan at three rounds in 2021

Formula 1 teams and the championship’s bosses have unanimously supported the plan for sprint qualifying trials this year, with the first event set for the British Grand Prix.

F1 approves sprint races plan at three rounds in 2021

Following a vote at the F1 Commission on Monday, the matter drew universal support from all parties.

Although the plan still needs formal approval by the FIA’s World Motor Sport Council before being put in the rule book, this should be a formality.

F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali welcomed the move, which he felt would deliver an added entertainment factor for fans.

“We are excited by this new opportunity that will bring our fans an even more engaging race weekend in 2021. Seeing the drivers battling it out over three days will be an amazing experience,” he said.

“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.”

For now F1 has not confirmed where the sprint races will be, merely stating that there will be two in Europe and one at a flyaway event.

However, it is understood that the first two sprint trials will take place at Silverstone and Monza. A final decision on the flyaway, which has long been expected to be Brazil, will be taken nearer the time.

Start action, Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes F1 W11 leads

Start action, Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes F1 W11 leads

Photo by: Charles Coates / Motorsport Images

FIA president Jean Todt believed the go-ahead for the sprint race trials was evidence of the collective power F1 has when organisers and the teams work together.

“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,” Todt said.

How the sprint race format will work

The idea is to run a Saturday 100km sprint qualifying race at three grands prix this year.

The result of this race will decide the grid for Sunday’s main event, as well as offering a small number of points (3-2-1) for the top three finishers. The weekend timetable will be as follows.

Friday:

AM: One hour FP1 session with two sets of tyres for teams to choose from.

PM: Normal qualifying format in the afternoon with five soft tyre sets available.

Saturday:

AM: One hour FP2 session with one set of tyres for teams to choose from.

PM: A 100km sprint qualifying race in the afternoon with two sets of tyres for teams to choose from.

Sunday:

PM: Full distance grand prix with two remaining sets of tyres.

In the event of wet conditions:

  • Three sets of wet tyres and four sets of intermediate tyres will be available at the start of the event.
  • If FP1 or qualifying is wet, teams will receive an additional set of intermediates but must return a used intermediate set prior to the sprint race.
  • If the sprint qualifying is wet, teams may return one set of used wet or intermediates after – which will then be replaced with a new set of intermediates.
  • There will be a maximum of nine sets of wets and intermediates in total.

New parc ferme rules

In a bid to keep costs down and prevent teams from building special qualifying cars on Friday, F1 will change the parc ferme regulations.

After the start of sprint qualifying, cars will be in full parc ferme. However, between Friday’s qualifying session and the start of the sprint race, some limited changes will be allowed.

A small number of components (to be confirmed) can be swapped out and the weight distribution of the car may be altered. The power unit and gearbox cooling may also be adjusted for ambient conditions if there is a 10-degrees Centigrade swing between Friday’s qualifying session and Saturday’s sprint race.

shares
comments

Related video

AlphaTauri's strong start to F1 2021 won't change '22 switch plans

Previous article

AlphaTauri's strong start to F1 2021 won't change '22 switch plans

Next article

F1 young driver programmes: Which drivers are signed to which teams?

F1 young driver programmes: Which drivers are signed to which teams?
Load comments

About this article

Series Formula 1
Author Jonathan Noble
How F1’s street track return can offer Verstappen redemption Plus

How F1’s street track return can offer Verstappen redemption

Red Bull has failed to capitalise on having the best car in the opening rounds. BEN EDWARDS thinks change is around the corner

The AlphaTauri improvements that mean Gasly’s form is no fluke Plus

The AlphaTauri improvements that mean Gasly’s form is no fluke

Pierre Gasly has driven superbly since demotion from Red Bull in 2019, but the team formerly known as Toro Rosso has come on strong too – building a car that can often challenge Ferrari and McLaren. Here Gasly reveals to ALEX KALINAUCKAS how AlphaTauri has given him the tools needed to rebuild his reputation

Formula 1
May 17, 2021
Why Bottas feels the time has come to be “more selfish” Plus

Why Bottas feels the time has come to be “more selfish”

We’ve seen five distinct versions of Valtteri Bottas at Mercedes as he’s tried to fulfil his own ambitions while being a consummate team player – two difficult, competing missions which have been challenging to reconcile. Speaking exclusively to STUART CODLING, Bottas explains his highs and lows… and why he still believes he can be world champion

Formula 1
May 15, 2021
Does Aston have a case in F1 2021’s big technical row? Plus

Does Aston have a case in F1 2021’s big technical row?

Aston Martin claims Formula 1’s latest technical tweaks have cost it competitiveness – and that it’s the innocent victim of a regulatory stitch-up aimed at pegging back Mercedes. But is any of this actually true? It depends on who you ask, says STUART CODLING

Formula 1
May 14, 2021
How long can F1 2021's brewing title battle stay clean? Plus

How long can F1 2021's brewing title battle stay clean?

Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen have been evenly matched so far in the 2021 Formula 1 title race. Neither has been afraid to get aggressive against each other on track, teeing up an enthralling contest as the year unwinds. But is their rivalry destined to end in broken shards of carbon fibre?

Formula 1
May 13, 2021
What the Spain result tells F1 about the next phase of the Mercedes/Red Bull title fight Plus

What the Spain result tells F1 about the next phase of the Mercedes/Red Bull title fight

OPINION: Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes have recovered from their pre-season woes to take three wins from the opening four races of 2021. But each time Red Bull and Max Verstappen have pushed them hard. So, what clues did the latest round of that battle – the Spanish Grand Prix – tease about the next stage of the season?

Formula 1
May 12, 2021
How Brabham’s one-hit wonder was boxed into a corner Plus

How Brabham’s one-hit wonder was boxed into a corner

The Brabham BT46B raced once, won once, then vanished – or did it? STUART CODLING reveals the story of the car which was never actually banned…

Formula 1
May 11, 2021
The changes Barcelona needs to provide a modern-day F1 spectacle Plus

The changes Barcelona needs to provide a modern-day F1 spectacle

Formula 1’s visits to Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya over recent years have been met with familiar criticisms despite tweaks here and there to the track to improve racing. With the 2021 Spanish Grand Prix largely going the same way, proper solutions need to be followed to achieve F1’s wider targets

Formula 1
May 10, 2021