After the sprint weekends were overhauled at the beginning of 2023, it was already up in the air at the end of the season that there would be another change to the weekend format. The Formula 1 Commission has now approved these changes, the FIA reports. From now on, Saturday will no longer be entirely dedicated to the sprint races, as the Sprint Shootout will move to Friday afternoon.
The sprint races were held for the first time in 2021. In the first year of the shorter Saturday races, three sprint races were held, just like in 2022. The result of the sprint race served as the starting grid for the Grand Prix on Sunday, and only the top three received points. This system was overhauled in 2023, after criticism arose that drivers were avoiding risks in sprint races because they did not want to risk a good starting position for the main race.
On the eve of the 2023 season, it was confirmed that qualifying for the Grand Prix would take place on Friday evening, while Saturday was all about the sprint race, with the Sprint Shootout first and then the sprint race itself. However, it caused confusion for fans that qualifying was taking place for the Sprint Shootout, so it was once again suggested that there would be a change. This has now been approved. During the sprint weekends, the only free training takes place on Friday, followed by the Sprint Shootout. The sprint race will first be held on Saturday, and later in the day it will be time for qualifying for the Grand Prix, which will then be scheduled for Sunday.
Six sprint weekends in 2024
Just like in 2023, there will be six sprints in 2024. The first sprint race is organized in China, which has been missing from the calendar for the past four years. Furthermore, two sprint races will take place in the United States: in Miami and in Austin. The other sprint races will be held in Austria, Brazil and Qatar, three circuits that have already organized a sprint race in 2023.
Changes to rules for power units
Present at the meeting were Formula 1 CEO Stefano Domenicali and Nikolas Tombazis, the FIA’s responsible for Formula 1. They also saw how changes to the technical and sporting regulations were approved. For example, the green light was given for the use of four instead of three power units per driver in 2024 and 2025. Furthermore, the DRS is now activated after just one lap. Previously it took another two laps before the rear wing opened.