The 3 changes made to the sprint races for 2022

After the success of Formula 1’s sprint races in 2021, the FIA have decided to bring back the fixture in limited capacity with a new scoring format.

Following the Saturday excitement of Formula 1‘s sprint qualifying races last year, the FIA have brought the format back for another three weekends in the 2022 season — with more potentially coming in due time.

Capped off by a monumental comeback from Lewis Hamilton at Interlagos to put himself in fighting position on Sunday at the peak of his title fight with Max Verstappen, each of the 2021 season’s three sprint races had its own excitement, whether that be at the front among title contenders or in a feisty midfield scrapping for starting position the next day.

All of this was still achieved with regulations which actively prevented overtaking and consistent wheel-to-wheel action. Alongside a scoring format which only awarded podium finishers with minimal points, the grid took to the concept strongly and refused to hold back to protect their conventional grid position (i.e. Sergio Perez at Silverstone).

Two sprint race venue changes

After having the sprint races at three historic venues in 2021 (Silverstone, Monza and Interlagos), Formula 1 will continue the trend of having their sprint race weekends at some of the most well-documented venues in the history of the sport with Imola and Austria complementing Interlagos.

While they are keeping one sprint Italian, homefield advantage switches from the hands of Hamilton to Verstappen at the Red Bull Ring.

A new points format

More importantly than the setting for these Saturday clashes though will be the new expanded point-scoring format for these events. The new scoring format can be seen below:

  • 1st: Eight points
  • 2nd: Seven points
  • 3rd: Six points
  • 4th: Five points
  • 5th: Four points
  • 6th: Three points
  • 7th: Two points
  • 8th: One point

The new sprint race scoring format will not only increase the potential gain for championship contenders, but it will incite brutal scraps in the midfield for the final couple of points available on a Saturday.

This new format will also further reward drivers who can put themselves at the front in a traditional qualifying session, with the chance to score up to the equivalent of a sixth place Sunday finish even before the Grand Prix gets underway.

With a grand total of 108 points available on three Saturdays this season, and a leading driver having the potential to collect up to 34 points in a single weekend (eight for sprint victory, 25 for Grand Prix victory, one for fastest lap), we could likely witness even more drama in the run-up to lights out on a given Sunday, given the potential for drivers to make massive swings in the point standings.

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