Formula 1: Qualifying could be set for major ‘sprint race’ overhaul in 2021


The biggest Formula 1 news of the year broke yesterday when it was revealed that Sir Lewis Hamilton has signed on for another season at Mercedes.

With Hamilton at the wheel of their incredible machine, Mercedes have absolutely dominated the sport and it is no surprise that Toto Wolff fought so hard to extend the British superstar's mega-money deal.

Rumours were rife that Hamilton was unhappy with the proposed deal and that he could choose to step away from the sport completely.

Thankfully, those proved to be untrue with the recently-knighted star signing on the dotted line this week.

Now, the Silver Arrows are well positioned to continue their Formula 1 dynasty as they seek an astonishing eighth-consecutive constructor's title.

However, they might not have it all their own way this season with F1 bigwigs in discussions over a major shake-up for the year ahead.

In a bid to make the sport more entertaining, the qualification process as we know it could be thrown out completely.


The plan on the table is to replace the process - which takes place in the days immediately before the Sunday Grand Prix - with a 100 kilometre 'sprint race'.

The shorter race would take place on Saturday afternoon and would be used to determine the grid for the Grand Prix on Sunday.

Per a report from BBC Sport, the top eight finishers in the sprint could earn approximately half of the points awarded in the Grand Prix.

Teams and bosses are set to vote on the proposal this week, which will need an overwhelming majority of 28 out of 30 to be passed. (Governing body the FIA and commercial rights holder F1 have 10 votes each, and the 10 teams one apiece.)


Speaking on the new proposal, F1 president Stefano Domenicali outlined their desire to freshen up the qualification process.

"It's important to think of new ideas of being more attractive or interesting but we don't have to lose the traditional approach of racing," he said.

"When we changed qualifying every couple of days [at the start of 2016], it burned our fingers. Now, the formula is quite stable.

"We are looking at what could be the approach of the so-called sprint race on Saturday. We are thinking that could be tested maybe this year."

It certainly is an interesting idea and could add an exciting element to race weekend.

Whether the powers that be would be open to it, is another question entirely.

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