Formula 1 set to change Sprint race format yet again for 2024
Sprint races continue to split opinion.
Formula One is set to yet again change the format of the divisive Sprint races ahead of the 2024 season.
In a meeting of the F1 Commission ahead of this weekend’s season finale in Abu Dhabi, changes to the Sprint were discussed with team bosses reportedly approving a slight tweak to their format.
First introduced in 2021, the Sprint is in essence a shorter race held on the Saturday before the main grand prix on Sunday.
For 2023, there were six sprint weekends and their format was changed so that practice and qualifying for the main race was on Friday, qualifying for and the Sprint itself was on Saturday and then finally the main race on Sunday.
At the start of the season, this schedule got the approval of many drivers and team bosses, including Haas’ Guenther Steiner, but now the format has been criticised for creating a disconnect between the main qualifying and race.
Those opposed to the Sprint, like reigning champion Max Verstappen, have repeatedly expressed that they feel pointless and uninteresting.
As such, it has been proposed that qualifying for the sprint be moved to Friday, with the sprint on Saturday before qualifying for the main grand prix.
There are also reports that the idea of reversing at least some portion of the grid for the sprint has been floated around again.
What changes are made are expected to be officially confirmed in the new year with an announcement over which grand prix will host the Sprint weekends to made in the new few weeks.
Discussing how to improve the Sprint, Red Bull boss Christian Horner told BBC Sport: ‘It is clear the sprints need to evolve a bit. I understand the concept and action on all three days, but they have at times been slightly underwhelming.
‘If there can be a bit more racing introduced, perhaps, [it would be good] but then you have to look at what the consequences of that are, if you were to reverse the grid etc.’
For more stories like this, check our sport page.