Return of the Sprint: Answering the questions surrounding the event

·2-min read

Formula One’s sprint format returns for a second season at this weekend’s Emilia Romagna Grand Prix.

Here, the PA news agency looks at the key questions surrounding the event.

What is the Sprint?

The shortened race takes place on Saturday afternoon and replaces traditional qualifying. The finishing order of the Sprint determines the grid for Sunday’s main event, the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix.

How long will it be?

The Sprint is one third distance of a traditional Grand Prix, or 62 miles. At Imola, that equates to 21 laps with the race set to take around 30 minutes.

How is the grid determined for the Sprint?

Qualifying will be brought forward from Saturday to Friday, replacing second practice. It will have a later start time of 5pm local (4pm UK) in a bid to generate a bigger television audience.

Max Verstappen won the first Sprint race which was staged at Silverstone last year
Max Verstappen won the first Sprint race which was staged at Silverstone last year (Tim Goode/PA)

Will pit stops be mandatory?

No. The premise of the Sprint is a flat-out dash to the finish line with a free choice of tyre compounds; soft, medium and hard.

Have any tweaks been made to the format this year?

Yes. Points will now be awarded to the top eight drivers, rather than just three, with the winner taking eight points. They will count towards both the drivers’ and constructors’ championships. Last year, the driver who won the Sprint was awarded pole position, but following a backlash from fans, the driver who sets the fastest lap in qualifying will take the accolade.

Will Silverstone host a sprint race again?

No. Austria’s Red Bull Ring and Interlagos in Brazil will be the venues for the other Sprint rounds. F1’s CEO Stefano Domenicali, and motorsport boss Ross Brawn wanted to double the number of shortened-format rounds from three to six but faced resistance from a number of the top-running teams. However, they are hopeful of holding a greater number of Sprint rounds in future seasons.

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