Silverstone is all set to become the first circuit to trial Formula One’s new sprint qualifying format, the British Grand Prix. The Sprint Qualifying starts at 1630hrs local time and the Sprint Qualifying will be a race run over 100km and lasting around 25-30 minutes. It is designed to provide a short and fast-paced racing spectacle – with drivers racing flat-out from start to finish without the need to pit.
Last month it was confirmed that teams and bosses had agreed unanimously to debut a new points-scoring qualifying race at three grands prix this season.
Points will be awarded to the top three finishers, three for the winner down to one point for third. There won’t be a podium ceremony, as that honour will remain the privilege of the top three in Sunday’s Grand Prix, however the winner will get a trophy in Parc Ferme, presented in a similar manner to the tyre the pole-sitter currently from F1’s tyre supplier Pirelli after qualifying now.
The finishing order of the race will define the grid for Sunday’s showpiece event – the Grand Prix, where the traditional format will remain unchanged.
“We are incredibly excited that Silverstone fans will be the first to experience the Formula One sprint qualifying format at this year’s British Grand Prix," had said the circuit’s managing director Stuart Pringle in a statement.
Pringle had also said tickets for Sunday were already nearly sold out.
The British Grand Prix took place without spectators last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic but organisers are hoping to welcome back crowds for the July 18 race.
Under the new format, a qualifying session will be held after the first Friday practice to determine the grid for a sprint race on Saturday.
The finishing order of the sprint — which at 100km will be about a third of a normal race distance and last about half an hour without mandatory pit stops — will determine Sunday’s starting grid.