Following discussions on changes to the Sprint race weekends, the Formula 1 teams have reached an agreement on amendments to the Azerbaijan Grand Prix weekend format.
Prior to the Australian GP, it was confirmed that discussions were taking place to change the schedule for the next event in Baku, which is the first Sprint race weekend of the season.
The current Sprint weekend format, which has been used since its inception, is to have FP1 and qualifying on the Friday, FP2 and the Sprint on Saturday, then the grand prix as usual on the Sunday.
Red Bull Team Principal Christian Horner had spoken out against this format for the Azerbaijan race, which has developed a reputation for holding races of attrition.
Now, RacingNews365 understands that an agreement has been reached between the ten Formula 1 teams to alter the format to have two qualifying sessions.
Under the proposal, Saturday morning's free practice two session would be replaced by new qualifying session for the Sprint, with the existing qualifying session, which takes place on Friday afternoon remaining in place for the grand prix.
The secondary aim would be to remove an otherwise pointless FP2 session on Saturday morning, where teams are currently restricted in what they can do to the cars, owing to the parc fermé conditions from Friday afternoon's qualifying.
F1 teams mutually agreed
Formula One team bosses met together on Sunday morning prior to the Australian Grand Prix to discuss potential schedule alterations.
Among other things, the idea of trialling a different qualifying format for the Sprint race, where all drivers get one flying lap, was discussed, but the idea was taken off the table.
Instead, if the plan goes through, qualifying for the Sprint race will take place on Saturday and will adhere to the same style as normal qualifying (with a Q1, Q2 and Q3), although the sessions may be somewhat shorter than qualifying on Friday.
This would be because of a potential shortage of tyres and to reduce the stress on key parts such as power unit components.
Proposed Sprint race weekend format
|Friday||First free practice|
|Grand Prix Qualifying|
|Saturday||Sprint Race Qualifying|
F1 journalist Dieter Rencken: There are still hurdles before it's approved
The fact that the teams are in mutual agreement, however, does not mean that the idea will be put into action definitively as early as four weeks from now. F1 boss Stefano Domenicali, who proposed the idea, would still have to agree with any potential tweaks that the teams require.
RacingNews365.com Editorial Director Dieter Rencken explains that there are further hurdles if the plans are to be implemented at such short notice: "The motorsport federation will still have to agree to the ideas in the short term if they are to become reality. The ideas will first have to be discussed in the various advisory committees."
"Then it has to be approved, through a vote, by the F1 Commission, where the ten F1 teams (one vote each), the FIA (ten votes) and the F1 bosses (ten votes) all have a say. Since the rule changes would be for the very short term, the overwhelming majority of at least 28 out of 30 votes must be in favour."
"Finally, the World Motor Sport Council, the highest FIA body, will still have to give its blessing to the changes and only then can the new format be implemented."