Once again, there will be six Sprint rounds on the Formula 1 calendar and this year, the interesting format features in Shanghai, Miami, Spielberg, Austin, Sao Paulo and Lusail.

A change to the weekend timetable

Compared to a usual race weekend programme, the Sprint features several changes.

After just a single free practice session on Friday morning, it’s time for Sprint Qualifying, split into three sections with Q1 lasting 12 minutes, Q2 (10 minutes) and Q3 (8 minutes). This sets the grid for the Sprint race which, in another change for this year, takes place on Saturday morning.

If you’re not sure what the Sprint is all about, it’s a short race run over a third of a Grand Prix distance, with points from 8 to 1 given out to the first eight finishers.

Saturday afternoon reverts to the usual format with qualifying to determine the grid for Sunday’s Grand Prix.

Changes to the parc ferme rules

Based on its experience from previous years, Formula 1 has changed the parc ferme rules, splitting it into two distinct parts. The first comes into effect as from the start of Sprint Qualifying on Friday and ends after Saturday morning’s Sprint race. That gives the teams a three hour window to work on the cars once more before the second parc ferme regime kicks in with the start of Saturday qualifying and ends after Sunday’s Grand Prix.