What is the F1 sprint race to be held in Silverstone and select other venues this season, and how does it impact the starting grid on Sunday?
Sprint races are a regular feature in Formula 2, and now looks set to make its debut in F1. This after F1 and FIA released a joint statement confirming the same. Furthermore, Stefano Domenicali has confirmed Silverstone as one of the three venues for the ‘special race’ this season.
“All teams recognized the major importance of engaging fans in new and innovative ways to ensure an even more exciting weekend format. There was, therefore, broad support from all parties for a new qualifying format at some races, and a working group has been tasked with creating a complete plan.”
— RaceFans (@racefansdotnet) March 12, 2021
What is the proposed F1 sprint race?
The sprint races will take place on Saturday, with each lasting for 30 minutes. Points would be on offer, though the details of it are yet to be revealed. Crucially, the order of finish in the sprint race would set the grid for Sunday’s main traditional Grand Prix.
For these three Grand Prix weekends, the qualifying would move back to Friday. And instead of deciding the order for Sunday, the qualifying will now decide the starting order for Saturday’s sprint race. This has received the broad support of all the teams, compared to previous proposals in 2019 and 2020.
Mercedes have dominated the sport for too long now, and the hope is that the sprint races, the budget caps, and the new regulations will open up the field and stop the German giants’ unprecedented dominance.