FIA confirms sprint rule changes ahead of Austrian Grand Prix

FIA confirms sprint rule changes ahead of Austrian Grand Prix

Ahead of the Austrian Grand Prix, Formula 1 Sprint rules underwent a further change to address problems arising from the Azerbaijan Grand Prix.

The already controversial Sprint format underwent changes at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix earlier this year, and the rules’ wording has since undergone another revision.

The second Sprint weekend of the 2023 season kicks off with the Spielberg event. The first was held in Azerbaijan, when the controversial format underwent a significant change.

This weekend, Austria will resume using the same format. However, the limits on the types of tires that teams may utilize during that session will be slightly altered.

Before the Baku race, new regulations were put into place that separated Saturday’s events from the Grand Prix. A new qualifying Shootout was added to replace what was FP2.

Drivers had to utilize brand-new Medium tyres in SQ1 and SQ2 of this Shootout before switching to brand-new Softs in the final stage, which decided the grid for the Sprint.

Teams could use up their allotment during Friday’s main qualifying hour and one practice session, however they were not required to save a set of brand-new Softs for SQ3.

This turned out to be the case for Lando Norris of McLaren and Yuki Tsunoda of AlphaTauri, however only the British driver advanced to SQ3. The rules permitted Intermediate tyres to be used in order to start ninth rather than tenth if both drivers had advanced to the Shootout’s final phase.

They ultimately chose to remain in the garage and merely start from position 10 on the grid. However, the FIA has made a modest tweak to the rule’s language to avoid future temptations for teams to utilize tyres intended for damp weather in dry conditions.

Teams are no longer required to use a fresh set of soft tires; instead, they are free to use a pair that has already been used on the course. This change was acknowledged in the event notes that the FIA disseminated ahead of this weekend’s race.

“Consultation has occurred with the commercial rights holder, stewards and teams,” a statement according to the event reports written by race director Niels Wittich read. “The agreement of the FIA, the commercial rights holder and nine competitors has been obtained in accordance with Article 1.4.”

“Accordingly, my decision is that Article 30.5 h) iv) be modified to read as follows – Article 30.5 h) iv revised wording, ‘In the period SQ3 of the sprint shootout, up to one set of dry-weather tyres may be used, and this must only be a set of the n̵e̵w̵ soft specification.”

Teams are now able to use all of their soft tyre sets in qualifying on Friday and SQ3 the following day thanks to the change. While nine of the ten teams approved of the new way of working, it is now unclear which team opposed it.

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