Sergio Pérez of Mexico and Oracle Red Bull Racing celebrates in parc ferme during the Sprint ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Azerbaijan at Baku City Circuit on April 29, 2023 in Baku, Azerbaijan.
© Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool
F1

Everything you need to know about F1 Sprint weekends in 2023

The F1 Sprint is here to stay and for 2023 the rules have been adjusted to promise more fireworks than ever before. Here’s your rundown of how these weekends actually work.
By Harry Verolme
4 min readPublished on
01

The origin story

F1 Sprint made its first appearance during the 2021 season. The goal was simple: to create more excitement during the Grand Prix weekend. It was intended to cut down on cars cruising through practice and encourage more fighting for positions on the track. The plan sounds great, but two years later and the idea is still a polarising subject. Whatever your opinion of F1 Sprint, it’s hard to deny it’s achieved its primary objective of providing some great entertainment.
Sergio Pérez of Mexico driving the Oracle Red Bull Racing RB19 leads the Sprint ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Azerbaijan at Baku City Circuit on April 29, 2023 in Baku, Azerbaijan.

Sergio Pérez leads the Sprint in Azerbaijan

© Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

02

How does it work?

One common thread in previous F1 Sprint contests was a tendency to play it safe. Some drivers took a conservative approach, with the gain of a point and a place not being deemed worth the risk of an accident and starting the grand prix from the back of the grid. The Standalone Sprints encourage drivers to push harder.
A grand prix weekend involves the cars taking part in five sessions. In the traditional format, three were practice and two were competitive (Quali and the Race). The original F1 Sprint format changed that distribution to two practice and three competitive (Quali, Sprint, Race). The new Sprint format tilts it further to one practice and four competitive (Quali, Shootout, Sprint, Race).
03

What happens during the Sprint Shootout?

Having done Qualifying on Friday, we now get to do it all over again on Saturday. The Shootout retains the three mini-sessions of a standard Quali, but with shorter session times of 12 minutes (SQ1), 10 minutes (SQ2) and eight minutes (SQ3). Having shorter sessions is intended to restrict cars to one run in each session. But the potential still exists to do two runs in SQ1 and possibly SQ2, even though the timings would be very tight and dependent on the circuit. On some tracks, that will be a moot point because cars are only allowed to use one set of tyres in each Shootout session. Medium compound in SQ1 and SQ2, Soft compound in SQ3.
04

How does the weekend play out?

The changes to the format mean that the F1 Sprint weekend differs from a regular Grand Prix weekend. Here’s a day-by-day guide to what you can expect to see on the track.
Friday
  • Free Practice session
  • Qualifying (this will set the grid for Sunday’s Grand Prix)
Saturday
  • Sprint Shootout (this will set the grid for the Sprint)
  • Sprint
Sunday
  • Grand Prix
05

What points are up for grabs?

Other than not being used for grid position in Sunday’s Grand Prix, the Sprint follows the same format as it has in previous years. It’s a 100km/30 minute race and everyone has a free choice of starting tyre. Points will be scored by the top eight: eight points for first place, down to one point for eighth.
  • P1: 8 points
  • P2: 7 points
  • P3: 6 points
  • P4: 5 points
  • P5: 4 points
  • P6: 3 points
  • P7: 2 points
  • P8: 1 points
Sergio Pérez overtakes Charles Leclerc during the Sprint ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Azerbaijan at Baku City Circuit on April 29, 2023 in Baku, Azerbaijan.

Pérez takes the lead in Baku

© Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

06

Where will I see an F1 Sprint?

After an action-packed debut at the 2023 Azerbaijan Grand Prix, the new F1 Sprint format will be on display at the Austrian Grand Prix. In fact, F1 Sprint is due to feature at a total of six race weekends during the 2023 Formula 1 season…
  • Azerbaijan Grand Prix
  • Austrian Grand Prix
  • Belgian Grand Prix
  • Qatar Grand Prix
  • United States Grand Prix
  • São Paulo Grand Prix
07

Any impact on Sunday's Grand Prix?

Sunday’s Grand Prix will run to its usual rules, albeit with the grid set on Friday. The minor wrinkle is that teams will have better information on long run pace, having already done a representative stint in the Sprint. The other link between Saturday’s running and Sunday’s is the provision of grid penalties. Power unit grid penalties will continue to be served on Sunday, and any other penalties accrued on Friday – for unsafe driving, etc, – will also be served on Sunday. While any penalties awarded in the Shootout will be served in the Sprint, any accrued in the Sprint itself will be served in the Grand Prix.

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