Sprint qualifying is something that F1 has been wanting to implement for quite some time already. Now, in the latest F1 news, it has been confirmed that three races out of the 2021 season will host this brand new idea of sprint qualifying!
So, what exactly is sprint qualifying and how is it different?
On a normal F1 weekend, there are two free practice sessions that run on a Friday, lasting for 60 minutes each. This is a chance for the racing drivers and teams to get to know the track, set up their cars for that specific race and make adjustments for the conditions.
On the Saturday morning, there is a third practice session that also runs for 60 minutes. This is the final practice session for the weekend. Thereafter, three qualifying sessions take place over the span of an hour, starting with Q1, Q2 then Q3. This then determines the grid position for the final race on the Sunday afternoon.
However, with the inclusion of sprint qualifying, the entire race weekend is changed...
With a weekend that hosts sprint qualifying, the Friday will start with free practice 1 for 60 minutes. Then, they go immediately into a 60 minute long qualifying, divided into three sessions, for the sprint race on Saturday.
Then, on the Saturday morning, there will be a second and final practice session, also for an hour. This is followed by the sprint race, which is essentially a shorter race over 100km. There will be no mandatory pitstops for the teams like in the main race. The starting grid for the main race on Sunday is determined by the results from this sprint race. What's quite interesting, is that the top three drivers are awarded points for their performance.
Then on the Sunday, the main race will take place as usual. This format has both doubters and those who are excited with the prospect of more racing through the entire weekend.
Take a look at the video below by the YouTube channel, Chain Bear, on What On Earth is Sprint Qualifying? And Why?
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