F1 has announced that the new sprint weekend format has been agreed upon for the Baku weekend among other changes.

The idea was floated in the early stages of F1 2023 where they wanted to have a standalone qualifying for the sprint weekends. The Friday qualifying would set the grid for Sunday’s main race, while a extra qualifying would take place on Saturday.

That would replace the FP2 session and that qualifying would then decide the grid for the sprint race thereby allowing F1 drivers to attack in the mini races without thinking about their starting position for the Sunday’s main grand prix.

The Saturday qualifying would then make it an exciting day overall without the need of FP2 where the F1 teams are unable to do anything with the car under parc ferme rules. While the idea was more or less agreed, but the starting point was contentious.

But during Tuesday’s F1 Commission meet, the idea was given a go ahead for this weekend’s Baku race where a short qualifying will take place on Saturday morning. The name given is ‘Sprint Shootout’ as the sprint races become a standalone event now.

The shortened sprint qualifying will see 12 minutes for Q1, 10 minutes for Q2 and eight for Q3 in the traditional format but with less time. In terms of tyres, there will be 12 sets given as opposed to 13 and drivers will have to use mediums only in Q1 and Q2.

For Q3, they can use the soft tyre considering there will only be time for one run plan across three sessions. In terms of penalties, any penalty incurred during the FP1 session will apply for the main race only along with any power unit penalties.

Meanwhile, any parc ferme penalty which will result in a pitlane start, it will be for both the sprint and the main race. But any penalties occurred during sprint shootout, the penalty will be only applied to the sprint race.

Here’s the F1 Commission’s note on sprint approval –

Following discussion at the F1 Commission meeting in February, clear objectives were set by the FIA, Formula 1 and all teams to investigate how the Sprint format could be improved to increase the level of intensity on-track across the weekend, making as many sessions as possible result in a competitive sporting outcome. Following this mandate, the sport’s Advisory Committees and key Formula 1 stakeholders returned a series of recommendations targeting a Sprint format that exists separately within a Grand Prix weekend and does not result in the Sprint setting the grid for Sunday’s main event, delivers more ‘jeopardy’ though a reduction in practice time and provides a greater incentive to drivers to race hard on Saturday.

The Sprint will therefore become a standalone element, with a qualifying session – to be called Sprint Shootout – to determine the grid for the Sprint, which will carry the same points system as last season. The outcome of the Sprint will therefore no longer determine the grid for the Grand Prix, with Qualifying for the Grand Prix taking place on Friday. The proposals that have been agreed by all stakeholders result in the following format changes:

  • Friday – A single Free Practice session followed by Qualifying for the Grand Prix (standard Qualifying format).
  • Saturday – Qualifying for the Sprint (Sprint Shootout) followed by the Sprint.
  • Sunday – Grand Prix.

The Sprint Shootout will be a shortened version of traditional Qualifying:

  • SQ1 for all 20 drivers will be 12 minutes.
  • SQ2 for the remaining 15 drivers will be 10 minutes.
  • SQ3 for the remaining top ten drivers will be 8 minutes.


  • For the Sprint weekend in Baku the dry allocation will be 2x Hard, 4x Medium, 6x Soft.
  • Tyre returns will be limited to only after P1 and the Sprint.
  • There will be a limit of 1 set of mandatory specification unused dry tyres for each Sprint Shootout period. Hence: SQ1: 1x Medium, SQ2: 1x Medium, SQ3: 1x Soft.

Penalties will be applied as follows:

  • A grid penalty incurred in P1 or Qualifying will apply to the Race.
  • A grid penalty incurred in the Shootout will apply to the Sprint
  • A grid penalty incurred in the Sprint will apply to the Race.
  • A breach of parc fermé will result in a pitlane start for the Sprint and Race.
  • PU penalties will only apply to the Race (unless they are also a parc fermé breach).

Following this successful vote and concurrent approval by the World Motor Sport Council by e-vote, all stakeholders believe that this will boost the spectacle of Sprint weekends and enhance track action for fans around the world. Thanks to the close working relationship between the FIA, FOM as well as the sport’s ten Formula 1 teams, moving the changes from concept to regulation has been accomplished swiftly and positively.

Among other changes, the F1 Commission interestingly approved the increment of power unit elements like ICE, TC, MGU-H and MGU-K from three to four for the 2023 season. They have also increased the grid procedure time from 40 to 50 minutes.

This is done so because at certain events, the F1 drivers will be specially presented to the fans. The final change was made to the the ruling of ‘working on a car’ after the fiasco in Saudi Arabia with regards to Aston Martin and Fernando Alonso.

In terms of the Cost Cap regulations, the FIA has allowed certain sustainability approaches and programmes to be done outside the given amount. Thing like ‘costs associated with installing sustainable infrastructure, auditing and monitoring of Competitors’ carbon footprint, donations to charities engaged in the promotion of environmental sustainability projects and carbon offset programmes’ won’t be counted under Cost Cap.


Proposals to increase the number of Power Unit elements were discussed during the meeting, with approval given to increase the number of Internal Combustion Engine (ICE), Turbo Charger, MGU-H and MGU-K elements for 2023 only from three (3) to four (4).

The time allocated to the grid procedure for a Grand Prix will be increased from 40 to 50 minutes. At certain races, this additional time will be used for the presentation of the drivers to the fans. The updated definition of ‘working on a car’ during a pit stop penalty (Article 54.4.c) that was introduced as a Sporting Directive in March will be included within the Sporting Regulations.

A specifically dedicated working group within the Financial Advisory Committee (FAC) has developed a proposal for the introduction of an exclusion of costs in respect of certain sustainability initiatives from 2023 onwards, with particular focus on environmental concerns.

Following support from the FAC members and approval of the Commission, certain Sustainability Initiative Costs will now be excluded from the Cost Cap. These exclusions cover, amongst other things, costs associated with installing sustainable infrastructure, auditing and monitoring of Competitors’ carbon footprint, donations to charities engaged in the promotion of environmental sustainability projects and carbon offset programmes. The FAC will continue to refine this regulation.

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