Formula One is looking to increase the spectacle on the tarmac with its new “sprint” format, which debuts in Azerbaijan, where the first of the season’s six sprint races will take place. The FIA and Formula One are promoting this initiative that will improve the on-track action and offer a greater spectacle for fans around the world. In this new format, the drivers will run a free practice session on Friday morning, followed by classic qualifying in the afternoon, which will determine the starting grid for Sunday’s Grand Prix. Saturday will be dedicated to the sprint, where the riders will take to the track for a second qualifying session called the “Sprint Shootout,” which will be shorter than Friday’s and will determine the starting order for the sprint race to be held on the same day. The new format will also be applied to five other Grand Prix.
This format change comes two years after the arrival of sprint races in the premier class, which were already intended to provide spectacle over three days with “normal” qualifying. According to the FIA, the new format encourages drivers to take more risks in the sprint, as they used to take all the risks to secure their position on the grid for the main race. The sprint race becomes an independent event whose results will have no consequences for the Grand Prix starting grid. The allocation of points at the end of the sprint remains unchanged, as only the top eight riders will score points.
This new format will allow the weekend to be monetized, both through ticket sales and media coverage. The sprints also offer the opportunity to have something more dynamic during the weekend, which is considered a good decision by the teams. In short, this new race format is a strategy to attract more spectators and offer a greater spectacle in the world of Formula 1.
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