More sprint weekend changes in the works for 2024

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Photo Credit: Red Bull Content Pool

The Formula One Commission will consider a new format for sprint weekends in 2024 proposed by F1 commercial rights holders Liberty Media at their meeting this weekend at the Belgian Grand Prix at Spa. The current format, which puts all the sprint activity—both qualifying and race—on Saturday, but feature race qualifying in the place of FP2 on Friday, was just implemented for this season right before the first sprint race at Baku.

Under the new proposal, which is expected to be approved by the commission, the sprint sessions would come after FP1, but before any official race activity: sprint qualifying would be in place of FP2 on Friday, the sprint race would be in place of FP3 on Saturday, and feature race qualifying would stay in its usual spot throughout the season as the final session on Saturday.

This would then be the third format in four seasons for Formula 1’s sprint race experiment, after the sprint races in 2021 and 2022 ran a sprint qualifying format that set the grid for the race on Sunday. The proposal, if adopted, would continue the current practice of keeping the outcome of the sprint race officially detached from the proceedings of the feature race, penalties notwithstanding.

However, with the sprint race now happening right before feature race qualifying, the possibility of a DNF impacting race starting position may be increased, particularly if a major incident or mechanical failure is at fault.

Additionally, this change would result in the unusual rhythm of having a qualifying session taking place after a race at the sprint rounds. To what extent this would be a factor remains to be seen; it has been confirmed that there will be no additional sprint races next season, so the whole format will be no less anomalous even without the impending changes.

2024 F1 Sprint weekends

Friday: FP1 and Sprint Shootout

Saturday: Sprint and standard Qualifying

Sunday: Race