F1 Sprint races are back for 2024! Find out the changes in format, how they work and how points are awarded

F1 Sprint Races are back for the 2024 season but there will be some slight alterations in the format.

The changes that have been put in place for the 2024 F1 season are that free practise and Sprint qualifying will be on Friday. The Sprint Race will then be the first track action on Saturday. The qualifying for the Grand Prix will be held later on the Saturday.

The FIA stated that DRS activation will be, “anticipated to one lap as opposed to two laps after the start of the race, or the re-start following a safety car.”

Here’s a look at what to expect from the Sprint Races during Formula 1 weekends.

Book Formula 1 tickets for the 2024 season now!

What is an F1 Sprint race and how does it work?

An F1 Sprint Race is a shorter race with more intensity which, as of the 2023 season, takes place on the Saturday of a Grand Prix weekend. This offers fans attending the Grand Prix extra entertainment included in the price of their weekend ticket.

For 2023 each Sprint Race features its own Sprint Shootout qualifying session, which is held earlier on the Saturday. Drivers can still win championship points in the Sprint Race, but it no longer sets the grid for Sunday’s Grand Prix, which is still done by the traditional qualifying session now held on the Friday afternoon in place of the old Second Practice Session.

Where are the F1 Sprint Races in 2024?

In 2024, the number of Sprint Races will remain at six. These are the race weekends that will host Sprint races, with China and Miami replacing Belgium and Azerbaijan.

RaceSprint Race dateGrand Prix date
Chinese Grand Prix20 April21 April
Miami Grand Prix2 May3 May
Austria Grand Prix29 July30 July
USA Grand Prix19 October 20 October
Brazilian Grand Prix2 November3 November
Qatar Grand Prix30 November1 December
Schedule of F1 Sprint Races in 2024

How long is the F1 Sprint Race?

Formula 1 Sprint Races are around 100km (62 miles). Sprints tend to last around 30 minutes but cannot last longer than 60 minutes.

The length of each Sprint Race varies according to the track. For example, the Sprint Race at Baku in 2023 lasted 17 laps and was won by Sergio Perez with a time of 33:17.667. Whereas at the Belgian Grand Prix, Max Verstappen won after 24:58.433 and 11 laps.

How does F1 Sprint qualifying work?

Sprint qualifying, now known as the Sprint Shootout, is essentially a short-form Qualifying session that sets the grid for the Sprint Race. 

The format changed in 2023, where the new Sprint Shootout takes place on Saturday morning or early afternoon, and then the Sprint itself on Saturday afternoon.

The format of Sprint Shootout is the same as qualifying, but with the three segments named SQ1, SQ2 and SQ3, as opposed to Q1, Q2 and Q3. They are shorter at 12, 10 and 8 minutes, instead of 18, 15 and 12 minutes.

2023 Qatar Sprint winner Oscar Piastri at the Losail International Circuit

What time do the F1 Sprint Races start?

The starts times for the races have not yet been confirmed. We will share what time the Sprint Races are scheduled to start, as well as the UK time, when the information is released.

RaceDateStart time (local)Start time (UK)
Chinese Grand Prix20 AprilTBCTBC
Miami Grand Prix1 JulyTBCTBC
Austria Grand Prix25 JulyTBCTBC
USA Grand Prix7 October TBCTBC
Brazilian Grand Prix21 OctoberTBCTBC
Qatar Grand Prix4 NovemberTBCTBC
Timings for F1 Sprint Races in 2024

Do drivers earn points for winning the Sprint Race?

Those finishing the Sprint event between first and eighth position will score points towards their championship tally. This is more points than they were in 2021, when points were only awarded for the top three places, so we can expect more competitive races.

Point scoring system for F1 Sprint events

Why did F1 decide to run Sprint Races?

Sprint Races have been utilised in the junior series since 2005 and the inaugural season of GP2 (later rebranded as Formula 2). The current system sees drivers qualify on a Friday, which sets the grid for the feature race on Sunday.

However, the top 10 results from qualifying are reversed to form the grid for a Sprint Race on Saturday. The idea being the fastest drivers are challenged to work their way through the field.

The idea to use this concept in Formula 1 was first touted in 2019. As F1 approached its new technical regulations, Ross Brawn said he believed the cars offered a “stable platform” to “try a few new things”.

There was opposition to the reverse grid element of the idea, which was described by many as “gimmicky”. So it was removed, but the idea of a shorter race was picked up. It gave fans more racing action throughout the weekend both at and away from the track.

What happens if a driver crashes during a Sprint Race?

There are two big implications if a driver crashes during the Sprint Race session, and they are sporting and financial.

Any race ending crash will end that driver’s chances of taking any points home from the Sprint. Penalties are only applied to the Grand Prix, so they might pick up a few places if another driver is heavily penalised.

Pierre Gasly crashed his AlphaTauri at Monza sprint race.
Pierre Gasly crashed his AlphaTauri on the first lap of the Monza Sprint Race.

But crashing an F1 car isn’t cheap. Mick Schumacher’s crash during the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix was estimated to have incurred $1million in repair bills.

Because of the increased danger of damage when the cars are racing in anger, each team was permitted to spend an extra $150,000 for every Sprint Race organised. If a driver doesn’t finish the race, they are permitted to spend an extra $100,000.

Given that a front wing is estimated to cost in excess of $100,000, the additional cash might not cover the damage suffered.

What’s happened in F1 Sprint Races so far?

F1 Sprint debuted at Silverstone in July 2021. Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen battled hard on the first lap, but the real winner of the opening tour was Fernando Alonso.

The Spaniard was the only driver to run the soft tyres, and made up six places on lap 1. He lost two of those positions, but it showcased the format’s ability to mix up the order through strategy.

Sprint race during the Azerbaijan GP 2023
Sprint Race during the Azerbaijan GP 2023

The second F1 Sprint happened in Monza. Despite starting the Sprint on the front row, Hamilton found himself in fifth after the first lap, with McLaren’s Daniel Ricciardo and Lando Norris making good gains.

Pierre Gasly suffered a crash on lap one, meaning he would start the Grand Prix plum last. Bottas won the Sprint, despite engine penalties meaning he would be demoted to the back of the grid.

In 2022, Imola, Austria and Sao Paulo featured Sprints. Verstappen who the first two, with George Russell claiming an historic victory in Brazil.

In the 2023 season, the Sprint Races were standalone with their own qualifying session called ‘Sprint Shootouts’, and the number of races has increased to six. Sergio Perez won the first Sprint in Azerbaijan for Red Bull, while teammate Verstappen won in Austria, Belgium, Brazil and Austin, while McLaren’s Oscar Piastri won the Qatar Sprint.

Be at an F1 Sprint in 2024

Sprint races have offered fans attending Formula 1 races an opportunity to witness even more tantalising racing action packed into the weekend experience. It also provides another title for the drivers to fight for, as well as championship points.

Have you seen a Sprint race in the flesh? Book your F1 tickets to these races in the 2024 season now!