Formula 1 is set to introduce a new format for select Grand Prix events in 2023, known as the Sprint Qualifying Format. The new format has been designed to add excitement and unpredictability to the race weekends.
The Sprint involves a shorter sprint race on Saturday to set the starting grid for Sunday’s main race. On Friday, the qualifying session will determine the grid for the main Grand Prix.
The new format will have three sessions, with the bottom five cars eliminated at the end of the first two. However, the time allotted for these sessions will be reduced to 12, 10, and eight minutes, respectively, compared to the standard qualifying format, which lasts for 18, 15, and 12 minutes each.
In 2021, Drivers hesitated to take risks during the sprint race because mistakes or crashes would disproportionately impact their chances in the Grand Prix. Whether the new format will have a significant impact remains to be seen.
The top eight finishers in the sprint will continue to receive points, ranging from eight for first place to one for eighth. In addition, the new format will be used at all six of the sprint weekends this season, eliminating a Saturday practice session that was of little interest to fans as teams used race fuel loads.
While the Sprint Qualifying Format promises to add excitement and unpredictability to the race weekends, it can sometimes lead to a lack of overtaking opportunities in the main race. The format aims to create more opportunities for overtaking and excitement throughout the weekend. The specific races are to be announced closer to the start of the season.
However, not everyone is convinced that the new format will succeed. Some critics argue that the Sprint Qualifying Format could lead to more accidents and increased pressure on drivers, while others believe that the format could detract from the prestige of the main race.
Although some critics disagree, Formula 1 officials remain confident that the Sprint Qualifying Format will succeed. The format has been trialled at select races in 2021 and 2022, with drivers and teams generally positive about the new format. As the debut of the Sprint Qualifying Format draws nearer, we eagerly await the reactions of teams, drivers, and fans alike.