Formula 1 Teams Speed Up to Finalise Saturday Sprint Rules Ahead of Baku

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F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali announced a plan to have separate qualifying sessions for the sprint event and the grand prix, meaning the result of one won’t affect the starting positions of the other. All of the team bosses agreed with this idea in a F1 Commission meeting. Then, it was presented at another meeting with the FIA Sporting Advisory Committee, where rules are made clearer.

The people in charge of sports asked the FIA (International Motorsport Authority) to think up a plan for changes to the rules. At the Australian Grand Prix, everyone discussed this topic further, but no decisions were made yet. One idea is that on Friday there would be a practice session, then a qualifying session for the big race on Sunday. On Saturday, instead of having another practice, they might have qualifying for that day’s sprint race.

People are discussing a plan to switch up the current system for qualifying. On Friday, racers would do their sprints, and then on Saturday they would have their race qualifiers.

But this change is very complicated – it will require lots of changes in the rules that were made when sprints became part of races this year. We have to figure out things like what ‘parc ferme’ means and how much tires racers can use.

Pirelli has already sent the tyres to be used in the Baku race weekend.

The photo above is of Valtteri Bottas from Alfa Romeo.

On sprints, each driver will have 12 tyre sets; 2 hards, 4 mediums, and 6 softs.

Because of this, it won’t be possible to do two complete qualifying sessions with new tyres as usual.

After the first practice session (FP1), teams have to turn in two sets of tires. They then typically use four sets for the race qualifying session on Friday. If the Friday and Saturday qualifying sessions are done in their regular way, teams can use old tires for the last one. There’s also another option suggested where this could be a type of single-lap qualifier instead – like the one that was used with mixed results from 2003 to 2005, but this would mean less tire usage.



The problem is that any changes to the rules need to be made by the FIA and then checked by a group of people (called ‘Sporting Directors’) who work for different teams. But these people have holidays booked during April and Easter, so it might take longer than usual to make sure the rules are changed correctly.

The process of getting the revised rules approved by the sport authorities is difficult and may be too difficult to complete in time for the next race. However, if it’s not done, the new format could be used at the race after that in Austria. The boss from Haas said this discussion fits with what Domenicali said about decreasing practice times.

The people in Baku are thinking of having a second qualifying. They don’t know if it will happen or how to do it. So, they want to try and see if one practice session (which would be the first practice on Saturday morning) is enough to get the information they need.

McLaren had to make some tough F1 decisions and Norris backs them. The Australian GP should consider the idea of holding a night race for F1.

We need to figure out how to add excitement to free practice sessions, so let’s take this step-by-step. First, we have to solve how to do a second qualifying event during sprint events. After that, then we can look at what else we can do next.

“Let’s not rush and try to solve everything right away. We should also not forget about doing practice sessions for free.”

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