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‘Sprint shootout’ title expunged from Formula 1 rule book

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The ‘sprint shootout’ title which was introduced for sprint race qualifying sessions last year has been removed from the Formula 1 rule book.

The qualifying sessions for sprint races are now referred to as ‘sprint qualifying’. That title was previously used for sprint races when they were introduced in 2021.

Updated F1 sporting regulations containing the change were approved by the FIA’s World Motor Sport Council ahead of the first practice session of the season tomorrow.

Following a shake-up of the sprint round format last year, which saw the grid for the grand prix separated from the results of the sprint race, a new three-stage qualifying session to determine the starting grid for the sprint race was created. This was originally called the ‘sprint shootout’.

However, following today’s WMSC meeting in Geneva, another change in the sprint round format will see the sprint race moved to Saturday mornings, with grand prix qualifying the final session held on Saturdays for sprint rounds as well as on traditional race weekends. The grid for the sprint race will now be decided in the final session on Fridays, which has been renamed in the 2024 Formula 1 sporting regulations as ‘sprint qualifying’.

It is the latest change to F1’s divisive sprint format heading into its fourth year of use. Every season since the 100km race format was first introduced in 2021, the FIA and Formula One Management have modified the format in some way.

The first sprint event of the season will be held at the Chinese Grand Prix in April. A total of six will be held over the year.

The new sporting regulations also formalised another new change for 2024’s sprint format. There will now be two separate parc ferme restrictions over sprint weekends, the first between the start of sprint race qualifying on Friday afternoon and the start of the sprint race on Saturday morning and the second between the start of grand prix qualifying on Saturday afternoon and the start of the grand prix on Sunday. Teams will be permitted to make changes to cars between the end of the sprint race and the start of grand prix qualifying.

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Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...

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28 comments on “‘Sprint shootout’ title expunged from Formula 1 rule book”

  1. Just admit that the sprint gimmick format doesn’t work snd isn’t all that popular already.

    The fact they need to constantly change it in some big way every year shows how badly thought out the whole nonsense format is.

    1. The fact they need to constantly change it in some big way every year

      What were the ‘big’ changes over the years?
      And I’m not talking about name changes, points, or amount of events.

      1. It being a qualification for the race, then being a race with just a points result. Tyre allocation changes. Tyre compount rules. When it is held during a weelent etc etc

  2. Just give us sprint races every race weekend. Stop experimenting, they’re awesome and here to stay.

    1. Yes, please. Shorten the season a bit to avoid triple headers and double headers only before and after one or two “longer than one week” teaks, but have every race weekend a sprint and a full race. Would love it.

    2. Yes amd have them being raced by a 3rd car and either ypumd talent or 3rd drivers. So we can ignore then even easier

  3. If they wanted it to be a “shootout”, then it should have been one shot qualifying with random ordering. At any rate, the sprint weekends tend to be more anticlimactic than normal as the sprint race is essentially a preview of the full race. I’d actually be interested to see Keith put together an analysis on if the sprints are all that much different to the races in terms of finishing position. If there’s not a lot of difference, then why bother?

  4. Simply wasting time and money. Just get rid of this rediculous sprint race.
    Just stick to knockout format and ready to race.
    Now we have this rediculous sprint race after knockout format before real race.
    Why need to have 2 qualifying before race?
    We dont want to see any incident in sprint race. Incident in knockout format enough painful to watch.

  5. We’ll they could have kept the shootout term for the US rounds.🎯

    1. Why? I think I know what you mean but don’t understand why?

    2. No. Because it was never a shootout. A shootout is when you get ONE SHOT, not a full qualifying session.

      1. You got one shot , just one short race. Innit?

  6. All in jest.
    Terminology not actuality.
    And no apology..

    1. And for more context October 26 1881 the Earp brothers face off against the Clanton-McLaury gang in a legendary shootout at the O.K. Corral in Tombstone, Arizona.
      I’m actually old enough to remember the late 50’s movie.
      Guess I’m cancelled, shame.

  7. For sprint races to work, you need a very competitive field, not Max dominating the whole thing.
    One of the most interesting races last year was the Qatar sprint which shows there is some benefit from having the races.
    Hopefully, this new format allows better racing over the weekend

    1. For sprint races to work, you need a very competitive field, not Max dominating the whole thing.

      Same can be said for the GP’s too.

      Agree about Qatar – proof, if any were needed, that for the sprints to be better (and more appreciated) they need some fundamental ways to differentiate them from the GP other than just duration.

  8. What’s in a name?

  9. The sprint format is very Meh! And as pointed out by Max sort of ruins the surprise for race day. Here’s what I’d like to watch:
    Normal practice on Friday (or whatever day depending on holy days etc.)

    A standard kart is provided for each driver on Saturday to complete a 3 hot lap quali directly before a sprint race which decides the order of the race the following day.
    Karts would be identical, the driver can only adjust the seating position. This would let us really see who the fastest drivers are and increase the driver influence over results. Forcing teams to select only the fastest drivers rather than pay drivers. It would mean that the grid gets mixed up on Sunday but in a less contrived and more racer driven mix up. Imagine if KMags keeps winning on Saturday and finishing at the back on Sunday! The top teams would have to snap him up quick smart. Drivers would be under immense pressure.. but.. it would be fair! I’d watch that anyway.

    1. Just watch karting :)

    2. A standard kart is provided

      Why do fans of F1 – a sport which is more about the car & team than (only) the driver – want to get rid of the car component?
      It’s like Messi/Ronaldo doing a penalty shootout with a tennis ball, or
      Woods playing golf with a hockey stick on a pool table, or
      Nadal and Djoko doing a match of table tennis for a tennis crowd, or
      Usain Bolt jumping the hurdles in a wheelchair, or
      The Super Bowl teams engaging in figure skating.

