F1 unveils sprint race format and new rules for 2024
Formula 1 will overhaul its sprint race weekend format for the third time in four years, but has shied away from switching to a reversed-grid format, and will change rules for engine allocations and DRS use in 2024.
The Friday of each sprint weekend will now be dedicated to first practice and qualifying for the sprint. The sprint race itself will follow on Saturday before qualifying for the grand prix takes place later that day.
It means that the sprint element and grand prix elements of the weekend will almost take part separately, with the Sprint wrapped up before the grid for the main race is set. The grand prix retains its traditional Sunday slot. Cars will also require two separate parc ferme procedures, one for sprint, one for grand prix.
Numerous members of the F1 paddock called for changes to the format after a series of pretty dull affairs in the 2023 season. Many had called for Formula 1 to go as far as to reverse at least some if not all the grid for the sprint race, but this has been resisted by F1 chiefs.
The new rules are confirmed just two-and-a-half months before the first sprint of the season – which will take place at the Chinese Grand Prix over the weekend of 19th-21st April. Five more will follow, in Miami, Austria, Austin, Brazil and Qatar.
Also confirmed before the new season was a change to DRS rules, which will see the overtaking aid available at the end of the first lap, rather than the second as has been the case since the system’s introduction. The same will apply for both standing starts and safety car restarts.
Finally all drivers will be allowed four power units per year for both 2024 and 2025, an addition of one to the allocation for the final two seasons of the current regulations.