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Austrian Grand Prix 2023

F1's Sprint weekend format explained

Confused by the Sprint format for this weekend's Austrian Grand Prix? Don't worry - RacingNews365 has got you covered.

Start Baku sprint 2023
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To news overview © XPBimages

First introduced into Formula 1 in 2021, the Sprint format has undergone a few changes for 2023.

Previously, drivers took part in qualifying on the Friday, which determined the grid for Saturday's Sprint. The result of the Sprint then determined the grid for the Grand Prix on Sunday.

However, a change for 2023 now sees a separate, shorter qualifying session, called the Sprint Shootout, taking place on Saturday mornings and replacing FP2. This means that the independent Sprint qualifying and race all take place on Saturday.

Friday's running still includes 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.

Under the previous format, FP2 was seen to be largely pointless, as the cars were under parc ferme conditions due to Qualifying having already taken place, meaning all major setup decisions had already been made, and drivers saw little point risking their cars given the short gap to the Sprint.

2021-2022 Sprint weekend format

Friday Saturday Sunday
Free Practice 1 Free Practice 2 Grand Prix
Sprint Qualifying Sprint

Current Sprint weekend format

Friday Saturday Sunday
Free Practice 1 Sprint Shootout Grand Prix
Qualifying Sprint

What has changed for the Austrian GP weekend?

The Sprint Shootout is a shorter version of traditional Qualifying, with the new SQ1, SQ2 and SQ3 sessions running for 12, 10 and 8 minutes respectively, and teams have a slightly reduced tyre allocation for a Sprint weekend.

The points handed out in the Sprint race remain the same as in previous seasons: 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1.

However, F1's Sprint regulations have been further tweaked for the Austrian Grand Prix in order to overcome tyre-related issues that arose at the first Sprint of 2023 in Azerbaijan.

In the Sprint Shootout in Baku, drivers had to use new Medium tyres in SQ1 and SQ2 before using new Softs in the final stage.

But teams were not obliged to save a set of new Softs for SQ3 and instead could use up their allocation in the sole practice session and the main qualifying hour on Friday.

This was the case for McLaren's Lando Norris and AlphaTauri's Yuki Tsunoda, though only the Briton made it into SQ3. Had both drivers made the final segment of the Shootout, the rules allowed for Intermediate tyres to be used in order to start ninth rather than tenth.

However, amendments to the regulations now allow any set of Soft tyres to be used in SQ3.

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F1 2023 Austrian Grand Prix RN365 News dossier

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