This weekend we are going to see something that has never happened in Formula 1. The normal format of first practice, then qualifying and then the race is changing. All this because Formula 1 is going to test with sprint races. The sprint race is a short race to determine the starting grid of the real race. The idea of these sprint races came up to shake up the GP weekend, create more tension and get more action in a weekend.
This is how an F1 weekend with a sprint race works
This weekend we will first see a free training session of one hour on Friday. Qualifying takes place on the same day, as we normally see on Saturday. The result of the qualification then determines the starting order for the short sprint race on Saturday. Drivers are allowed to train for one hour on Saturday.
The sprint race itself will be run over a distance of about 100 kilometers. That’s a third of a normal race, making the sprint race about half an hour. The result of this short race determines the line-up for the main race on Sunday. In addition, the winner of the sprint race scores three points, P2 scores two points and the last podium spot gets a single point. On Sunday is the same as normal.
Because this is the first time we have a GP weekend, it is still difficult to say whether this is an improvement. Robert Doornbos says the following about it: ‘How much risk do you want to take to be on pole position on Sunday? Or do you think “this is just the sprint race, I think P3 is enough”? I hope there will be racing, given the budget cap of the teams also plays a role. Hopefully the drivers still dare to race hard and they are not afraid of the costs that may cause damage.’
Important weekend for Mercedes
In addition to the new format, it is of course still about the points this weekend. After Toto Wolff previously announced that it would have no more upgrades for the rest of the season, we will see new parts on the Mercedes again this weekend. Those new upgrades will close the gap that the team has had to close to Red Bull. In addition, it is the home race for Lewis Hamilton, so the pressure is high for the team from Brackley this weekend.
Dates and times of the 2021 Great Britain GP
Friday, July 16, 2021
1st free practice: 3:30 PM – 4:30 PM
Qualification: 7:00 PM – 8:00 PM
Saturday 17 July 2021
2nd free practice: 1:00 PM – 2:00 PM
sprint race: 5:30 PM – 6:30 PM
Sunday 18 July 2021
Race: 4 p.m.