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F1 embraces sprinting for three Grands Prix

(Paris) At the venerable age of 70, Formula 1 is looking to reinvent itself: it adopted on Monday “unanimously” a 100km “qualifying sprint race” format on Saturday for three Grands Prix this season.

“I am delighted that all teams have supported this plan, and it is a testament to our joint efforts to offer something new to our fans, while respecting the heritage and meritocracy of our sport,” explains the President and CEO of Formula 1, Stefano Domenicali, in a statement.

“F1 is stronger than ever with all stakeholders working together, and much has been done to ensure that the sporting, technical and financial aspects of this format are fair,” adds Jean Todt, President of the International Federation of F1. Automotive Industry (FIA).

Specifically, “on Friday [après-midi], there will be a qualifying session after the first free practice session [d’une heure, le matin] who will determine the starting grid for Saturday’s sprint qualifying [après-midi] “, it specifies.

After a second hour-long free practice session in the morning, “Saturday’s sprint qualifying results will determine the starting grid for Sunday’s race,” with a normal distance of around 300km.

“The first three in the sprint classification on Saturday will receive points” in the World Cup classification: three for the first, two for the second and one for the third.

Also, starting with qualifying on Friday, teams will no longer be able to freely modify their cars.

However, no details were given on the financial measures surrounding the adoption of this project. Indeed, some feared that these three races would generate problematic additional costs under the spending ceiling imposed on teams starting this year.

See you at Silverstone, Monza and Interlagos?

The Grand Prix to be held in this new format has not yet been announced, with Formula 1 and the FIA ​​limited to specifying that it will be “two in Europe and one outside Europe”.

Great Britain in Silverstone on July 18 and Italy in Monza on September 12 hold the rope, as well as Brazil in Interlagos on November 7, if the health situation allows the celebration of this race.

This agreement must now be ratified by the World Motor Sport Council, whose next meeting is scheduled for July 9, which should be a procedure.

Since its acquisition by the Americans of Liberty Media in 2017, Formula 1 has been discussing new formats that are supposed to make the Grand Prix less monotonous.

The reversal of the starting grids established in the qualifiers (which place the fastest in a lap to the front and so on) was rejected as too artificial and unfair, in favor of these sprint heats that we no longer expect spectacular.

“It’s really suspenseful for three days,” Alpine CEO Marcin Budkowski said before the season. You will qualify on Friday, you will race on Saturday and you will race again on Sunday. For the fans, these are three days full of emotions. ”

However, some purists, such as four-time German world champion Sebastian Vettel, fear that such developments will distort the sport.

“Why would you have a prefinal before a final? What is the point of this? I don’t understand ”, the Aston Martin driver wondered a few weeks ago.

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