The second came at the Italian GP, with the third and final one of the season taking place his weekend at the Brazilian Grand Prix. The Sprint this weekend is set to take place at 7:30pm on Saturday night GMT.
F1 Brazilian Grand Prix sprint qualifying
This Saturday’s sprint race will be held on the same Interlagos layout as the full Grand Prix. It will be staged across 24 laps which equates to 103.4km (64.2 miles). The race will last around 30-45 minutes, as long as there are no safety car or red flag delays.
Will there be sprint race qualifying in 2022?
The signs are that Formula 1 will be getting more sprint races next season following the 2021 trials at the British, Italian and Brazilian Grands Prix. While unconfirmed at the moment, there could be as many as seven Sprint weekends next year.
“I’m very pleased with F1’s first Sprint weekend,” Stefano Domenicali said. “Our belief was that it would add more engagement for fans across three days – and it definitely did. I don’t see how it did anything other than enhance the race weekend.
“We’ll go away and reflect on the format in the next week or two. I’m sure there will be things we can pick up with teams and then digest the feedback. It’s a great first step in this experiment, with two more Sprints to come. I want to emphasise that we won’t make a judgment on whether it will be part of our championship in the future until we have done all three Sprints on three different tracks.”
There has also been mention of further possible format tweaks if sprint races deliver on a regular basis.
With Saturday sprint races possibly having an adverse effect on Sunday, the idea has been mooted as to whether let Friday qualifying decide the grid for both the sprint race and main grand prix, and award more championship points down the field for the Saturday event.
“I think that will be probably the key issue, whether we make another step and make it standalone,” Ross Brawn said to Motorsport.com.
“I think that we’ll have to look at the number of points awarded, and how do we determine the starting grid. So should it just be what was done on Friday?
“As you know, [Sergio] Perez dropped out at Silverstone [in the sprint] and then obviously his Sunday race was heavily compromised. So should we determine the starting order on Friday for both Saturday and Sunday?
“There’s a number of things we can do, and number of ways we could do it.”
How did the 2021 Sprint races go?
As mentioned above, the sprint race format was generally well received overall, largely due to the hoped-for action occurring to some degree, and also making both weekends more interesting as a whole, with normal qualifying happening on Friday night.
Leaders Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen diced on lap one at the British event, and there were skirmishes down the field which provided entertainment, not least of all Fernando Alonso, who leapt from 11th to 5th in his Alpine then held off both faster McLarens.
“Yeah, I like the format,” said the Spaniard driver. “I think we have action three days, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. So it’s good for the people. Last year when I was watching races at home on Friday meant nothing, because the long runs, they are very important for the teams, the drivers, but not for the people at home, that they were very long free practice, to understand from the outside. I hope we can keep this format.
“I think it’s entertaining for the crowds on the track,” added Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff. “A start is always interesting and good content. And obviously, Alonso was fun to watch. So I think overall, it is a good add-on.”
“I don’t see it at every race. I think there’s too much randomness, but I think if the next few ones go like this one, I think it has a place in the calendar in a limited form.”
The Italian version was a little less enthralling, with the action at the start limited to those near the front squabbling for places. Verstappen showed Hamilton the escape road at the second chicane at Monza, leading to the Mercedes driver losing a place to Lando Norris and getting stuck there for the remainder of the afternoon.
Valtteri Bottas secured pole but couldn’t make it count the next day for victory.
F1 Sprint Race qualifying calendar
|British Grand Prix (Round 10)||July 17||17|
|Italian Grand Prix (Round 14)||September 11||18|
|Brazilian Grand Prix (Round 19)||November 13||24|