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F1 Sprint explained: The changes you need to know

The third F1 Sprint of the season takes place this weekend at the Belgian Grand Prix. Here are the key changes to the fast and frenetic race weekend format for 2023.

Aston Martin F1

A short, sharp dash to the finish with points on the line, the F1 Sprint was introduced in 2021 to add more unpredictability to race weekends and provide fans with more opportunities to see wheel-to-wheel racing.

For the 2023 season, the format has been revised to enhance the excitement of the F1 Sprint. The new format made its debut in Azerbaijan and continues in Austria, Belgium, Qatar, the United States and São Paulo Grands Prix.

Although points will still be awarded on a sliding scale for the 100km Sprint – 8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 from first to eighth – there’s plenty that's different about F1 Sprint in 2023. This is your guide to the changes for this weekend…

Aston Martin F1

Less practice

Prior to this season, a Sprint weekend featured two free practice sessions. In 2023, this has been reduced to one session, which takes place on Friday, ahead of qualifying for the Grand Prix.

Teams and drivers will have just one hour of on-track time to prepare for the remainder of the weekend. Making every second count in this session will be crucial and time lost in the garage fixing reliability issues or making extensive changes to the car could prove costly.

More qualifying

Friday qualifying will now determine the grid for the Grand Prix on Sunday, instead of the finishing order of the Sprint, and Saturday morning practice has been replaced by another qualifying session, the Sprint Shootout, which will establish the grid for the Sprint.

This shorter qualifying session consists of a 12-minute opening segment, followed by a 10- and then eight-minute segment. The same knockout format applies as in a standard qualifying session.

However, unlike a standard qualifying session, in the Sprint Shootout, tyre compounds are mandated. The Medium tyre is mandated for Q1 and Q2, with the Soft the only option available in Q3.

More wheel-to-wheel action

With the Sprint no longer determining the grid for the Grand Prix, drivers are likely to push harder and take more risks safe in the knowledge that they're not putting their grid position for the Grand Prix in jeopardy should they drop down the order, following an unsuccessful overtake or contact with another car, for example.

More DRS

Drivers will now have more opportunities to use DRS in the Sprint. Instead of being activated after two laps, it will be permitted for use after just one lap of racing, meaning moves that could prove decisive can be made earlier on.

The third Sprint of the season takes place this weekend at the legendary Spa-Francorchamps. Enjoy unmissable content and updates from AMF1 Team throughout race week on AstonMartinF1.com and across @AstonMartinF1 social channels.

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