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Formula 1 Emilia Romagna GP

F1’s Sprint Race: When are they and what’s changed for 2022?

Formula 1's sprint races make a return in 2022, but with some changes compared to 2021. Find out what those changes are and everything you need to know here.

Yuki Tsunoda, AlphaTauri AT03

F1 hosts its first sprint race of 2022 during the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix at Imola following the format’s introduction at three rounds in the 2021 season at Silverstone, Monza and Interlagos.

Following a review of sprint race, changes have been made covering a wide range of issues to help improve the format both for fans and teams as F1 continues to experiment with the new format.

Here’s an explanation on the current F1 sprint race format and what is new for 2022.

What is a sprint race?

A sprint race is essentially a shortened version of a normal race, taking place over a shorter distance. They’re used in many other series, though perhaps most notably for Formula 1 is their inclusion in the Formula 2 race weekend. In F2 the sprint race is 120km and the feature race covers 170km, though are usually no less exciting.

F1 has introduced sprint races to ramp up the excitement of the whole race weekend, providing fans with a competitive session on each of the three days of track action (with qualifying moved to Friday afternoon) and it is hoped to make it an overall better experience. F1 has long been looking to make changes to the traditional race weekend format and while other options like reverse grid races were considered, they were ultimately unfancied compared to sprint races.

Each sprint race will be run over 100km (down from the normal race distance of 305km), and will take around 25-30 minutes. The starting order for the sprint race will be decided by a traditional qualifying session held on Friday afternoon.

Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes, 1st position, with his winners medal after Sprint Qualifying

Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes, 1st position, with his winners medal after Sprint Qualifying

Photo by: Jerry Andre / Motorsport Images

What’s changing for 2022?

Following F1’s review and analysis of the sprint format at three events last year, a number of tweaks have been introduced for this season following feedback from fans and teams.

Venues

Imola, the Red Bull Ring and Interlagos will host the three sprint races in 2022 after Silverstone, Monza and Interlagos held the inaugural trio last year.

F1 had targeted running six F1 sprint race weekends in 2022, with the other three at Bahrain, Canada and the Netherlands GPs, but this plan was dropped as part of a compromise over the level of compensation for accident damage potentially picked up in the sprint races by teams.

Points

The points on offer in each F1 sprint race has increased from last year. The winner will now pick up eight points, rather than three, with points extending down to eighth place when previously it had been only the top three who picked up points. The points will apply to both the F1 world drivers’ and constructors’ championships.

Points will be awarded as follows: 1st 8 points, 2nd 7 points, 3rd 6 points, 4th 5 points, 5th 4 points, 6th 3 points, 7th 2 points, 8th 1 point.

Like last year the finishing order in the F1 sprint race will decide the grid for the grand prix, with any grid penalties applied after the sprint.

Zhou Guanyu, Alfa Romeo C42

Zhou Guanyu, Alfa Romeo C42

Photo by: Alfa Romeo

Pole position

This year the driver who sets the fastest time in Q3 of qualifying on Friday night will be given the pole position status for the grand prix regardless of their finishing position in the sprint race on Saturday.

This means the driver who wins the sprint race won’t necessarily be credited with the pole position for the grand prix even if they start the Sunday race from first place.

For example, if Friday’s top qualifier finished in second place in the sprint race, and the driver who qualified second won the sprint race, the Friday’s top qualifier would still be credited with pole position despite starting the grand prix from second place behind the sprint race winner in first place.

Team costs

A major sticking point for the 2022 sprint races was the cost cap, with a compromise agreed to increase teams’ budget as well as reducing the number of sprint races down from six to three for this season.

According to F1 regulations, each team will be permitted to spend $150,000 more per sprint race, with an added $100,000 allowed if one of the team’s cars retires from the sprint. An extra adjustment to the cost cap can be made to cover crash damage if it leads to the retirement of a team’s car.

Sprint name

The name of the Saturday afternoon event has been officially changed from sprint qualifying to just the sprint.

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes W13, Sergio Perez, Red Bull Racing RB18

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes W13, Sergio Perez, Red Bull Racing RB18

Photo by: Steve Etherington / Motorsport Images

What’s the sprint race weekend format?

The sprint race weekend format will remain unchanged, with one 60-minute practice session before qualifying on Friday and then a second 60-minute practice session before the sprint race on Saturday. The Sunday grand prix also remains unchanged.

The sprint race weekend format:

Friday early afternoon – 60-minute Free Practice 1
Friday late afternoon – Q1, Q2, Q3 sessions to order the starting grid for the sprint race
Saturday morning – 60-minute Free Practice 2
Saturday afternoon – 100km sprint race qualifying
Sunday afternoon – Full grand prix

A regular F1 grand prix weekend format:

Friday early afternoon – 60-minute Free Practice 1
Friday late afternoon – 60-minute Free Practice 2
Saturday morning – 60-minute Free Practice 3
Saturday afternoon – Q1, Q2, Q3 sessions to order the starting grid for the grand prix
Sunday afternoon – Full grand prix

When will the sprint races be in 2022?

Three F1 sprint races will take place across the 2022 season, the same number as last year. As a result, Imola, the Red Bull Ring and Interlagos will host the F1 sprint races this year. Last year, Silverstone, Monza and Interlagos hosted the sprint races.

Venue

Grand Prix

When

Imola

Emilia Romagna GP

23rd April 2022

Red Bull Ring

Austrian GP

9th July 2022

Interlagos

Sao Paulo GP

12th November 2022

 

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