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‘Sprint Shootout’ part of F1’s revised format

The sprint will be held with its own qualifying session for the first time in Baku after new rules were formally approved by the World Motor Sport Council on Tuesday following a unanimous vote at the latest F1 Commission meeting in Geneva.

The changes will see a one-hour practice session on Friday morning followed by normal qualifying for Sunday’s grand prix. 

Saturday will now solely be designated to the sprint. FP2 will be replaced by a new ‘Sprint Shootout’ qualifying session which will determine the grid for the sprint race later that day. 

This qualifying will follow the same format for normal qualifying, but with descending time (12 mins for Q1, 10 mins for Q2 and 8 mins for Q3). 

For the additional Saturday qualifying, teams will be required to use new medium tyres in Q1 and Q2, before switching to softs for Q3. 

The intention of the changes is to add more jeopardy in Q3 and potentially result in pole position being decided by a single-lap shootout. 

The sprint race will have the same points as last year, with eight points up for grabs for the winner and one point on offer for finishing in eighth. 

Crucially, and unlike in 2021 and 2022, the outcome of the sprint will no longer have any bearing on the grid for Sunday’s grand prix. 

The changes have largely been supported by the drivers, though reigning world champion Max Verstappen remains one of the biggest critics of the concept. 

The Red Bull driver even issued a quit threat if F1 continues to tinker with the format of a grand prix weekend. 

What about penalties? 

Grid penalties picked up in FP1 and Friday qualifying will apply to the grand prix, while grid penalties in the Sprint Shootout will be applied for the sprint race. 

Grid penalties handed out in the sprint race will be carried over into the grand prix.

Parc ferme breaches will result in a pit lane start in both the sprint and Sunday’s race.

Any engine-related grid penalties will only apply to the grand prix. 

The FIA have also confirmed approval was given to increase the number of Internal Combustion Engine (ICE), Turbo Charger, MGU-H and MGU-K elements from three to four for 2023. 

Azerbaijan GP sprint weekend format 

Friday: Practice 1, Qualifying 

Saturday: Sprint Shootout, Sprint Race

Sunday: Azerbaijan Grand Prix 

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