This year’s edition of the British Grand Prix will feature a big change to the weekend schedule and format. Instead of your typical three free practice runs, one qualifying session and a race. We will now have two free practice runs, two qualifying sessions and a race. It will be the introduction to the new sprint qualifying. This change will also be happening during the Italian GP (September 9-12) and the São Paulo GP (November 4-7). Here are the details to the new format:
- Free Practice 1 (1 hour)
- Teams will get to freely choose two sets of compound tires.
- Parc Ferme will begin after practice.
- Qualifying (3 sessions)
- Regular time trial format to determine the starting grid for the Sprint Qualifying.
- Teams will be given five soft compound tires to use, no other compounds will be provided.
- Free Practice 2 (1 hour)
- Teams can only choose one set of tire compound.
- Parc Ferme will be released during this practice.
- Sprint Qualifying (17 laps)
- 100km sprint race (⅓ of race distance)
- Teams can choose between any two sets of compound tires.
- The result of the race will determine the starting grid for the race on Sunday.
- The top three finishers will receive points that will go towards the Drivers Championship standings.
- 1st = 3 points
- 2nd = 2 points
- 3rd = 1 point
- Parc Ferme will return prior to the session.
- Race (51 laps)
- Teams will choose which tire compound they will start the race one.
- Cars will be placed in a “quarantined environment” overnight ahead of the race.
Being a relatively new fan to Formula One, I have only known the “current” race weekend schedule. Personally, I don’t usually chime into the weekend’s events until qualifying on Saturday. I am excited for these new changes as they will entice me to watch all three days of the race weekend. I am also giving props to F1 for doing such a drastic change to their format, they have used since 2010. They have gone through seven qualifying format changes since its inception in 1950. Since they are applying this format for three race weekends, it will allow for a maximum amount of exposure and they can make a proper educated decision about whether they could continue with it. I am also looking forward to seeing the drivers race for their starting grid position on race day. Also, this staggered qualifying format allows each session to determine the following sessions starting grid and ultimately decides the final starting grid for the race. I believe that it will allow for the drivers and cars with true race pace to be awarded on Sunday.
Eastern Time Zone Schedule
- Free Practice 1 (9:30-10:30)
- Qualifying (13:00-14:00)
- Free Practice 2 (7:00-8:00)
- Spring Qualifying (11:30-12:00)
- Race (10:00-12:00)