The Sprint race format returns this weekend as teams and drivers touch down in Spielberg for the Austrian Grand Prix at the Red Bull Ring.
For the second time this season, drivers will endure a schedule shake-up with qualifying taking place on Friday in order to determine the starting order for the Sprint on Saturday – the results of which will in turn set the grid for the grand prix.
Every driver will race across 100km on a Saturday afternoon, with the results deciding the pecking order for Sunday’s main event.
However, this year the driver who sets the fastest time in Q3 of qualifying on Friday night will still be credited with pole position status regardless of their finishing position in the sprint race on Saturday.
The top eight finishers during Sprint Qualifying will now receive points, which marks an increase on what was allocated in 2021.
The winner will now pick up eight points, rather than three, meanwhile, points will trickle down to eighth place and will apply to both the F1 world drivers’ and constructors’ championships.
They will be awarded as follows: 1st will get 8 points, 2nd 7 points, 3rd 6 points, 4th 5 points, 5th 4 points, 6th 3 points, 7th 2 points, 8th 1 point.
Saturday’s grid will be decided on Friday, by using the current format seen on a Saturday, and there will be a 60-minute practice session on Friday and Saturday mornings.
Parc Fermé conditions will apply from the start of Qualifying on Friday, to stop the construction of special Qualifying cars, limit the number of hours required for preparing the car for the following day, and allow enough reconfiguration of the cars to make Saturday morning Free Practice a useful session.
It looks as if Red Bull could dominate at their home race with the long straight and a limited number of corners, giving them a likely home advantage over their main rival this season, Ferrari.
The full schedule for the weekend is as follows – in Irish time:
Friday 8th July 2022
Free Practice 1: 12:30 – 13:30
Qualifying: 16:00 – 17:00
Saturday 9th July 2022
Free Practice 2: 11:30 – 12:30
Sprint: 15:30 – 16:30
Sunday 10th July 2022
Pirelli will bring the three softest tyre compounds from its range to the Spielberg circuit, which are the C3 hard, C4 medium, and C5 soft.