Details of new F1 race weekend structure revealed

Jon Wilde
Formula 1 trucks arrive for the Dutch Grand Prix. Zandvoort September 2021.

Formula 1 trucks arrive as preparations continue for the Dutch Grand Prix. Zandvoort September 2021.

Formula 1 fans will have to get used to different weekend scheduling in 2022 – with Friday practice sessions in particular starting later.

Besides the revised technical regulations that are bringing new-look cars to the grid, a grand prix event will take place over three days compared to the previous four.

This means Thursday will be scrapped – something that is sure to please certain drivers, some of whom resented having to turn up at the circuit a day earlier than they felt was necessary just to fulfil media obligations.

Instead, press conferences will now take place on Friday mornings, which is also when the teams will begin their preparations in the pit lane garages.

Also, the schedule of the media interviews is set to become more compact, for the sporting regulations state they will have a “maximum duration of two hours” and must finish “no later than 90 minutes before the start of FP1”.

Therefore, as reported by f1i.com, although exact timings have yet to be confirmed, it would be reasonable to assume that if media commitments begin at 9am local time, FP1 would not commence until 12.30pm.

Esteban Ocon and Daniil Kvyat on the Alpine track walk for the Russian GP. Sochi September 2021.
Esteban Ocon and Daniil Kvyat take part in an Alpine track walk ahead of the Russian Grand Prix. Sochi September 2021.

There would also be the ‘show and tell’ sessions which Formula 1 are keen to introduce, with teams encouraged to provide technical updates to the media in order to keep fans informed of developments on their cars.

With practice sessions remaining at one hour’s duration, the two-hour gap is set to remain between the end of FP1 and the start of FP2 to give teams the chance to repair any damage – and that means the second practice session would not begin until 3.30pm.

Saturday would then follow its customary schedule of FP3 in the morning and qualifying in the afternoon, with the race on Sunday as usual – although it has been reported that the team principals’ press conference will be moved from Friday lunchtime to Saturday morning.

Monaco, the schedule for which has traditionally been an outlier with a blank Friday and the event starting a day earlier, is set to fall into line with the other grands prix.

 

The exceptions, of course, will be the races that feature sprint qualifying, with those expected to double in number from three to six in 2022.

It has yet to be confirmed which those will be, although the season opener in Bahrain has been predicted to host a sprint on its shorter Outer course, with the other grands prix reported to be Emilia Romagna, Canada, Austria, the Dutch and Brazilian.

 

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