2022 F1 Sprint races: Changes explained

F1 has made some important changes to its sprint qualifying format, with more points on the table.

F1 will run its sprint qualifying format at three Grands Prix in 2022. But there are some key changes, including the addition of more championship points up for grabs.

  • 2022 Sprint races at Imola, Austria and Sao Paulo
  • Top eight finishers will earn points
  • Fastest lap setter in Friday’s qualifying will be awarded pole position

2022 F1 Sprint venues

Sprint qualifying was introduced last year as a short 100km race to determine the grid for the main race on Sunday. This year, however, the format’s official name has been simplified to just ‘F1 Sprint’, perhaps to avoid any confusion with the qualifying that will be held on Friday to set the grid for this sprint race.

The three sprint races this year will be held at the Emilia Romagna GP at Imola, Austrian GP at the Red Bull Ring and Sao Paulo GP at Interlagos.

F1 Sprint: more points

Earlier, it was just the top three finishers who scored points in the sprint races, but the method has now been revised to offer points to the top eight finishers. The driver winning the sprint race will earn eight points, while the driver finishing eighth will score one point.

This means that a maximum of 34 points will be up for grabs at GPs featuring a sprint race – eight points for winning the sprint, 25 points for winning the race and one point for setting the fastest lap.

Who earns pole position?

F1 has also settled a long-time debate by confirming that the driver who will set the fastest time in Friday’s qualifying will be awarded pole position for statistical purposes. Last year, the driver who won the sprint race was given that accolade.

“Following a review of the three Sprint events that took place in 2021, and a recognition by all that the format created positive benefits for the sport, three Sprint events were proposed for 2022, acknowledging this as a sensible number in light of the pressures already on the teams for this season with the introduction of major changes to the regulations,” an FIA statement said.

The F1 reveal season is well underway with Haas, Red Bull, Aston Martin, McLaren and AlphaTauri already giving us a glimpse of their 2022 challengers. Pre-season testing will get underway at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya on February 23.

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