      1. Why do fans of F1 – a sport which is more about the car & team than (only) the driver – want to get rid of the car component?

        Because actual car development has more or less been put on hold since the early 1990s, and what has happened since is just an often entirely pointless rigmarole to give the teams something to do while keeping the lap times largely the same. To achieve that, ever more avenues for development have been closed off or even standardized. Even the engines have now been sacrificed to this slow transformation into a spec series. Enzo Ferrari would be horrified someone at his team agreed to this!

        It’s also had serious consequences for the racing. No longer can teams compensate for a lack of performance in one area with excellence in another. It’s all about a very small number of metrics, that teams now spend ridiculous amounts of money optimizing. Or rather, only a few teams do that so they win all the time. The result is an unprecedented staleness in the field. The same teams win, and the series rolls from one period of prolonged domination into another.

        The cars are now more of a hindrance to a good race than an enhancement of it. Other series have realized this, and moved away from the rather pointless ‘development’ of race cars that do nothing to improve the actual racing.

  10. 6 or so sprints a year but can only use 1 full time driver per sprint, preferably no full time drivers but thats even more unrealistic. It’s a pipe dream but young drivers need a chance somehow used to be easy with unlimited testing

  11. Coventry Climax
    29th February 2024, 10:20

    I just learned that according to the Holy Rulebook, racedays are supposed to be seven days apart, and that for that reason, they moved the season opener to saturday, because race 2 can not be held on the sunday of the week they planned that. Still with me?
    I always thought that ramadan was about not eating during the day unless under moonlight, and not about having a day off, but maybe that’s another point altogether.

    So apparently, the small prix are not considered real Grand Prix races, otherwise there would have to be seven day gaps between a small prix and a Grand Prix.
    That leaves me with a question: When small prix aren’t considered real races by their own book, how on earth can they earn you championship points for the Grand Prix Championship?

    The lengths they go through to cram this mess down our throats..

    1. Ramadan is primarily about fasting, but devout Muslims will also do more prayers, more acts of charity and spend more time in the spiritual community – including but by no means limited to mosques. Since F1 races are not considered a spiritual space, it would be considered odd to run one in a Muslim-majority country during the days when Muslims are most likely to spend more time in mosques. Depending on exactly how devout the Muslim is and the cultural norms in the place where they live, this does not just include the evening of the first day of Ramadan, but also the evening of the 23rd (the Night of Power), any and all Fridays and the 1-2 last days leading up to Eid-al-Fitr, depending on whether there’s a clear sighting of the crescent moon on the first possible candidate date.

      Had Saudi Arabia had a day race, it might have been slightly more possible, since Muslims would be working during the day on their usual schedules – even then, many Muslims try to reduce the amount of entertainment they consume during the month and there’d be more dependence on tourists to make up the audience). Running a night race on the night over half the audience is expected to be in a mosque, at home or in another community setting, is not the way to get a trackside audience or make money. We all know Liberty’s in it for the money

      The “small prix” are sprints, which are definitely not Grands Prix, but their own type of “real race”. (I consider the sprint races to detract from the weekend, due to telegraphing how the Grand Prix will go to too great an extent. However I also recognise that while someone’s willing to sponsor the sprint, it won’t go away or even reduce in events).

      Hope this helps.

      1. Hope this helps.

        @Alianora La Canta

        Actually I found this post quite moving. I have been the beneficiary of kindness and assistance on a few occasions just on a day to day basis.
        Such actions removed some of my preconceptions and prejudices.
        One occasion a bit of a medical thing grabbing my head in obvious pain, two head to toe black clad women rushed to me and held me! so that I didn’t fall,asked if I was alone , I pointed to.my wife. One went to get her the other continued physical support. And they weren’t leaving until they were satisfied I was OK.
        Second, day surgery, packed train coming home me standing. Man in robes etc. asked me to take his seat. I said no I’m OK.
        Shook his head stood took my elbow and eased me into his seat. Long time later train approaching my stop. He indicated stay seated. Again by elbow he escorts me to doors he steps off train and assists me down. Waits until he is confident I am somewhat vertical and stable before he reboards train to continue his journey.
        I didn’t mean to hijack your post. It’s not about sympathy or me, just about good people doing good things.
        Is it really such an issue about event times.

      2. Coventry Climax
        1st March 2024, 16:12

        Hope this helps.

        I wasn’t aware having asked for help, sorry.
        I don’t give a hoot about religion; any religion. If people want to believe in what I consider prehistoric science books, be my guest, I’ll respect that, as long as you don’t bother me with it.
        Likewise though, I’d appreciate being respected even if I lack any religious beliefs. I’m not bothering ‘believers’ with it.
        There’s very stringent religious people that stay inside on sundays; do we change the racing schedule to saturdays for them as well? Do we oblige muslims to follow F1? If they feel they have more important things to (not) do, fine, I’m not telling them they can’t. But don’t tell me I’m supposed to follow suit. Unfortunately, the other way round is that non-believers are told what they can and can’t do, and are considered in need of ‘education’ on the religious reasons why.

        Sounds very much like the FiA and their rules these days, that very limited people asked for, yet get crammed down their throats nonetheless, with extra ‘clarification’ and ‘enlightenment on the spirit of the rules, when it’s just the wording is so lousy that any interpretation is possible.
        Seems like FiA and muslim law are a match made in heaven, or whatever that’s called in any religion.

  12. I just don’t watch sprint races never mention so called shootouts and other stupid gimmicks which are pointless and counterproductive. Just gimme good ole ace weekend!

  13. Still never watched a sprint shootout/qualifying and never will.

    I’ve drawn the line. F1 fan for over 25 years.

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