Formula One adds 'sprint' qualifying to three races in 2021

Results from new format – where drivers compete over 100 km – will determine grid for Sunday's race

Formula One said on Monday it will debut a new sprint qualifying format at three races in the 2021 season after it was unanimously approved, with the events to be hosted at two European and one non-European Grands Prix.

The new format will have a qualifying session after the first free practice session on Friday to determine the grid for sprint qualifying on Saturday.

The results from sprint qualifying – where drivers will compete over 100 km – will determine the grid for Sunday's race while the top three finishers also receive three, two and one point respectively.

"I am delighted that all the teams supported this plan," Formula One president Stefano Domenicali said in a statement.

"It is a testament to our united efforts to continue to engage our fans in new ways while ensuring we remain committed to the heritage and meritocracy of our sport."

Domenicali had earlier said one of the sprint races would be at the British Grand Prix at Silverstone in July.

FIA president Jean Todt added: "I am pleased to see that Formula One is seeking new ways to engage with its fans and enlarge the spectacle of a race weekend through the concept of sprint qualifying.

"F1 is showing itself to be stronger than ever with all stakeholders working together in this way, and much has been done to ensure that the sporting, technical and financial aspects of the format are fair."

The next race weekend is the Portuguese Grand Prix from April 30-May 2.

Defending champion Lewis Hamilton of Mercedes leads the 2021 standings after two races with 44 points, one point ahead of Red Bull's Max Verstappen.

Earlier, Domenicali had revealed that a limited number of spectators could be allowed to attend the Monaco Grand Prix on May 23.

However, no fans will be allowed at the races in Portugal next weekend and Spain on May 9.

Published: April 26, 2021 08:48 PM

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