This year’s Formula 1 season will see the debut of a sprint qualifying format at three Grands Prix, following an agreement reached between the FIA, Formula 1 and all 10 competing teams. The new format will be evaluated to see if it can be expanded to more races next season.

According to Formula 1, two races in Europe and one outside it will host the format, with those venues set to be announced in due course. Autocar reports that the British, Italian and Brazilian Grands Prix are potential venues, although this could change due to the ongoing pandemic.

The new format will see drivers battle it out over 100 km on Saturday afternoons, with the result from sprint qualifying then deciding the starting grid for Sunday’s full distance Grand Prix. The incentive to doing well during the sprint qualifying is championship points, with three points awarded for first place, two points for second and one point for third.

Meanwhile, the current qualifying format (Q1, Q2 and Q3) will held on Friday to determine the starting order for the sprint qualifying on Saturday. Teams will also have one 60-minute practice session on both Friday and Saturday mornings.

“We are excited by this new opportunity that will bring our fans an even more engaging race weekend in 2021. Seeing the drivers battling it out over three days will be an amazing experience and I am sure the drivers will relish the fight,” said Stefano Domenicali, president and CEO of Formula 1.

“I am delighted that all the teams supported this plan, and it is a testament to our united efforts to continue to engage our fans in new ways while ensuring we remain committed to the heritage and meritocracy of our sport,” he added.

“I am pleased to see that Formula 1 is seeking new ways to engage with its fans and enlarge the spectacle of a race weekend through the concept of sprint qualifying. It was made possible thanks to the continued collaboration between the FIA, Formula 1, and all of the teams,” commented Jean Todt, president of the FIA.