Alright, buckle up, and let’s dive into the world of Formula 1 Sprints! Whether you’re a die-hard racing fan or just casually curious about what all the hype is about, I’ve got the scoop on how these zippy events work.
So, back in 2021, the Sprint weekend burst onto the scene at the British Grand Prix. The idea was simple yet genius: let’s have action-packed racing on all three days of the event. Who needs a nap when you’ve got adrenaline pumping through your veins, right?
Why did F1 introduce sprints?
Formula 1 is going the extra mile to make sure you’re not left out of the global racing extravaganza, no matter where you find yourself on this beautiful planet.
The F1 Sprint is their way of giving fans exactly what they want—more races, more thrills! They heard the roar of the crowd, and they delivered.
How does it work?
An F1 Sprint, a bite-sized racing extravaganza, clocking in at around 100km or 62 miles. That’s like compressing a regular race’s adrenaline-pumping action into a concentrated burst of speed.
And here’s the kicker: pit stops are not a mandatory pitfall! That means these daredevil drivers must push their cars to the limit without the luxury of pit stops to fix hiccups. It’s a high-stakes gamble where strategy and tire management play a vital role.
Changes over the years
Sprint has been rocking the grid since 2021. Back then, there were only three venues bold enough to host these lightning-fast sprints.
On Friday, we had the good old qualifying session that set the stage for the main event on Sunday, and on Saturday, we had a shorter, snappier race known as the ‘sprint qualifying session.’ Sprint qualifying awarded points from 3 to 1 to the top three finishers and established the grid for Sunday’s grand prix.
In 2022, the points system decided to do a little makeover and crank up the excitement level by awarding points to the top eight drivers.
The driver who zooms to victory and claims the coveted P1 spot would now bag a whopping eight points. The points gradually slide down the scale, with eighth place earning a respectable one point.
Oh, and let’s not forget, these points are not just a treat for the drivers but also for the constructors’ championships.
Changes in 2023
In 2023 the number of sprint races is doubled, with six races across the globe. Also, changes have been made, with race weekends that include sprint races now featuring a change in format. Basically, there will be two completely separate races in one week.
Sprint Saturday ✨
🗓️ All-new weekend format
🔒Sunday’s Grand Prix unaffected
⏱️ Friday’s qualifying sets Sunday’s grid
🆕 New Sprint Shootout qualifying session on Saturday that set’s the Sprint Grid
Sprint Saturdays in 2023
We’ve got six events on the calendar this year, doubling the fun from the past two years. Azerbaijan kicked off the party in late April, and Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc stole the show, taking pole position and victory in the Sprint.
Azerbaijan brought something extra special to the table. It was the first time ever that a Sprint was held on a street circuit instead of a permanent course.
But the fun doesn’t stop there! We’ve got five more events coming your way.
First up, Austria this weekend at the Red Bull Ring. Then, we’ll be revving our engines at Belgium’s iconic Spa-Francorchamps. The fourth Sprint of the season will zoom off at the ultra-fast Lusail International Circuit in Qatar, a track making a comeback after a FIFA World Cup hiatus.
Then, the Circuit of the Americas in Texas will host a Sprint, and the year’s final showdown will take place at Interlagos in Brazil. That means Brazil’s track will be the only one to have hosted a Sprint in all three years since its inception.
Now, let’s shift gears and take a quick look at the winners from previous Sprints in 2021 and 2022.
The man, the myth, the double world champion, Max Verstappen, dominated the Sprint scene, winning three out of six races. He kicked things off with a bang at Silverstone in 2021 and followed it up with triumphs at Imola and Austria.
Valtteri Bottas, the Finnish speedster, also left his mark on the Sprints, bagging two wins at Monza and Interlagos in 2021.
But let’s not forget about George Russell, the rising star who made a name for himself in Brazil last year. He not only won the Sprint but also took home his first-ever Grand Prix victory the next day. – Source