Should there be a separate Sprint World Championship?

Published on 25 August 2023 at 20:00

Since the introduction of Sprint Races, there has been many differing opinions of the idea that had been introduced into Formula 1 for the 2021 season. Lets go through the idea of it, how it has changed and what could be done in the future.


Start of the 2023 Azerbaijan Grand Prix Sprint Race (Image Credit: Gongora/NurPhoto via Getty Images) 


Introduction of Sprint Races


For the majority of Formula 1's history, a race weekend would consist of three practice sessions, a qualifying session and a race. Two practice sessions would occur on Friday, the final practice session and qualifying would take place on Saturday and the race would be on Sunday.


However, Formula 1 has gained traction to many more young fans since the ownership of Liberty Media. Therefore, the sport has tried to find ways to make the sport more interesting.


Formula 1 came up with the idea of including a sprint race. The sprint race would replace one practice session, resulting in only one practice session before qualifying - as qualifying would be pushed forward to Friday instead of the traditional Saturday.


With only one practice session before qualifying, it gave teams less time to find the perfect set up for the rest of the weekend. This is as Parc Ferme rules would be applied before qualifying, meaning that set up changes are not allowed to be made from qualifying onwards.


The race would be 100km long with no mandatory pitstops required. Furthermore, the points system only awarded points to the top three finishers - awarding three points for first, two for second and one for third. The three venues that hosted sprint races were Imola, Silverstone and Monza.


There was some disagreement with the format as the order of the sprint race would determine the grid for Sunday's race. This resulted in drivers taking it more cautiously as they did not want to ruin their weekend with a mistake in the sprint race.


Changes implemented


The 2022 season saw some changes implemented to the sprint race weekends. Instead of only awarding points to the top three drivers, the top eight drivers would receive points - with first receiving eight points and it going downwards all the way to eighth. Pole position also reverted to the fastest driver in qualifying after lots of backlash from giving pole position for the sprint race winner on Saturday.


However, the same issue of the sprint race determining the grid for Sunday's race was still there. That would be the case up until the 2023 season, where the change was made to have the sprint race being its own race rather than determining the grid for the main race. Therefore, qualifying would once again determine the grid for Sunday's race.


The changes allowed drivers to take more risks in the sprint race due to it not meaning anything for the grid for Sunday's race. However, some fans still think that there should be no sprint races at all.


Another change was having a sprint qualifying to determine the grid for the sprint race. This came at the cost of only now having one practice session, which makes it harder for teams to test out their new upgrade packages.


However, for the 2023 season, Formula 1 announced that there will be six sprint race venues for 2023. These would take place in Azerbaijan, Austria, Belgium, Qatar, United States and Sao Paulo.


Should there be a separate Sprint World Championship?


Currently, the points awarded in the sprint race contribute to the World Championship standings. However, what if there was a separate championship determined by the sprint races?


With Formula 1 extending their race count for 2024 to 24 races, there will be no doubt that they will want to include more sprint race weekends to accompany more competitive track action.


Therefore, a separate championship for sprint races could lead to more drivers taking more risks as it will not affect their position in the main championship.


Points could be awarded the same as the main race, making it meaningful to win the sprint race. However, many still believe that there should still be no sprint races due to the limited amount of engine components, leading to many grid penalties.


With there now being sprint qualifying and a sprint race, it already makes it its own day as both events take place on Saturday.


What is your opinion on sprint races in Formula 1? Do you enjoy the weekends more with them or without them?


Nathan Hartley

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