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F1 Sprint Shootout: New format with second qualifying session confirmed for 2023 season

Formula 1's new Sprint weekend format will see separate qualifying sessions held to set the grid for Saturday's Sprint and Sunday's full-length race; watch the new format debut live on Sky Sports F1 at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix this weekend

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With the new changes to the F1 Sprint weekends, Craig Slater explains why Sprint is crucial in deciding a Drivers Championship

Formula 1 has confirmed a new format for Sprint weekends in 2023 that will see a second qualifying session, to be known as the Sprint Shootout, added to the schedule.

The new format, which was voted through by the F1 Commission and World Motor Sport Council on Tuesday, will be used at the six Sprint weekends taking place this season, the first of which is this weekend's Azerbaijan Grand Prix.

The previous format, which has been used since Sprint weekends were introduced to F1 in 2021, saw a qualifying session on Friday set the grid for Saturday's shortened race, which would in turn set the order for Sunday's Grand Prix.

The updated schedule will see Friday's qualifying session set the grid for Sunday's race, while Saturday will now feature a standalone double of the Sprint Shootout to dictate the order for the shortened 100km race that follows.

New Sprint weekend format



Qualifying for Sunday's Grand Prix


Sprint Shootout

F1 Sprint


Grand Prix

The Sprint Shootout will mirror a regular F1 qualifying session in being split into three parts, but each of those will be shorter, with the final eight-minute period potentially leading to one-lap contests to set the top 10.

While teams are free to use any of their available tyres in regular qualifying, in the Sprint Shootout new sets of tyres will be mandatory in each of the three parts, with medium compounds in SQ1 and SQ2 followed by a switch to softs in SQ3.

There is no change to the awarding of points from 2022. The Sprint winner will score eight points, with that amount descending by a point for each of the top eight.

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The changes eliminate a second practice session on Saturday morning, which had been criticised for providing minimal entertainment, given that after Friday qualifying teams were unable to make setup changes to their cars.

Teams and drivers will now have just Friday's opening 60-minute practice session to work out their car setups for the remainder of the weekend.

There is hope that the Sprint contest no longer setting the grid for Sunday's race, where the most points are on offer, will encourage drivers to take more risks on a Saturday.

The F1 Commission, whose meeting was chaired by F1 president Stefano Domenicali and FIA single-seater director Nikolas Tombazis, and also includes representatives from the sport's 10 teams, released a statement on Tuesday confirming their decision.

The statement said: "Following discussion at the F1 Commission meeting in February, clear objectives were set by the FIA, Formula 1 and all teams to investigate how the Sprint format could be improved to increase the level of intensity on-track across the weekend, making as many sessions as possible result in a competitive sporting outcome.

F1 Sprint dates in 2023

April 29 Azerbaijan GP
July 1 Austrian GP
July 29 Belgian GP
October 7 Qatar GP
October 21 US GP
November 4 Sao Paulo GP

"Following this mandate, the sport's Advisory Committees and key Formula 1 stakeholders returned a series of recommendations targeting a Sprint format that exists separately within a Grand Prix weekend and does not result in the Sprint setting the grid for Sunday's main event, delivering more 'jeopardy' through a reduction in practice time and providing a greater incentive to drivers to race hard on Saturday.

"All stakeholders believe that this will boost the spectacle of Sprint weekends and enhance track action for fans around the world."

Clarification has also been provided on how grid penalties will be applied during Sprint weekends, with offences in Friday's practice session or qualifying to be applied to the race, while penalties incurred in the Sprint Shootout will be applied to the Sprint.

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On the latest episode of the Sky Sports F1 Podcast Simon Lazenby examines the pros and cons of the Sprint race weekends.

A grid penalty resulting from an incident during the Sprint will be applied to Sunday's race, while any breach of parc ferme will result in pit lane starts for both the Sprint and the Race.

Any grid penalties caused by breaching power unit limits will only apply to the race, unless their installation also represents a parc ferme breach.

The F1 Commission also approved an increase from three to four in the number of power unit elements teams will be allowed to use during the 2023 season. Each driver now has access to an additional internal combustion engine (ICE), turbo charger, MGU-H and MGU-K.

Sky Sports F1's live Azerbaijan GP schedule

10.30am: Drivers' Press Conference

8am: F2 Practice
10am: Azerbaijan GP Practice One (session starts 10.30am)
11.55am: F2 Qualifying
1pm: Azerbaijan GP Qualifying build-up
3.30pm: Ted's Qualifying Notebook

9am: Azerbaijan GP Sprint Qualifying build-up
12:10pm: F2 Sprint Race
1.30pm: Azerbaijan GP Sprint build-up
4pm: Ted's Sprint Notebook

8.30am: F2 Feature Race
10.30am: Grand Prix Sunday Azerbaijan GP build-up
2pm: Chequered Flag Azerbaijan GP reaction
3pm: Ted's Notebook

The Formula 1 season resumes with the Azerbaijan Grand Prix from April 28-30, with the first Sprint weekend of 2023 shown in full live on Sky Sports F1. Watch Saturday's Sprint at 2:30pm and Sunday's race at 12pm. Get Sky Sports

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