Silverstone will reportedly be the first circuit on the 2021 championship calendar to trial Formula One’s sprint qualifying format.
The news was confirmed in a statement earlier this week by the British Grand Prix venue’s managing director.
Prior to this, teams and bosses had agreed unanimously to debut a new points-scoring Saturday format at three Grand Prix weekends, which were yet to be confirmed.
Speaking about the news of 2021’s first trial location, Silverstone’s circuit managing director, Stuart Pringle said; “We are incredibly excited that Silverstone fans will be the first to experience the Formula One sprint qualifying format at this year’s British Grand Prix.
“The Friday and Saturday crowds at Silverstone are arguably the largest on the F1 calendar and, following the live events drought of 2020, this year will be no exception,” he added.
Pringle said tickets for Sunday were already nearly sold out, with organisers holding out hope of a return of spectators as the UK continues to ease Covid-19 restrictions country-wide.
The British Grand Prix took place without spectators last year due to the ongoing pandemic but July 18’s race could see a return of crowds, with limits on numbers and social distancing in place.
The new format will see every driver race 100km on Saturday afternoon, with the results from this deciding the pecking order for Sunday’s main event.
The top three finishers during Sprint Qualifying will also receive points – three for 1st place, two for 2nd, and 1 for third.
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.