F1 Sprint changes? Three main factors under discussion as final submission looms

Sam Cooper
FIA F1 Sprint medal.

The sprint format is set for a shake-up ahead of the 2024 season.

F1 Sprint qualifying could return to Friday as one of two potential plans by F1 to shake up the format for the upcoming season.

Formula 1 made a change in 2023 with the Sprint becoming its own standalone day via sprint qualifying on Saturday morning and the sprint race in the afternoon, but that could be reversed in an effort to improve the format for 2024.

PlanetF1.com understands that is one of two proposals tabled with a final decision set to be submitted to the F1 commission this month.

Sprint changes soon to be submitted to F1 commission

The sprint format has been under the microscope following six events in 2023 with criticism from certain circles, notably including World Champion Max Verstappen.

F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali confirmed in November that changes were on the way but for now, those changes have not been officially confirmed by the sport as they still need to be presented and approved to the F1 commission.

However, PlanetF1.com understands it is likely sprint qualifying will return to Friday, while potential changes to parc ferme rules are also believed to be under discussion.

As of now, the cars are entered into parc ferme conditions at the start of qualifying on Friday with drivers and teams complaining that one practice session is not sufficient to set up the car for the rest of the weekend.

Alternatively, a more radical route would be to introduce reverse grids – possibly even partial reverse grids – for the sprint race, but discussions are still ongoing as to how this could be effectively done.

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Recently departed Haas boss Guenther Steiner gave his support to the format when he spoke at Autosport International this weekend.

“I would keep sprint races,” he said. “If the qualifying changes a little bit around, it could be one of the ideas.

“But in general, it gives interest to the calendar because if there are 24 races on the calendar and you change a little bit around, it’s nice. Otherwise, it’s always the same.

“People may go ‘Oh there’s another race, there’s another race’ but now it’s like ‘Oh, there’s a sprint race and then it’s a normal race.’

“You get the historic races: Monza, Silverstone, and then you get Miami, Las Vegas, and these kinds of races.

“So I think the variety of how the races are gone and that includes sprint races, it’s actually a pretty good 24-race calendar.”

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