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Formula 1

What is a Formula 1 Sprint race?

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During 3 special Grand Prix weekends during the 2022 season, drivers and teams compete for points and Grand Prix starting placement in what’s called a Sprint race. Think of it like a mini-GP with some rule adjustments.

What you need to know
  1. Sprint races occur the day after Qualifying and are like mini versions of the Grand Prix, capped at roughly ⅓ the racing distance and with other rule adjustments
  2. Race performance determines starting positions for the Grand Prix and, for the top 8 drivers, earns a share of 36 points
  3. There are only 3 in 2022: Italy’s Emilia Romagna Grand Prix (April), the Austrian Grand Prix (July), and Brazil’s São Paulo Grand Prix (November)

It's a sprint not a marathon

Sprint races take place after teams complete Qualifying and before the Grand Prix.

Sprint comes after Qualifying but before the Grand Prix

A Sprint race is like a mini Grand Prix with some rule adjustments. Most obvious are the distance drivers cover and therefore the time they are racing. While drivers use the same track, Sprints are capped at 100km or roughly ⅓ the racing distance of a Grand Prix.

In addition to the abbreviated schedule, rule adjustments are in play. Most notably, teams can use any of the three tire compounds (Soft, Medium, Hard) and there is no pit stop requirement.

Let’s use this year’s Sprint in Imola, Italy as an example:

Sprint vs. Grand Prix comparison

Position and points

Like Qualifying, Sprint race results convert into starting grid positions for the next event (the Grand Prix). Unlike Qualifying, however, Sprint races also award points. The top 8 drivers split 36 points, with 8 going to first place scaling down to just 1 for the eighth place finisher. The bottom 12 drivers earn nothing.

There is no pole position title or fastest lap bonus from a Sprint race.

Imola Grand Prix 2022 Sprint race results and points awarded

Absence makes the heart grow fonder

Sprint races are few and far between, with just 3 on the race calendar during the 2022 season:

  1. Imola, Italy (Round 4 - April 22-24)
  2. Austria (Round 11 - July 8-10)
  3. São Paulo (Round 21 - November 11-13)

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