F1 enters into the unknown this weekend, as they trial their "Sprint Race" format for the first time. The British Grand Prix will see the shakeup of the race weekend introduced for the first of three trials this season, but there's still some confusion over how it will come together. We've gone through the essentials to give you the lowdown on how F1's sprint races will work.
What are the sprint races?
F1 will trial the sprint race format on the Saturday of the race weekend. It will last for approximately 30 minutes, and will be about a third of the length of a standard F1 race. Grands Prix are set to the lap closest to 305km, whereas the sprint races will run to 100km.
Will there still be a normal Grand Prix?
Yes, the F1 sprint races will set the grid order for the British Grand Prix. The winner will start on pole position on Sunday, second place alongside them on the front row, and so on. The Grand Prix will run to the full 305km (52 lap) distance.
How will the F1 sprint races work?
There are lots of questions about F1's new sprint races. We've tried our best to give you a lowdown on the biggest ones below.
- Pit-stops are allowed but, unlike a standard Grand Prix, they will not be mandatory.
- Standard qualifying will still happen (and will follow the standard Q1, Q2, Q3 format) but it will only set the grid order for the sprint race. In a change from normal procedure, drivers do not have a choice of tyres for qualifying - they can only use the soft tyres.
- The weekend format has shifted for the British Grand Prix, so Friday sees one practice session and qualifying, before another practice session and the sprint race on Saturday.
- Drivers can start Sunday's main race on any tyre they choose.
- There will be no podium ceremony after the F1 sprint race, but the top three in the race will receive championship points. First place will get 3 points, second place will get 2, and third place will get 1 point towards their championship bid.
|Friday July 16th||14:30 - 15:30||Practice 1|
|Friday July 16th||18:00 - 19:00||Qualifying|
|Saturday July 17th||12:00 - 13:00||Practice 2|
|Saturday July 17th||16:30 - 17:00||F1 Sprint Race|
|Sunday July 18th||15:00-17:00||British Grand Prix|
Will there be any more F1 sprint races?
The organisers of F1 are currently planning to hold three trial runs of "F1 Sprint" in 2021, with a view to bringing it in regularly if it is a success. The current plan is to hold further trial runs at the Italian Grand Prix in September and at the Brazilian Grand Prix in November.
How can I watch the F1 sprint race?
The entire race weekend will be broadcast live on both Sky Sports and Channel 4 in the UK and Ireland. Sky's coverage will run on Sky Sports F1 across the weekend, with their coverage of Saturday's F1 sprint race starting at 3:40pm. Channel 4's coverage on Saturday will start at 3:45pm.
Who is expected to do well?
Lewis Hamilton has ruled the roost at the British Grand Prix for years now, winning six of the last eight races at Silverstone. This year, though, has seen a change in fortunes for the Briton and his team Mercedes, with Max Verstappen and Red Bull leading the F1 championship by 32 points nearing the halfway point. We expect a great battle between the two on Saturday and Sunday.
Elsewhere, British drivers Lando Norris and George Russell will be hoping to do well in their home race, while six of the teams are based in the UK, so they will also treat this as a home race. Aston Martin are based at the circuit itself, while Red Bull are just down the road in Milton Keynes.
It's set to be an enthralling weekend at the British Grand Prix, with the introduction of sprint races into F1 said to spice the action up nicely - how they will work out is another question, but we'll have a clearer idea come Saturday evening.