Formula 1 sprint races are back for a second year, with the first sprint event of the season taking place this weekend at the 2022 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, where Ferrari are looking to win on home soil.
Charles Leclerc has a healthy 34-point lead in the Driver Standings after three events but that would quickly be eroded with Imola being a sprint weekend, as this means there are more points on offer.
The F1 Sprint polarised opinion in 2021, but there were enough positives for the new format to return for this year, so how does it work and what’s changed for 2022?
F1 Sprint 2022 format
A key difference to a normal Grand Prix weekend is qualifying will take place on Friday evening, with just one hour of practice beforehand to get up to speed.
The usual knockout qualifying system remains, with the driver being titled as winning pole position being the fastest driver in Q3 – a minor change to 2021 when the pole position reward was given to the winner of the sprint race. The result in qualifying will set the grid for the sprint race.
Another 60 minutes of practice will be held on Saturday afternoon, but parc ferme rules will apply so the teams cannot make any setup changes.
The sprint race will happen on Saturday evening which will set the grid for Sunday’s main Grand Prix.
How long is an F1 sprint race?
F1’s sprint races are 100km long, with no mandatory pit stop and a free starting tyre choice.
The sprint distance is one-third of a normal Grand Prix length, so there will be 21 laps for this weekend’s F1 Sprint at Imola, which will take approximately 30 minutes depending on if there is a Safety Car and if it is dry.
New F1 Sprint points system
A major change to the F1 Sprint format for 2022 is more points will be awarded to the winner of the 100km race, with the top eight drivers scoring points.
Eight points will be given to the first place driver, which is five more than 2021. The second place driver will receive seven points, with third place awarded six points, continuing down to one point for the eighth place finisher.
Unlike the main Grand Prix, there is no extra point for the fastest lap of the sprint race.
If a driver has the perfect weekend, a possible 34 points can be won – eight points from the sprint race, 25 points for the Grand Prix win and the point for the fastest lap from the main race.
How many F1 sprint races will there be in 2022?
Just like 2021, there will be three F1 Sprints this year after the original plan to double the number of sprint events was shelved.
The original proposal was to have six sprint races in the 2022 season but a dispute over the budget cap and accident damage costs between the teams and the FIA changed plans.
Imola will host the first sprint weekend, with the Austrian GP (8-10 July) and the Sao Paulo GP (11-13 November) also holding the alternative format.