We’re back with an F1ntastic News Roundup! This roundup features all of the news we have so far about the new Sprint Qualifying format. There is a brand new weekend format!. It features a new ‘Sprint Qualifying’ race, which will be run over a 100km distance. This race is a sprint race where teams don’t have to pit, but it does have DRS and a grid start like a normal race. The finishing order of the Sprint Quali race will determine the grid order of the main race. The main race will take place, as usual, on a Sunday afternoon, and will run the full distance of the race.
Formula 1, the FIA, and all 10 teams reached a unanimous agreement to go ahead with Sprint Qualifying. It’s a sign of great unity, and it also means that Sprint Qualifying is something you don’t wanna miss! The possibility of a sprint race has been there since February, and now we’ve finally got the confirmation. Formula 2 and F3 have sprint races, which have inspired F1 to try and follow a similar approach.
There’s a clear reason behind F1 adding Sprint Qualifying. A Sprint Race clearly means that the F1 weekend weekend is even more exciting and unpredictable. F1 have been trying for a while to make some exciting and new changes to the sport, and they’ve finally found something. They’ve found a way to add a major excitement to every single day of the race weekend, which can be really beneficial for F1.
So, there are a lot more things to cover about Sprint Quali, and we’ll do it in an organized and understandable structure. This info will help you understand and enjoy Sprint Quali to the greatest extent. Without further ado, let’s get into the News Roundup!
Sprint Qualifying – Details About The Sprint Race Itself
Sprint Races have featured all over motorsports before. The most known motorsports that have Sprint Races are Formula 2 and Formula 3, which is where F1 might’ve gotten some inspiration.
The name ‘Sprint Qualifying’ isn’t the greatest name, because it can be quite confusing. The reason behind the name being Sprint Qualifying is because the finishing order of this race determines the starting order of the main race. I would’ve called it a simple Sprint Race, or Sprint Race Qualifying because that’s what it is. It’s a 100km sprint race. The race will be around a third of the distance and duration of a normal Grand Prix since a normal GP runs over 305 kilometres.
A Grand Prix is around 50-60 laps long, meaning that a Sprint Race would be around 15-20 laps long. In terms of the time duration of a race, a Sprint Race is expected to be around half an hour long. Since this race is so short, drivers will be aiming to give it everything. At the same time, the drivers will want to keep in mind that they mustn’t damage the car before the actual Grand Prix the next day. Tire management will also be key because the Sprint Race doesn’t have any mandatory pitstops.
NOTE: I’ll talk a little bit more about the tire regulations later on in this post
Some features of a Grand Prix are the famous national anthem before the race and the iconic podium ceremony. There are the classic trophies that are unique for every race that is presented to the podium finishers. One of the greatest thing about this Sprint Quali is that F1 is not taking away those special features from the Grand Prix. The Sprint race won’t have the national anthem and the podium ceremony. The Top 3 Sprint Quali finishers will receive trophies in Parc Ferme, like the way the polesitter in normal qualifying receives a Pirelli Tire in Parc Ferme.
In the Sprint Quali, the winner will earn 3 points, 2nd will earn 2, and 3rd will earn 1 point. The constructor’s points will be as usual; they will get the points that their drivers earned added together. If a team gets a double-podium in Sprint Quali, they may earn a small advantage.
Finally, the grid setting before the race will not be as grand as a GP. The media and guests are allowed, unlike in a normal GP, because of the COVID procedures. Let’s take a look now at how Sprint Quali brings a new weekend format.
How Sprint Qualifying Changes The Entire Weekend Format
Sprint Qualifying will take place on Saturday afternoon of the F1 weekend as normal qualifying would. You may think it has entirely replaced the normal qualifying session. Well, luckily, we’ll still get an exciting 3-part qualifying that we usually do. The caveat is that this will be on Friday afternoon. Many of you guys might not like this since you might not be able to watch qualifying on Friday. However, F1 is working towards making qualifying in the evening for the Sprint Quali weekends. The Friday qualifying session will determine the grid order for Sprint Qualifying.
That’s what I was talking about when I said that every day of the weekend will have a major highlight. Having the regular qualifying on Friday will attract attention on Friday. Having Sprint Quali on Saturday will attract extra attention. And then there’s the regular race on Sunday, which makes the entire weekend a memorable and exciting weekend. It wouldn’t have been the same without Sprint Quali.
The normal 3-part qualifying is going to replace Free Practice 2, and Free Practice 2 is going to replace Free Practice 3 on Saturday. Free Practice 1 will take place as usual on Friday morning. To simplify it and to help you understand how the weekend now works, we’ve made an image that you can check out above.
The Tire and Parc Fermé Regulations For Sprint Quali Weekends
The Tire Regulations
Please note that the tire regulations are for each and every driver, i.e. when I say that teams have 12 sets of tires, they have 12 sets of tires for each driver. Also, a set of tires means a set of 4 tires that will be used together on a car.
