F1 Sprint and Italian GP calendar explained: Q&A on the second release of the new F1 test format


SEE: Your essential video guide to F1 Sprint and how it fits into the revamped weekend.

SEE: Your essential video guide to F1 Sprint and how it fits into the revamped weekend.

F1 Sprint: what is it?

Introducing the second outing for the test format designed to add extra excitement and a new layer of intrigue to three racing weekends in the 2021 season.

F1 Sprint is actually a 100 km mini race (300 km is the usual GP distance) on Saturday afternoon, one day before the Grand Prix.

Short, quick and, as you’ll see below, without the strategic intricacies of the traditional big Sunday race, F1 Sprint is, as the name suggests, designed to be a full sprint for drivers from start to finish. end.

The format debuted at the British GP in July and returns this weekend to Monza.

When is it and what is the significance?

Saturday’s F1 Sprint at Monza will take place on Saturday afternoon at 3.30 p.m. Preparation for Sky Sports F1 begins at 2:35 p.m.

The 20 drivers start in the order in which they qualified on Friday evening – more details below – and their finish positions 100 km later will be the positions in which they line up for the start of the Grand Prix de Sunday.

If you win, you start Sunday’s race from pole position; if you are 10th you start in the same place a day later, while if you have technical problems or break down you will be in the back and have everything to do.

How long does the F1 Sprint last?

The distance of 100 km to Monza corresponds to 18 laps of the Temple of super-fast speed.

The Saturday sprint should therefore be 25-30 minutes long, with the condensed and stripped-down nature of the racing action designed to be part of the draw for spectators and viewers alike.

Sky F1's Simon Lazenby and Martin Brundle are preparing for the Italian Grand Prix at Monza this weekend.
Sky F1’s Simon Lazenby and Martin Brundle are preparing for the Italian Grand Prix at Monza this weekend.

Sky F1’s Simon Lazenby and Martin Brundle are preparing for the Italian Grand Prix at Monza this weekend.

And are there points in F1 Sprint?

Yes, but only for the first three.

  • First place will receive three points
  • Second place is worth two points
  • Third place earns one point

This means that there is a maximum of three additional points offered to drivers compared to normal weekends (29 instead of 26).

But even though the points in F1 Sprint are relatively slim on their own and limited to the top three positions, all the drivers are fighting for a grid position for Sunday’s Grand Prix. Every overtaking therefore always counts for something, throughout the peloton.

Are there any pit stops in F1 Sprint?

While not technically prohibited, they are certainly not expected given the short duration of an F1 Sprint event.

Unlike the Grand Prix, no mandatory tire changes are required and, unless the cars are damaged or punctured or it’s raining, don’t expect them to leave the action for the pit lane. between the lights out and the checkered flag.

Riders are free to ride on whatever tire compound – hard, medium, or soft – they wish.

So what happens to qualifying?

The usual three-part qualifying time still takes place, but has moved from its usual Saturday afternoon slot to Friday evening.

In Monza, this takes place at 5 p.m. BST.

The session progresses normally through Q1, Q2 and Q3 to find the fastest driver and determine the order 1-20.

Who is credited with the pole position?

Two “race” starts this weekend but only one official pole position for the record books – and that, as always, goes to the driver who starts at the top of the grid for Sunday’s Grand Prix.

This means that the winner of the F1 Sprint (provided he takes his place on the P1 grid on Sunday) is also the holder of the Italian GP pole position.

Lewis Hamilton was the fastest qualifier at Silverstone on Friday, but Max Verstappen went on to win the sprint race the next day, meaning he was credited with official pole position.

Drivers who win the sprint, or who finish second and third, are not credited with race wins or podiums in their career stats. But the feat is still recognized by F1 after the race because, in a nod to the history of the sport, the trio will be awarded crowns and participate in a victory parade around the lap.

How many workouts are there?

There are only two practice sessions this weekend, one less than normal, each lasting an hour as is now the case in F1 from this year.

The first workout begins on Friday at 1:30 p.m., with the second workout at 11 a.m. on the Saturday before the sprint.

And the Grand Prix, is it unchanged on Sunday?

Designed to enhance the full weekend rather than taking anything away from Sunday’s main event, the 53 Italian Grand Prix laps around Monza are unchanged.

The lights go out this year at 3 p.m. Editing of Sky F1 begins at 1:30 p.m.

The usual points apply on race day of 25 for victory (or a maximum of 26 if the winner also takes the fastest lap) up to one point for 10th place.

The only difference is that riders who start in the top 10 don’t have to start with the tire with which they set their best time in Q2. Everyone therefore has a free choice throughout the race, although the usual two-pulley rules apply in a dry race which guarantee at least one pit stop per car.

No change otherwise.

Where else will F1 Sprint weekends take place in 2021?

A final sprint weekend is expected for the Brazilian GP at Interlagos from November 12 to 14.

F1 will then assess the results of the three sprint weekends, see what worked and what didn’t, and if the format is generally considered successful, it will likely be extended for 2022 and added to some events. brand to create what motorsport chief Ross Brawn has called the Formula 1 equivalent of the ‘Grand Slam’.

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