Formula One organizers on Monday announced plans to introduce a sprint race format for qualifying to help improve the spectacle of the sport.
The new format will be used for the first time this season, during a total of three grands prix of which two will be held in Europe. The dates are still to be determined but the first is expected to be during the British Grand Prix in mid-July.
At present, each F1 round consists of Friday's practice, Saturday's qualifying and Sunday's race, with drivers racing against the clock during qualifying to determine the starting grid for Sunday's race.
Under the new format, there will be a traditional time-based qualifying session held after practice on Friday to determine the starting grid for the sprint race to be held on Saturday. The results of the sprint race will then determine the starting grid for Sunday's race.
Bahrain International Circuit, home of the Formula One Bahrain Grand Prix
To reward drivers and help improve the competition, the top three finishers in the sprint race will receive championship points, with first place receiving three points, second place two points and third place one point.
The sprint race will run for 62 miles and there will be two sets of tires for teams to choose freely. Additional sets of tires will be available in the event of wet conditions. Changing of major components for the cars will be blocked from the start of the traditional qualifying session on Friday, known in F1 as Parc Ferme.
In a statement, F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali said the new format has the support of all the teams.
“I am delighted that all the teams supported this plan, and it is a testament to our united efforts to continue to engage our fans in new ways while ensuring we remain committed to the heritage and meritocracy of our sport,” he said.