New in Formula 1: How does the Sprint Shootout work?

Max Verstappen and Nyck de Vries will have to deal with a new Formula 1 setup in the middle of the season. A day before the Grand Prix of Azerbaijan, they will lead the new Sprint Shootout. With this they can eventually earn extra points, outside of GP. Why did the Sprint Shootout happen and how does it work?

What will the Formula 1 weekend in Azerbaijan look like?

The Baku GP race on Sunday, April 30, 2023 is, of course, the most important event of the Formula 1 weekend. On Friday, April 28, qualifying took place, which determines the starting order of the race. Verstappen finished 2nd behind Charles Leclerc in this qualification. So the Monegasque from Ferrari from first place Start, for Verstappen’s sake. De Vries crashes during the first qualifying round and the GP starts on the back row.

Saturday, April 29, 2023: New Sprint Shootout and Sprint Race

Saturday is all about the sprint. This is a shorter race around the track, for which drivers can get bonus points. Where the Grand Prix race on Sunday will cover more than 300 km, the sprint race will continue on Saturday for a distance of 100 km. But before this sprint, there will be a separate qualifier for the first time, the Sprint Shootout. The outcome of this new qualifying race determines the starting grid for the sprint later on Saturday.

How does Sprint Shootout work in practice?

Sprint Shootout includes 3 qualifying rounds of 12, 10 and 8 minutes, respectively. In Q1 and Q2 the drivers must be on medium-hard tyres, but in Q3 they must be running on soft tyres. In this article, we explain the types of tires found in Formula 1 and how to identify them. In the first qualifying race for the Sprint Shootout, all 20 drivers are on the start. The 5 slowest drivers are eliminated in each race, so there are 10 drivers left in Q3.

Read also: Formula 1 season 2023: Max Verstappen goes for 3rd in a row, Nyck de Vries as Dutch second to start

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How does Sprint Shootout affect the number of points earned?

Thus, the result of the Sprint Shootout determines the order in which the drivers start in the sprint. Whoever wins the Sprint Shootout takes pole position during the sprint. The first eight places in this sprint race can score additional points at the end. The winner gets 8, number 2 gets 7 points, number 3 collects 6 points, and so on.

Why is this Sprint Shootout happening?

The majority of teams voted in favour. Sprint races introduced in 2021 will receive an add-on to provide even more excitement. “This way there is a scene every day, from Friday to Sunday,” they said in a joint statement. The Sprint Shootout and Sprint Race on Saturday are separate from the GP race on Sunday. “This allows everyone to give their all and that increases the tension.” After the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, there are 5 more races in the remainder of the season. They are in Austria, Belgium, Qatar, Texas (USA) and Brazil. So there will also be a Sprint Shootout on Saturday. By the way, Verstappen is not very happy about this. The reigning champions are disappointed that the schedule is becoming increasingly full and wonder if the promised spectacle will actually come. “I love racing and winning, but sometimes I wonder if it’s all worth it,” he said before the Baku Grand Prix.

How did the Dutch perform in the Formula 1 season?

After introducing the Sprint Shootout, it was time for the fourth race of the season, with a total of 23. Defending champion Verstappen started the season energetically, with victories in Bahrain and Australia and a second place in Saudi Arabia. He leads the standings by 15 points from his Mexican Red Bull teammate Sergio Perez. De Vries fell outside the top 10 in all three GPs and is therefore still at 0 points.

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(Source: Archive, FIA, ANP, Algemeen Dagblad, NOS, Eurosport. Photo: Remko de Waal / ANP)

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