F1: What Is A Sprint Race And What Does It Mean For Imola This Weekend?
Building off the back of 2021 where the F1 calendar had its first sprint races, we’re now going to have a number sprint races over the course of the 2022 season as well. This has been a controversial part of the sport with many fans questioning whether it’s necessary or not, but the majority of F1 drivers have been behind the idea and the change up of the race weekend it brings.
But to those of you who are new to the sport… what is a sprint race? And how does it make a difference to the race weekend?
Well, this is what I’m going to talk you through in this piece.
What Is A Sprint Race?
A sprint race is a 100km race, so much shorter than the usual 305km races that you’ll see on Sunday. For Imola this coming weekend, this consists of 21 laps.
2019 Sprint Races – The First Year We Saw Them
A generic weekend of Formula One sees Free Practice One and Free Practice Two on a Friday. The Saturday brings us FP3 and the all-important qualifying. Finally, Sunday gives us the race.That was the make up of 19 of the 2022 race weekends during the 2021 season. Three weekends had a new structure thanks to the addition of a sprint race.
The sprint races took place at Silverstone, Sao Paulo, and Brazil, but to add a sprint race to the mix, the third practice session had to be removed.
Last year, the Friday of a sprint race weekend only had one practice session, followed by the qualifying session. This qualifying session would determine where the cars started for the sprint race which would follow a second practice session on the Saturday. The results of the sprints then sets the grid for the beginning of the race on the Sunday.
This means drivers have a shot at changing the way the race begins if they qualified poorly while also giving some more points to those who do well on the Saturday. If you came in first place, you managed to pick up three points. Second place, two points, and third place is one extra point.
This means that there are 9 extra points available to drivers over the whole season, plus much more action for fans to watch compared to a simple practice session.
How Does 2022 Differ?
Now, the sprint races have returned in 2022, but what changes have accompanied them this year to make them more exciting for fans?
Who Gets Poll Position?
The daily format will stay the same, but there’s one major change. If you finish first in the Friday qualifying, then you will have pole across the weekend for both the sprint race and the Sunday race.
Where Are The Spring Races?
Another change comes in the form of where these sprint races will take place. This year they’ll be at Imola, the Red Bull Ring, and Sao Paulo once again.
How Many Points Do Drivers Get?
The scoring system sees changes, too. Those who finish first in the sprint race gets a whole 8 points, second gets 7 points, and third gets 6. This makes the sprint races a much more important part of the weekend with teams feeling some serious pressure to gain points over their competition.
- 1st 8 points
- 2nd 7 points
- 3rd 6 points
- 4th 5 points
- 5th 4 points
- 6th 3 points
- 7th 2 points
- 8th 1 point
What do you think?
We can’t wait to know what you think about the sprint races?
Are you happy to see sprint races return this year? Let us know in the comments below.