Sprint Qualifying changes the whole weekend format, which means the FIA have had to reconsider the Parc Ferme rules, while Pirelli has to change the tire regulations. First, we’ll look at the tire regulations. Pirelli has given the teams much more choice and leniency for tire compounds on Sprint Quali race weekends. On the Friday Practice Session (Practice 1), each team can use only two sets of tires. The teams can use any 2 of the 12 given sets of tires. Usually, teams have 13 sets of tires, but since there is less running in Sprint Quali weekends, teams will lose a set of tires.
For Qualifying on Friday, teams will have 5 sets of softs. Previously (on normal weekends), teams had 4 sets of tires; 3 softs and 1 medium set. Now, on Sprint Quali Weekends, teams have 5 sets of tires, and they are all soft tires. For Practice 2 on Saturday, teams will have just one set of tires. The teams can decide which compound of tires they want, but they only get one set. The same applies for Sprint Quali; the teams get one compound, and they decide which one.
Finally, we come to the Grand Prix. The tire regulations for the main race are simple; the teams get 2 sets of tires, and they can choose which compound they want to start the race on. This is VERY significant, because in normal weekends, the drivers who start in the Top 10 must start the race on the tire they set their time on in Q2. Since the Quali for the GP is the Sprint Quali, the tire situation is very different, and it gives the teams much more leeway in terms of strategy. This change adds more excitement for the strategies in the race, but it does take away that excitement of the strategy in qualifying.
In terms of wet tires, the teams will get 3 sets of full wet tires, and 4 sets of intermediate tires. If FP1 or Qualifying is wet, then teams will get an extra set of intermediate tires, but they must return a set of used intermediates before Sprint Qualifying. If Sprint Quali is wet, the teams must return a set of used wet or inter tires to Pirelli, and then Pirelli will give them a new set of inters. Teams will get a maximum of 9 wet-weather tire sets in the whole weekend.
The Parc Fermé Regulations For Sprint Quali Weekends
Parc Ferme is French for Closed Park. The parc ferme rules are rules that don’t allow teams to make changes to major components from the beginning of qualifying to the end of the race. The FIA doesn’t want teams to make the cars super fast for qualifying, and then change it for the race. The FIA also wants to reduce the hours of work the teams put in for preparing the car for the race after qualifying.
Because Qualifying will now be on Friday, and there is a practice session on Saturday morning, the FIA has been more lenient. They have allowed more car reconfiguration so that the teams can make more use of FP2. The exact changes allowed are yet to be confirmed.
For the sake of safety, teams can change brake friction material. However, the new set has to be identical to the set that the car had in qualifying and sprint qualifying ahead of the Grand Prix. Teams can change brake ducts as well for Safety reasons. It is important to make sure that the brakes don’t fail at any point. Power unit and gearbox cooling systems can also be adjusted if the temperature changes by over 10 Degrees Celsius. Weight distribution and suspension elements can also be changed.
Lastly, one of the most major changes is about the front wing. If in Sprint Qualifying, a driver damages their front wing, the team would normally just replace it with a spare front wing of the same specification. But, it is possible that the team has run out of front wings of the latest specification. So then, they can use a front wing of a previous specification, a specification that probably won’t have the same upgrades like the latest spec. Usually, if teams did this, the FIA would give them a penalty. However, because of Sprint Quali, no penalties would be applied.
Which Races Will Have Sprint Quali in 2020?
Since this announcement has come after the 2021 season has begun, F1 is going to incorporate Sprint Quali at 3 race weekends in 2021. 2 of them will be European races and 1 non-European race. Most likely, the British and Italian GPs will be the European hosts. Their layouts are looking to be the best suited for a Sprint Quali. In fact, F1 has already confirmed the British Grand Prix is one of the European hosts. Italy is looking to be the other European host, so which non-European race is hosting Sprint Quali? The most probable answer is Brazil.
The Brazilian Grand Prix is looking to be the non-European race to trial Sprint Quali in 2021. I think that that’s the perfect race; what do you guys think? I actually would’ve loved to see a Sprint Quali weekend at the newly announced Turkish GP. Let me know what you guys think in the comments below!
If Sprint Quali is successful, then it is likely that more weekends will see it in 2022. It won’t be there at all of the weekends, because that would be too much. It would be overkill, and it may become boring and drive fans away. Some weekends like Monaco would do horribly with Sprint Quali. So you guys can expect to see more of Sprint Quali IF it is successful.
Hope you guys liked this news roundup! Now when we do arrive at the British GP and see Sprint Qualifying in action, you can understand and enjoy it completely. Stay safe, stay on the lookout for new posts, and enjoy F1ntastic!