Tuesday 27 April 2021 12:30 pm

Formula 1 to use 'sprint qualifiying' to decide grid position at some races, starting with the British Grand Prix

Formula 1 is to introduce “sprint qualifying” races on the Saturdays of some grand prix weekends.

The 100km sprints – roughly a third of a full grand prix – will not only be used to set grid positions for Sunday’s main race but will also be worth points for the three fastest drivers.

July’s British Grand Prix is expected to be the first to showcase the new format, which will be restricted to three race weekends this season.

“We are excited by this new opportunity that will bring our fans an even more engaging race weekend in 2021,” said F1 president and chief executive Stefano Domenicali.

Friday qualifying sessions will establish the grid for the sprints, which will be worth three points for the winner, two for second place and one for third.

“Seeing the drivers battling it out over three days will be an amazing experience and I am sure the drivers will relish the fight.

“I am delighted that all the teams supported this plan, and it is a testament to our united efforts to continue to engage our fans in new ways while ensuring we remain committed to the heritage and meritocracy of our sport.”

The Italian Grand Prix at Monza in September is also likely to use the new format, as will a third, non-European race weekend. Brazil in November is the frontrunner if it goes ahead.

Jean Todt, president of motorsport’s governing body the FIA, said: “I am pleased to see that Formula 1 is seeking new ways to engage with its fans and enlarge the spectacle of a race weekend through the concept of sprint qualifying.”