Welcome at RN365

You are logged in. Benefit directly from all the benefits of your account:

  • Share your thoughts and opinions about F1
  • Win fantastic prizes
  • Get access to our premium content
  • Take advantage of more exclusive benefits

Welcome at RN365

Become part of the largest racing community in the United Kingdom. Create your free account now!

  • Share your thoughts and opinions about F1
  • Win fantastic prizes
  • Get access to our premium content
  • Take advantage of more exclusive benefits
fri 26 mar - sun 28 mar
  • 1 HAM LAP 56
  • 2 VER + 0.745
  • 3 BOT + 37.383
ita
fri 16 apr - sun 18 apr
  • 1 VER LAP 63
  • 2 HAM + 22.000
  • 3 NOR + 23.702
bhr
por
fri 30 apr - sun 02 may
  • 1 HAM LAP 66
  • 2 VER + 29.148
  • 3 BOT + 33.530
ita
esp
fri 07 may - sun 09 may
  • 1 HAM LAP 66
  • 2 VER + 15.841
  • 3 BOT + 26.610
por
mco
thu 20 may - sun 23 may
Quali sat 22 may
Race sun 23 may
esp
aze
fri 04 jun - sun 06 jun
Quali sat 05 jun
Race sun 06 jun
mco
fra
fri 18 jun - sun 20 jun
Quali sat 19 jun
Race sun 20 jun
aze
aut
fri 25 jun - sun 27 jun
Quali sat 26 jun
Race sun 27 jun
fra
aut
fri 02 jul - sun 04 jul
Quali sat 03 jul
Race sun 04 jul
aut
gbr
fri 16 jul - sun 18 jul
Quali sat 17 jul
Race sun 18 jul
aut
hun
fri 30 jul - sun 01 aug
Quali sat 31 jul
Race sun 01 aug
gbr
bel
fri 27 aug - sun 29 aug
Quali sat 28 aug
Race sun 29 aug
hun
nld
fri 03 sep - sun 05 sep
Quali sat 04 sep
Race sun 05 sep
bel
ita
fri 10 sep - sun 12 sep
Quali sat 11 sep
Race sun 12 sep
nld
rus
fri 24 sep - sun 26 sep
Quali sat 25 sep
Race sun 26 sep
ita
sgp
fri 01 oct - sun 03 oct
Quali sat 02 oct
Race sun 03 oct
rus
jpn
fri 08 oct - sun 10 oct
Quali sat 09 oct
Race sun 10 oct
sgp
usa
fri 22 oct - sun 24 oct
Quali sat 23 oct
Race sun 24 oct
jpn
mex
fri 29 oct - sun 31 oct
Quali sat 30 oct
Race sun 31 oct
usa
bra
fri 05 nov - sun 07 nov
Quali sat 06 nov
Race sun 07 nov
mex
aus
fri 19 nov - sun 21 nov
Quali sat 20 nov
Race sun 21 nov
bra
sau
fri 03 dec - sun 05 dec
Quali sat 04 dec
Race sun 05 dec
aus
are
fri 10 dec - sun 12 dec
Quali sat 11 dec
Race sun 12 dec
sau
Start Monaco GP
Days
Hour
Min.
Sec.
Formula 1

Can sprint races avoid the fate of F1's last disastrous change to qualifying?

Several Formula 1 weekends will see a shake-up in the format in 2021, with sprint qualifying set to take place on Saturday afternoons. The hope will be that this change works better than the sport's infamous introduction of elimination qualifying in 2016.

Analysis
To news overview © Red Bull Content Pool / Getty Images

The F1 race weekend format will look a little different at three Grand Prix in 2021. It has been confirmed that sprint qualifying will take place on a Saturday afternoon at the select races, with traditional qualifying moved to Friday.

Drivers will go head-to-head in a 100km sprint race. Points will be awarded to the top three finishers, and the result of the event will determine the starting grid for Sunday's main race.

Whilst it has not yet been announced which circuits will host the new format, it is perhaps understandable that Formula 1 has opted to hesitantly test the waters by implementing the feature at just three races. Everyone involved in the sport will be wary of repeating the embarrassment of what happened the last time that a change was made to qualifying.

Back at the start of 2016, modifications were made to the three-stage knockout system whereby drivers would be eliminated throughout each session rather than at the end. In Q1, for example, the slowest driver would be knocked out after seven minutes, and then another driver would be eliminated every one and a half minutes until seven had found themselves on the sidelines by the end of the session.

This format would continue until the end of Q3, where the final one minute and 30 seconds would see the field whittled down to just two drivers battling for pole position.

			© Mercedes
	© Mercedes

The plans were instigated by Formula 1's former commercial boss Bernie Ecclestone less than one month before the start of the season, with the hope seemingly being that it would create increased excitement and competition.

This idea soon backfired massively. At the opening event of the 2016 season in Australia, elimination qualifying took place for the first time and proved unanimously unpopular. No cars were left on track at end the session, so the final result was decided with the cars remaining in the pits.

Team bosses quickly called for the new format to be abandoned with immediate effect. Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff said at the time: "We wanted to improve the show and we went in the wrong direction. It shows there is common sense in F1."

However, the FIA rejected the request and the same qualifying format was used again for the second race of the season in Bahrain. The spectacle proved to be just as lacking in entertainment, and eventually the decision was made to revert to the sport's previous qualifying at the following Grand Prix, much to the relief of personnel and fans alike. Elimination qualifying had died after just two races.

Since then, qualifying has not undergone any radical changes. The 2016 debacle was an embarrassing moment for the sport, and perhaps taught those involved to tread carefully when considering any possible format twists in the future.

Now sprint races are on the way, and the plans have had some mixed responses. F1's Managing Director Ross Brawn has admitted that the reservations of some figures in the sport meant that finalising the development took quite some time.

However, he insists that the drivers are open-minded about it, and that sprint qualifying will be dropped if it does not prove to be a success.

"We can evaluate this event and then we decide if in the future it forms a feature of the F1 season," Brawn told F1.com. "If it doesn’t work, we put hands up and we will think again."

An unsurprising call, because it is fair to say that nobody wants to see a repeat of the 2016 fiasco.

0 comments

    x
    Breaking Alonso on why Verstappen is best driver on F1 grid