Masi: Same penalties can be applied during Sprint Qualifying


Formula 1 race director Michael Masi has confirmed that the penalty system will remain unchanged for Sprint Qualifying, which will be trialled at the British Grand Prix this weekend.

The new format will see traditional qualifying shifted from Saturday to Friday, with a sprint race introduced on Saturday in order to set the grid for the Grand Prix.

“If there is an incident in which two drivers are involved, we can give a grid penalty for the next Grand Prix,” Masi said. “So grid penalties and time penalties, for driving violations and the like, these penalties will be applied as usual.”

The new format is the first change to the race weekend since 2016, with Sprint Qualifying designed to add another element to the race weekend.

Each Sprint Qualifying session will function as a race based on the order determined in Friday qualifying, but the distance will be reduced to 100km, with each team allowed two sets of tyres.

“The only thing that has really changed in this regard is the duration,” Masi added. “The sprint has a notional duration of 30 minutes, and the maximum time is either 60 or 90 minutes – I can’t remember it offhand. But effectively there is a buffer in case we have an interruption that is deemed necessary.”

The format will be trialled at three races this season, including the British Grand Prix this weekend, before a further decision will be taken about using it more going forward.

“After the first event we will sit down internally and see what worked, what did not work and which areas still need to be refined,” Masi explained. “It’s something new for everyone involved, especially in Formula 1.

“The set of rules traditionally refers to a very specific format that normally does not provide for sprint qualifying. So everyone is very open and has promised to work together and see if something comes up that we have not yet considered.”