The FIA and Formula One announced on Monday plans to introduce a new Sprint Qualifying format over the course of three Grand Prix weekends during the 2021 FIA Formula One world championship. In a joint statement released on Monday afternoon, the FIA and Formula One said:
The FIA Formula 1 Commission has today, 26th April 2021, unanimously approved the adoption of a Sprint Qualifying at three Grands Prix during the 2021 FIA Formula One World Championship. These events will be held at two European and one non-European venue. The format is designed to increase the on-track action and engage fans in new and innovative way. It also strikes the right balance of rewarding drivers and teams on merit while also giving others the chance to battle their way through the field on Saturday to increase their race chances on Sunday. On the Friday there will be a qualifying session after the First Free Practice that will determine the grid for the Sprint Qualifying on Saturday.
The results of Saturday’s Sprint Qualifying will determine the grid for Sunday’s race. It has been decided that the top three finishers in Saturday’s Sprint Qualifying will receive points, with first place receiving three points, second place two points and third place one point.
- 60-minute First Practice in the morning with two sets of tyres for teams to choose freely.
- Normal Qualifying format in the afternoon with five soft tyre sets available only.
- 60-minute Second Free Practice in the morning with one set of tyres for teams to choose freely.
- 100km Sprint Qualifying in the afternoon with two sets of tyres for teams to choose freely.
- Full distance Grand Prix with two remaining sets of tyres In the event of wet conditions:
- Three sets of Wet and four sets of Intermediate tyres at the start of the event
- If FP1 or Qualifying is wet, teams to receive an additional set of Intermediates but must return a used Intermediate set prior to Sprint Qualifying.
- If the Sprint Qualifying wet, teams may return 1 set of used Wet or Intermediates after – to be replaced with a new set of Intermediates.
- Maximum of 9 sets of Wets and Intermediates in total Parc Fermé conditions:
Parc Fermé conditions will apply from the start of Qualifying on Friday, forbidding the changing of major components with three objectives:
- To stop the construction of special Qualifying cars.
- To limit the number of hours required for preparing the car for the following day.
- To allow enough reconfiguration of the cars to make Saturday morning Free Practice a useful session.
After the start of Sprint Qualifying, cars will be in full Parc Fermé. A limited number of components will be able to be changed after Qualifying:
- Weight distribution may be altered.
- Power Unit and gearbox cooling may be adjusted by altering the engine cover outlets or louvres providing the declared ambient temperatures recorded by the FIA appointed weather service provider one hour before the start of Qualifying and one hour before the start of Sprint Qualifying varies by 10 degrees Centigrade or more.
Jean Todt, President of the FIA, said:
“I am pleased to see that Formula 1 is seeking new ways to engage with its fans and enlarge the spectacle of a race weekend through the concept of Sprint Qualifying. It was made possible thanks to the continued collaboration between the FIA, Formula 1, and all of the teams. F1 is showing itself to be stronger than ever with all stakeholders working together in this way, and much has been done to ensure that the Sporting, Technical and Financial aspects of the format are fair.”
Stefano Domenicali, President and CEO of Formula 1, said:
“We are excited by this new opportunity that will bring our fans an even more engaging race weekend in 2021. Seeing the drivers battling it out over three days will be an amazing experience and I am sure the drivers will relish the fight. I am delighted that all the teams supported this plan, and it is a testament to our united efforts to continue to engage our fans in new ways while ensuring we remain committed to the heritage and meritocracy of our sport.”