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F1 sprint races in 2024: How does it work and when is it happening?

Here’s how the Formula 1 sprint races will work in 2024 after their introduction in 2021.

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB19, Charles Leclerc, Ferrari SF-23, Lando Norris, McLaren MCL60, Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes F1 W14, Carlos Sainz, Ferrari SF-23, Oscar Piastri, McLaren MCL60, the rest of the field at the start of the Sprint race

Photo by: Steve Etherington / Motorsport Images

F1 sprint races are now in their fourth year on the calendar and changes have been made to the format for 2024. The Chinese Grand Prix will host the first sprint race of 2024 with five other venues using the format.   

Here’s what you need to know about the F1 sprint race. 

What is a sprint race and why are they in F1? 

Sprint races were introduced to F1 in 2021 as a way to spice up the action and provide a new format to contrast the traditional grand prix weekend schedule. They were also created to ensure a competitive session took place on each day of the race weekend: qualifying on Friday, sprint on Saturday and grand prix on Sunday.   

A sprint race is a shortened version of a normal race as it takes place over a distance of 100km, whereas a grand prix is over 305km. Sprint races are present in many other series including MotoGP, who use the format for every round and not just selected weekends.

Here’s our guide on F1 sprints when they were first introduced in 2021.

What has changed to the F1 sprint race for 2024? 

The 2024 season has marked the latest changes to the F1 sprint race format. Friday will feature a practice session like always, but now it will also have qualifying for the sprint race ahead of the event on Saturday morning. Saturday afternoon will now have qualifying for the grand prix, with the main race taking place on Sunday as per usual. 

This has changed from 2023 where grand prix qualifying would follow Friday practice with Saturday acting as a standalone day dedicated for the sprint. 

That format prompted complaints regarding parc ferme conditions though, as cars were effectively forced into using the same set-up throughout a weekend after just one practice session on Friday. However, the change means there are two parc ferme conditions, with it reopening between the sprint race and grand prix qualifying.  

Other than that, it remains the same with sprint races staying at 100km in length, points being awarded to the top eight finishers, while its qualifying is still in three parts. 

  F1 sprint race weekend in 2023 F1 sprint race weekend in 2024
Friday morning  60-minute Free Practice 1  60-minute Free Practice 1 
Friday afternoon Regular qualifying to order the starting grid for the grand prix   Sprint qualifying to order the starting grid for the sprint race  
Saturday morning Sprint qualifying to order the starting grid for the sprint race   Sprint race – top eight scoring points  
Saturday afternoon Sprint race – top eight scoring points   Regular qualifying to order the starting grid for the grand prix  
Sunday Full grand prix race – top 10 scoring points plus the fastest lap bonus point  Full grand prix race – top 10 scoring points plus the fastest lap bonus point 
Oscar Piastri, McLaren, 1st position, celebrates with his team after winning the Sprint race

Oscar Piastri, McLaren, 1st position, celebrates with his team after winning the Sprint race

Photo by: Steven Tee / Motorsport Images

How will F1 sprint qualifying work in 2024? 

Sprint qualifying is held on Friday afternoons and effectively replaces a practice session. It is shorter than regular qualifying and has different rules.  

SQ1 is 12 minutes, SQ2 10 minutes and SQ3 eight minutes with each segment split by seven-minute breaks. New tyres are mandatory for each phase of qualifying: medium tyres for SQ1 and SQ2, soft tyres for SQ3. New sets for each segment are required because teams won’t have time to go for multiple runs in qualifying and therefore won’t be able to pit for fresh tyres during every session.

But the general rules remain the same as regular qualifying with the bottom five dropping out in SQ1 and then again in SQ2 with the top 10 fighting it out in SQ3. 

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing, 2nd position and 2023 drivers world champion, celebrates on arrival in Parc Ferme after the Sprint race

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing, 2nd position and 2023 drivers world champion, celebrates on arrival in Parc Ferme after the Sprint race

Photo by: Sam Bloxham / Motorsport Images

 

How will grid penalties work in 2024 F1 sprint race weekends? 

Grid penalties picked up prior to the race weekend, during Friday’s practice or Saturday’s qualifying are applied to the grand prix on Sunday. Grid penalties picked up during Friday’s sprint race qualifying are applied to Saturday’s sprint race and not the grand prix. 

A grid penalty gained from an incident in F1’s sprint race is applied to Sunday’s grand prix, while any parc ferme breach results in pitlane starts for either the sprint race or grand prix - it depends when the breach was made, i.e., under parc ferme for the sprint or grand prix. 

Grid penalties for power unit changes will only apply to the grand prix.  

F1 sprint race weekends in 2024

In 2023 F1 doubled the amount of sprint races going from three to six, which were held in Azerbaijan, Austria, Belgium, Qatar, the United States and Brazil. The 2024 F1 season will again feature six sprint race weekends but with the addition of two venues: Shanghai and Miami.

Date Race Circuit
19 - 21 April Chinese Grand Prix Shanghai International Circuit
3 - 5 May Miami Grand Prix Miami Autodrome
28 - 30 June Austrian Grand Prix Red Bull Ring
18 - 20 October United States Grand Prix Circuit of the Americas
1 - 3 November Brazilian Grand Prix Interlagos
29 November - 1 December Qatar Grand Prix Losail

F1 sprint race times in 2024

Date Race UK time Local time
20 April Chinese Grand Prix 4am 11am
4 May Miami Grand Prix 5pm 12pm
29 June Austrian Grand Prix 11am 12pm
19 October United States Grand Prix 7pm 1pm
2 November Brazilian Grand Prix 2pm 11am
30 November Qatar Grand Prix 1pm 4pm

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