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Old F1 Sprint format vs new F1 Sprint format: Which is better?

We run through the differences between the old F1 Sprint weekend format and the new approved changes


Formula 1 Sprint Races are a relatively new phenomenon, but they’ve already been given a shake-up as the sport looks to create more entertainment for fans on-site and tuning in around the world.

Starting at the 2023 Azerbaijan Grand Prix, F1 Sprint Races will no longer determine the order for the main event in the hope that drivers will be more willing to take risks in a bid to capture the extra points on offer.

The proposed changes were unanimously voted through by all 10 teams and the decision was quickly ratified by the F1 Commission and FIA World Motor Sport Council ahead of the Baku showdown.

But what was the old format and how does the new one differ? We run through the differences below…

Lewis Hamilton and George Russell hugging after the Sprint Race at the 2022 Brazilian Grand Prix
Lewis Hamilton and George Russell after F1 Sprint Race at the 2022 Brazilian GP | Mercedes F1 Team

Old F1 Sprint format

First introduced in 2021, Sprint Races changed the usual weekend running order at three venues – Silverstone, Monza and Interlagos.

Saturday qualifying was moved to the slot on Friday typically reserved for FP2 and set the order for the Sprint the following day.

FP2 would then take place on Saturday morning, followed by the Sprint, which would set the grid for the GP. So, the driver who won the sprint would line up on pole on Sunday, while anyone who failed to finish would start at the back.

The top eight finishers would earn points for the championship.

New F1 Sprint format

F1 Sprints have split opinion since their introduction, but those in charge of the sport have been keen to expand the idea and announced there would be an additional three in 2023.

However, there was still a concern that the penalty for an incident in the 100km Sprint was too severe, meaning drivers were more likely to play it safe.

So, to encourage more wheel-to-wheel action, a new Sprint weekend format has been approved.

FP1 will still take place on Friday morning but it will be the only practice session, putting the spotlight on each team’s ability to get the car set-up right.

Instead of the Sprint qualifying on Friday evening, the hour-long session will now set the order for Sunday’s GP.

On Saturday morning, FP2 will be replaced by Sprint qualifying ahead of the 100km shootout on Saturday evening.

As well as Azerbaijan’s Baku Street Circuit, the other 2023 Sprint venues are the Red Bull Ring in Austria, Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium, the Lusail Circuit in Qatar, the Circuit of the Americas in Texas, and Interlagos in Brazil.

The top eight finishers will still earn points for both championships.

Fri AMFri PMSat AMSat PMSun
Old SprintFP1Sprint QualifyingFP2Sprint RaceGrand Prix
New SprintFP1GP QualifyingSprint ShootoutSprint RaceGrand Prix
Andrew Wright
Andrew Wrighthttps://total-motorsport.com
Sports Journalist for Total-Motorsport.com
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