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How Do Sprint Races Work In F1?

Sprint races were introduced in 2021 as a way to freshen up the sport and keep the races exciting. They were initially trialed across three races in the 2021 & 2022 seasons before F1 announced there would be a total of six sprint races in the 2023 season.

F1 Sprint Race Format

The format isn’t too dissimilar to the normal race weekend schedule and format, but with a sprint race thrown in between qualifying and the race. 

Sprint race weekend schedules look like this: 

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

The qualifying on the Friday is the usual three format, with three sessions (Q1, Q2 & Q3). The only difference is that this qualifying establishes the starting grid order for the sprint race. 

The sprint race is then used to establish the starting grid order for the Sunday race.

F1 Sprint Race Points

On top of being used as a way to sort the order for the race on Sunday, World Championship points are also up for grabs. 

  • 1st place: 8 points
  • 2nd place: 7 points 
  • 3rd place: 6 points
  • 4th place: 5 points
  • 5th place: 4 points
  • 6th place: 3 points
  • 7th place: 2 points
  • 8th place: 1 point 

The aim of awarding points in the sprint race is to further incentivise drivers to go all out for the race and create much more excitement. 

Every point earned, in both the sprint races and normal races, is added up across the season and contributes to the team and constructors table, which can impact how much a team earns from Formula One in that season.

F1 Sprint Race Rules 

Race time (or distance)

As the name suggests, a sprint race is a shorter race than the main Sunday race. The distance of the race is 100km, and usually lasts around 25 – 30 minutes.

Pit Stops

Unlike the main races, there are no mandatory pit stops in sprint races. This is to make it less about strategy, and more about on-track action. 

Pole Position 

When sprint races were introduced in 2021, the official pole position was awarded to the winner of the sprint race. 

For 2022, however, the official pole position award will the handed to the driver who qualified first in qualifying

Despite this, the winner of the sprint race still starts at the front of the grid for the main race on the Sunday. 

F1 Sprint Races By Season 

2021 Season 

This was the first season sprint races were introduced, and there was a total of three sprint races; 

  • Silverstone (British GP)
  • Monza (Italian GP) 
  • Interlagos (Sao Paolo GP) 

2022 Season 

After mixed reviews from fans and drivers alike, sprint races returned in 2022 for another three races; 

  • Imola (Emilia Romagna GP)
  • Red Bull Ring (Austrian GP) 
  • Interlagos (Sao Paolo GP) 

F1 Sprint Races 2023 Season 

There will be six sprint races in the 2023 season, as F1 doubles down on the format, despite mixed reviews. On the 7th of December, it was announced which 6 circuits would hold sprint races for the 2023 season. These are;

  • Baku (Azerbaijan Grand Prix)
  • Red Bull Ring (Austrian Grand Prix)
  • Spa (Belgian Grand Prix)
  • Qatar (Qatar Grand Prix)
  • Circuit of the Americas (USA Grand Prix)
  • Interlagos (Sao Paolo Grand Prix)
Formula One 2023 Sprint Races

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.