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F1 approves Sprint format changes, Sprint Shootout introduction

The Formula 1 Commission have voted in favour of making changes to the Azerbaijan Grand Prix schedule and will look to introduce the Sprint Shootout.

Changes to Formula 1's Sprint weekend format have been approved ahead of the Azerbaijan Grand Prix after the F1 Commission voted "unanimously" in favour of the proposals. With Formula 1 aiming to improve the intensity of racing in the Sprint races - which have been a part of the sport since 2021 - the FIA, F1 and the ten teams agreed that the Sprint should be a 'standalone' event. Previously, drivers took part in qualifying on the Friday, which determined the grid for the Saturday Sprint. The result of the Sprint then determined the grid for the Grand Prix on Sunday. Now a separate, shorter qualifying session, called the Sprint Shootout, will take place on Saturday mornings and replace FP2. This means that the independent Sprint qualifying and race will all take place on Saturday. Friday's running will still include a practice session, which is now the only one of the weekend, and the traditional qualifying hour, which determines the grid for Sunday's Grand Prix, as per conventional F1 weekends.

The Sprint Shootout will be a shorter version of traditional qualifying, with the new Q1, Q2 and Q3 sessions running for 12, 10 and 8 minutes respectively. The new qualifying format will also trial dedicated tyre compounds for each segment of qualifying, and teams will have a slightly reduced tyre allocation for a Sprint weekend. The points handed out in the Sprint race will remain the same: 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1. It's hoped that the change will remove an element of caution to the Sprint races, with drivers electing to take fewer chances and risk dropping to the back of the field for the main Grand Prix. Teams were understood to have agreed to the alterations at the Australian Grand Prix, but the approval by the F1 Commission, and ratification by the World Motor Sport Council, was required.

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