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Formula 1

The exciting prospect in F1's new sprint format

Formula 1's latest qualifying format is set to bring plenty of new challenges for the teams and drivers at this weekend's British Grand Prix. But there is one key factor which has the potential to cause some drama.

Hamilton Leclerc silverstone
Analysis
To news overview © Mercedes

F1's sprint format has split opinion without a wheel being turned as some people including Lewis Hamilton it may turn Saturday's 100km race into a procession.

There will be no mandatory pit stops, with points on offer for the top three finishers of Saturday's race at Silverstone.

Just one free practice session before Friday's 'normal' knockout qualifying could create its own problems but there is one factor which will be watched very closely throughout the weekend.

For both the sprint race and the main race, there will be a free tyre choice meaning the drivers can choose to start on either the C1 hard tyre, C2 medium or C3 soft.

Normally, those who qualify in the top 10 have to start the Grand Prix on the tyres they used in Q2. This typically disadvantages those who use the soft tyre to get into Q3 which tends to be the midfield runners.

At this weekend's British GP, there will be none of that which creates the possibility of some unpredictability.

British Grand Prix 2021 tyre allocation

Hard C1 Medium C2 Soft C3
2 4 6

You would think that the teams will use all of their data and simulations to start on the same tyre compound. But, this might not be the case with as the medium and hard tyres are often an unknown quantity depending on what car you are driving.

It would be a shock to see anyone start on the soft tyres for the sprint race but it's not clear whether the teams will favour the mediums or the hards.

If there is a split, the opening laps will be very entertaining with drivers on different compounds, trying to navigate themselves through the glorious high-speed turns of Silverstone.

This could be where the intrigue comes from during the 17-lap Saturday race. On Sunday, the same process applies with a free starting tyre choice.

A situation could arise where Mercedes and Red Bull divert their starting tyres which will be fascinating. We see the same dynamic in F2 and it often creates some entertaining action during the race.

Hot temperatures are expected at the British GP and tyres will almost certainly play a key part in this new qualifying format.

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F1 2021 British Grand Prix RN365 News dossier

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