Formula One action returns with the British Grand Prix this weekend. The Silverstone Circuit, where the championship started in 1950, will see rivals Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen race for a podium finish. However, an experimental new race format poses a fresh challenge for title rivals on their return this weekend. Over 100,000 fans are expected to descend at Silverstone on Sunday, making it the biggest sporting crowd in Britain since the pandemic struck two years ago.
However, they will witness Formula One history being made with the debut of the Sprint Qualifying format. F1 is all set to introduce the new feature at three Grand Prix this year and it is widely understood Silverstone and Monza are two of the three in the running, while details about mostly a non-European venue will be revealed soon. The first of three tracks that will trial a 100km half-hour long race to decide pole position and set the grid for the next day’s main event. The new feature is also a new step for the fans who can look forward to meaningful action on all three days.
According to details on the F1 website, the schedule looks a bit different as qualifying being moved to Friday, replacing the second one-hour practice session, and the F1 Sprint slotting into its place on Saturday afternoon. On Friday all 10 participating teams will get an hour of first practice in the morning session in which teams can freely choose two sets of tyres. While a three-part qualifying session starting on Friday afternoon will also double up as grid placement/position for The Sprint. Meaning teams only have one hour on track to set up their cars before the competitive action and a mistake on Friday is likely to carry far bigger consequences.
On Saturday, the teams will get a 60-minute second free practice in the morning with one set of tyres for the teams to choose freely. The afternoon will be dedicated for the new F1 Sprint session, the results will set the grid for Sunday’s main race. Additionally, points will be on offer for the top three finishers on Saturday, meaning a driver who wins both races and sets the fastest lap on Sunday can bag a maximum 29.
The following day, fans can enjoy a full distance Grand Prix with two remaining sets of tyres for the teams.