How F1 sprint races work: latest changes, points awarded and 2022 dates

F1

F1's final sprint race of the season takes place at the Brazilian Grand Prix. Here are the details on how the format works, how many points are awarded and the latest on 2023 sprints

2020 ITA start

First lap in-fighting at Monza 2020 – more of this at the sprint race this year?

Grand Prix Photo

Formula 1 sprint races are here to stay. There are three scheduled for 2022 and another six next year have been confirmed. Each can have a significant effect impact on the title race, with more points now on offer.

The short races, approximately 1/3 of a normal grand prix length are held on a Saturday and set the grid for Sunday’s main race. More points are on offer than in 2021 when the first sprint was held: eight world championship points go to the winner, reducing by one point per place to the eighth-placed finisher.

Introduced to offer more action on selected race weekends, the sprint races push qualifying back to Friday, and reduce the number of practice sessions to give teams less time to prepare.


Sprint race changes for 2022

More points The top eight get world championship points (from 8pts for first to 1pt for eighth). Last year, only the top three got points, with 3pts for the winner.
Pole goes to the fastest qualifier Last year, sprint race winners were controversially recorded as having pole position for the race. That title now returns to the fastest in qualifying.
Sprint qualifying renamed The official title is no longer Sprint Qualifying but simply the Sprint. Most people still call it the sprint race.


Despite concerns that they detract from the grands prix themselves, and their awkward fit with qualifying (the pole-sitter won’t start at the front in the grand prix if they don’t win the sprint race), they have been deemed a success by F1, drivers and teams.

They pose a key question to drivers: how much risk do they take in the sprint to maximise their points and grid position for the grand prix, knowing that contact or an error could see them start at the back for Sunday’s race, where considerably more points are on offer.

In 2021, we saw Fernando Alonso standing out with a typically bombastic performance dragging himself from 11th to fifth. Later in the year, Lewis Hamilton hauled himself up from last to fifth. Both examples show how the sprint race can help drivers overcome poor qualifying sessions.

This year’s Emilia Romagna GP sprint race had fewer fireworks apart from a brief battle for the lead between Charles Leclerc and Max Verstappen, with the next due on November 12 at Interlagos ahead of the Brazilian GP.

Below you can find the the rules and regulations of the Formula 1 sprint races, including format, points and race dates.

2022 F1 sprint race dates

Date Race Circuit
23 April Emilia Romagna GP Sprint Imola
9 July Austrian GP Sprint Red Bull Ring
12 November Brazilian GP Sprint Interlagos

 

2023 F1 sprint races

Six sprint races have been confirmed for 2023 by the World Motor Sport Council, which is made up of officials from the FIA, racing’s governing body, as well as F1 representatives.

Details of where they will take place have not yet been announced.

“I am pleased that we can confirm six sprints will be part of the championship from 2023 onwards, building on the success of the new format introduced for the first time in 2021,” said Stefano Domenicali, president and CEO of Formula 1. “The feedback from the fans, teams, promoters, and partners has been very positive and the format is adding a new dimension to Formula 1, and we all want to ensure its success in the future.”

 

What is a sprint race?

Sprint races add a new element to the traditional Practice > Qualifying > Race format of a Formula 1 weekend. They are held on a Saturday and the cars line up in the order that they qualified on a Sunday. The result decides the grid for the grand prix.

While the format F1 uses isn’t quite the same as those utilised in Formula 2 and 3, the intention is similar: to shake up the order and provide more racing value for money to fans.

The races are shorter than the usual format The top eight are awarded championship points and the result decide the grid for Sunday’s full-length race.

 

How long are F1 sprint races?

The sprint races run to 100km (62 miles) so, depending on the circuit F1 is using on a sprint race weekend, lap count varies. For the Brazilian GP, the sprint race is set for 24 laps.

 

Friday qualifying on an F1 sprint weekend

Qualifying takes place a day earlier than usual, on the Friday of the race weekend, and the results setting the grid for the sprint race on Saturday. The finishing order of the sprint race itself will then decide the starting order for Sunday’s race, which will still award full points and run to the usual distance and lap count.

The sprint race winner starts on. pole but – unlike in 2021 – the fastest qualifier is shown as having pole position in the record books, even if they don’t start at the front in the grand prix.

 

F1 sprint race points

The top eight finishers in the sprint race are awarded points. The winner receives eight championship points, reducing by one point per place.

Sprint race points table

Position Points
1 8
2 7
3 6
4 5
5 4
6 3
7 2
8 1

 

Sprint race tyre allocation

Tyre restrictions are different during sprint qualifying weekends. Teams receive 12 sets, rather than the standard 13 and must only use soft tyres in qualifying, unless the session is wet.

There is a free choice of tyres for both the sprint on Saturday and the grand prix on Sunday.

 

Parc fermé rules

Parc fermé restrictions now come into effect on Friday ahead of qualifying, instead of Saturday as it would on a normal weekend. This is done to prevent teams from setting up their cars specifically to take advantage of the format.

These rules are “designed to increase the on-track action and engage fans in a new and innovative way,” says to F1’s commercial rights holder, Liberty Media.