Formula 1 is still considering implementing a drastic reverse grid idea for sprint races in the upcoming year.
Formula One is currently contemplating the idea of implementing a reverse grid system for its sprint race format in the upcoming season. On Tuesday, the sport revealed the six locations that will host these sprint races in 2024.
F1 announced that the sprint race format will be implemented at select races next season, specifically in China, Miami, Austria, Austin, Brazil, and Qatar. These races, particularly Brazil and Qatar which are held towards the end of the season, offer the opportunity for the championship to be decided in a sprint race, similar to this year when Max Verstappen won the title in the shortened race in Qatar.
The structure of weekends is still being determined, as discussions continue with the teams.
The current format, which received criticism this season, is expected to be altered. This year, the grand prix qualifying occurred on Friday, followed by sprint qualifying and the sprint race on Saturday. However, there was dissatisfaction with the fact that the GP qualifying was not the last event before the race and that the sprint race often lacked excitement.
The upcoming season will see the sprint qualifying taking place on Friday, following the first practice session. The sprint race will then occur on Saturday morning, while the traditional qualifying will resume on Saturday afternoon. However, there are concerns that any damage sustained during the sprint race could negatively impact qualifying for the Grand Prix.
The potential addition of a reverse grid component to the weekend is still being debated. The idea is to implement a reverse grid based on the results of the sprint qualifying race, either for the entire field or possibly just the top 10. This would require changes to the rules to consider teams potentially strategizing in order to improve their starting position in the main race.
There is discussion about modifying the current parc fermé regulations, which currently restrict teams from making changes to their car’s setup after the first practice session. Both teams and drivers are dissatisfied with this rule as it forces them to make decisions too early in the weekend. It is expected that this rule will also be altered to allow for adjustments to be made after the sprint race and before qualifying, in order to better adapt to the expected conditions of the full race.
F1 has modified the format of the sprint weekends three times since their debut in 2021. It is aiming to establish a consistent format for 2024 and continue with it for a number of years to fully evaluate its effect and reception among fans, promoters, and broadcasters.
The president of the FIA, Mohammed Ben Sulayem, stated: “It is crucial that we continue to evolve and adjust in order to ensure that we are making decisions that are in the best interest of the sport. As a result, we are collaborating with FOM and the teams to determine the future course of the sprint format.”