The Emilia Romagna Grand Prix is the first of three Formula One races this year to have a revised schedule.
This weekend will see a third competitive session – the sprint qualifying race – added between the traditional and race elimination session.
F1 introduced the sprint format last year to spice up the events, choosing the British GP, Italian GP and Brazilian GP to execute. Those three races happened with each feature a memorable moment in Max Verstappen and Lewis HamiltonEpic championship wars, with clashes at Silverstone and Monza and a controversial battle on the way to victory at Interlagos, albeit in Sunday’s main event rather than in the water race New withdrawals are introduced.
The sprint races themselves continue to divide opinion in F1, but F1 has made one particular change that makes Saturday’s event much more competitive than we saw last year. .
What is the sprint qualifier format?
This weekend, the schedule will look like this:
Friday: Eligible (10.55AM – ESPN2)
Saturday: Sprint Qualifier (12.25PM – ESPN)
Sunday: Grand Prix (8.55AM – ESPN)
The most obvious difference from a regular weekend is that the traditional one-hour knockout session shifts from Saturday to Friday, so one in three training sessions is dropped from the schedule.
The standard qualifying round remains unchanged in format, taking place over three mini sessions – five drivers dropped from Q1 and another five from Q2, leaving a 10-car fight for pole place in Q3. The key difference is the outcome of that Q3 session setting the grid for the Saturday afternoon sprint but not for the Grand prix on Sunday.
That race is a third of the distance of an F1 race and is limited to 100 km, meaning drivers can race from start to finish without having to enter the pit. The results of Saturday’s event (which will be 21 laps in Imola) set the grid for Sunday’s race.
Last year, points were awarded only to the top three finishers, but this has been adjusted for the new season.
What’s changed this year?
While Brazil kept the same sprint qualifying schedule for this year, Silverstone and Monza moved back to the traditional weekends.
In place of them, the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix this weekend and the Austrian Grand Prix in July will be able to finalize the sprint.
Scores for the top eight finishers
Last year, only three paying positions were offered. First (three points), second (two points) and three (one point).
This was expanded to the top eight this year, with eight points offered to the winner and the rest scaled from there.
The hope is that this will generate more competitive racing from the top end of the grid, as several riders happily settled into place last year as the drama of the opening laps subsided.
With more points on offer, a big mistake for a championship candidate in a sprint qualifying event can cost even more: instead of losing three points, a rider can lose to an opponent. eight points if he meets any drama.
The pole position in history books
Don’t worry, these weekend’s historic, mainline deals will now go to the driver to set up the fastest lap in qualifying on Friday.
Last year, traditionalists had some disappointment when the ‘pole’ label was officially awarded to the rider who won the sprint qualifying race. The qualifying winner in those three events was instead given the less historic crown of ‘Pirelli Speed King’.
This year, the rules have been adjusted to ensure that the driver who reaches the fastest lap in the sixth qualifying round will be considered the driver who wins the pole position.