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Formula 1

F1 sprint race: what is it, how does it work, points and qualifying format?

This weekend’s Formula 1 Grand Prix in Austria brings to us the second Sprint Race of the season, with Max Verstappen at Pole position.

This weekend’s Formula 1 Grand Prix in Austria brings to us the second Sprint Race of the season, with Max Verstappen at Pole position.

Formula 1 Sprint Races are a part of the World Championship now, and they seem to be here to stay. Given the changes the format has undergone since the first of these events was held in Silverstone during the 2021 season, this year’s Sprint Races are going to be even more decisive by awarding more points to the top finishers. The Austrian Grand Prix will hold the second Sprint Race after Emilia Romagna did so back in April.

Sprint Race weekend format

Friday: the first day of the Grand Prix begins with a 60-minute Free Practice in the morning, as usual, but then the drivers go straight into qualifying, with less track experience than they usually do. The qualifying format is the same as always, three rounds with a final Q3 for the ten fastest drivers, which determines the starting order for Saturday’s Sprint Race. After last year’s controversy, the fastest driver in this qualifying will be considered the Pole man, instead of the title being awarded to the Sprint Race winner.

Saturday: the Sprint Race day begins with another one-hour Free Practice in the morning, before heading into the new event. This year’s Sprint Races will be a 100kms dash, between 25 and 30 minutes in all, where no pit-stops will be needed. Each driver and team can decide their own starting tyres between two options.

Sunday: the grand day of the Grand Prix with the classical full-length race in which drivers will need to pit at least once to ensure they use two or more sets of tyres. The starting grid order will be determined by the result of Saturday’s Sprint Race.

How many points does the Sprint Race award?

This year Sprint Races have improved last year’s format, deciding to award points to the top eight finishers, instead of just the podium finishers like last season. Red Bull’s Verstappen won the first Sprint Race this year in Italy, ahead of Ferrari’s Leclerc and his teammate Pérez. Apart from a more favorable position on Sunday, these are the rewards for the top finishers of the Sprint Race:

First: 8 points

Second: 7 Points

Third: 6 points

Fourth: 5 points

Fifth: 4 points

Sixth: 3 points

Seventh: 2 points

Eight: 1 point

After the Austrian Grand Prix, the 11th race of the season, the Sprint Race format will reappear one more time in Brazil in November.


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