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F1 Race Weekend Schedule & Format

F1 isn’t all about the Sunday. Whilst that’s the most exciting and viewed part of F1, there’s much more to each race weekend that sets up the big race on the Sunday. Below we break down the normal race weekend schedule as well as the sprint race weekend schedule, as the latter is slightly different. 

F1 Race Weekend Schedule

The normal race weekend schedule looks something like this; 

F1 Race Weekend Format Schedule

Thursday: The Media Day

By the Thursday, F1 has well and truly taken over the paddock, the circuit, and even the surrounding areas, with the teams setting up their motorhomes and getting all of their equipment in ready for the weekend. 

The drivers are also at the circuit on the Thursday, and this is when they do their media & sponsor activities ahead of the race weekend.

Friday: Two Practice Sessions

On the Friday, the cars are out on the track as the drivers get to grips with how their car performs on the track, as well as getting used to track conditions and tyre performance. 

There are two practice sessions on Friday, both lasting 90 minutes.

Saturday: Final Practice & Qualifying

The real action starts on Saturday, as drivers compete in the qualifying knockouts to establish the starting order for the Sunday race. 

Before qualifying, there is another one-hour practice session which gives the drivers more time to configure their setups and get used to the track conditions for qualifying

After the third practice session of the weekend, qualifying begins and drivers compete to qualify in the highest position possible for the Sunday race. The qualifying sessions are split up into three sessions, with 5 of the slowest drivers dropping out in the first two sessions. 

The remaining 10 drivers then have 10 minutes in a final shootout session to get their fastest laps in and to try and land pole position (1st place on the grid).

Sunday: The Race 

After all that preparation, it’s finally time for the race on Sunday. As F1 races around the world, the time for race starts vary wildly, although they are always orgnanised to try and reach as many fans worldwide as possible. 

The drivers leave the pits for the outlap, where they then park at their position on the starting grid. At this point, the grid is full of team mechanics, media & special guests. Once the grid is cleared, the drivers complete a formation lap, where they will try and warm up their tyres as much as possible, before heading back to their position on the grid. 

Once everyone is in position, the lights countdown, and the race is off!

Sprint Race Weekend Formats

Sprint races were introduced in 2021 with the hope they would make race weekends more exciting, and more appealing to a larger audience. 

During sprint race weekends, the format is as follows: 

  • Friday: First practice session & Qualifying
  • Saturday: Second practice session & sprint race
  • Sunday: Race

Sprint Races Explained

Essentially, the sprint race on the Saturday determined the order for the Sunday race. The qualifying session on the Friday is the same as usual, but this dictated the order of the sprint race, as opposed to the main race. 

The other quirk of the sprint race is that the winner gets 8 points, second place gets 7 points, third place gets 6 points, and then 5, 4, 3, 2 & 1 points are awarded to the drivers who finish from 4th – 8th place.

Michael Scott

Michael is the founder of Into Turn One and has loved all things motorsport from a young age. Michael started following F1 full-time when Lewis Hamilton broke onto the scene in 2007, and Lewis is still his favourite driver.