F1 confirms changes to sprint race format for 2024

F1 confirms changes to sprint race format for 2024

Formula 1 is resetting the sprint race format for 2024 F1 in an attempt to address a significant issue from the previous season.

Significant changes to the sprint race format for the 2024 F1 season have been confirmed by Formula One and the sport’s governing body, the FIA, following the first meeting of the Formula 1 Commission this year.

The Formula 1 Commission met for the first time in 2024 on Monday at the sport’s Management offices in London ahead of the season kickoff. FIA Single-Seater Director Nikolas Tombazis and Formula 1 President and CEO Stefano Domenicali presided over the meeting.

The F1 teams have settled on making changes to the sprint race format for the 2024 season, among other important discussion points.

Saturdays will once again host grand prix qualifying, which is a big change to the schedule for the six sprint race weekends that will take place for the upcoming season.

The shorter Saturday races under the previous format added excitement, but parc ferme regulations sparked criticism.

Teams were forced to take a gamble with locked car setups following just one practice session. Drivers and strategy makers were often frustrated if they made poor setup choices during sprint qualifying or the race, which resulted in losing their grid position for Sunday’s race due to parc ferme regulations.

To solve this issue, a new schedule has been adopted for the 2024 F1 Sprint race format.

Fridays will be dedicated to free practice and sprint qualifying. On Saturdays, the actual sprint race will start the day with qualifying following later in the day.

This gives teams the much-needed flexibility they need: after the sprint race, parc ferme can be reopened, giving everyone the chance to review data and tweak setups in response to points learnt from the F1 sprint race.

This creates opportunities for strategy and prevents drivers from being penalized for early setup options that may not be suitable in the weekend’s longrun.

The F1 Commission approved the updated format on Monday, and the World Motorsport Council is scheduled to formally approve its adoption on February 28.

Sprint weekend fans are likely to anticipate a more exciting and productive experience. Saturday qualifying brings a routine pattern back to the build-up to the big event on Sunday, but there’s still an additional element of action and competition thanks to the sprint race.

The six Sprint events this season will be held in China, Miami, Austria, Austin, Sao Paulo, and Qatar as Baku and Spa no longer count as Sprint events.

The F1 Commission also made decisions regarding other issues. The troubling power unit allocation restriction which limited drivers to using only three engines, is receiving a well-earned break. F1 is giving drivers four ICEs, MGU-K, MGU-H, and turbocharger elements for 2024 and 2025, going back to the 2023 format.

Another change is being made to the popular Drag Reduction System (DRS), which makes overtaking maneuvers easier. The days of having to wait two laps for any action are long gone. Now, after a safety car restart or just one lap into the race, the race director has the authority to let open the DRS.

This should increase lead changes and early positioning battles, which will keep spectators entertained.

The FIA is not only addressing current issues but also setting the foundation for future developments with talks about the regulations for 2026.

These discussions center on finances and sustainability, which are essential to the sport’s long-term viability and its dedication to a more environmentally friendly future.

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