UNITED KINGDOM. Silverstone: The British Grand Prix at Silverstone is all set to host Formula One’s first-ever sprint qualifying event before the finals. The full capacity grandstand at Silverstone will witness the uncertainty of the new session being experimentally included in this year’s British GP.
British GP weekend schedule
The race will start on July 16 at 2:30 PM local time with a one-hour first free practice session followed by another one-hour qualifying session scheduled at 6 PM. The results of the qualifier on Friday will set the grid for the new Sprint Qualifying session scheduled to start at 4:30 PM on Saturday and end by 5 PM. A second one-hour free practice session is also scheduled at Noon the same day before the new session. The winner of the Sprint Qualifying session will be ratified as the pole position winner. The final race starts at 3 PM on Sunday, July 18.
The format of new Sprint Qualifying session
The full-capacity Silverstone circuit this year will witness a new, unpredictable but exciting race run over 100 Km in half an hour time. The new Sprint Qualifying session is designed to provide a short but tremendously fast-paced racing adventure where drivers will race from start to finish without pitting.
The winner will secure three points while the first and second runners-up will be awarded two and one points each. At the end of this new session, there won’t be any podium ceremony but the winner will get a trophy in Parc Ferme. The wining order of this session will define the grid for Sunday’s final race event where the traditional format will prevail.
So the one-hour qualifying session will now move to Friday and is scheduled in the latter half of the day for the convenience of F1 fans. Moreover, with the new tyre rule in place now, only soft tyres are permitted. This leaves enough room for the drivers to start Sunday’s race on any compound.
The teams now have to keep aside five sets of softs for qualifying and two sets, free choice for the final race day. The teams will only be permitted to change a limited number of things on the cars for the new Sprint Qualifying sessions.
The surprising feature
With very limited amount of time allocated for practice before the qualifying round is an exciting format which needs to be tested and results analysed before it becomes a norm of the game. Right now this means that the drivers have to be in command with their cars right from the start of the practice sessions.
Interestingly, many drivers and their respective teams are keeping their fingers crossed because each driver needs time to take control over their cars and with very little practice time no body knows how each session will be. If the format works in British Grand Prix then the idea is to roll it out at selected Grand Prix events in future.
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