F1 sprint winner will be officially credited with pole position

Formula 1 boss Ross Brawn has revealed that qualifying sprint event winners will be regarded in the history books as having earned pole position for that weekend's grand prix.

It had previously been thought that the driver who was fastest in Friday qualifying – and thus starts first for the Saturday sprint event – would be considered the pole winner.

However, following discussions between F1 and the FIA, it has been agreed that the driver who wins the sprint and therefore starts the grand prix from the front will officially be credited with pole.

The first sprint weekend will take place at the British GP, with the second at Monza and the third at a yet-to-be-determined flyaway event.

“I probably have to correct something I've said before because initially we thought it would still be the Friday qualifying,” Brawn said when asked about the pole issue. “But, in fact, after discussions with the FIA, they feel pole position is the guy in front of the grid for the grand prix.

“So it's the person who finishes a sprint in first place, it's the one who is on the front of the grid and has pole position for the race, the grand prix, on a Sunday. And that's what we'll count statistically towards the number of poles, because it is the sprint qualifying.

“That's one of the reasons the FIA want it covered that way, so that we can ensure that the race is the race, the grand prix is the grand prix. And we don't cannibalise the grand prix.”

Ross Brawn, Managing Director of Motorsports

Ross Brawn, Managing Director of Motorsports

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

Brawn also confirmed that the pre- and post-race procedures for sprints won’t follow the usual format for the Sunday race and won’t be a traditional podium ceremony, for example.

“We are trying to give a little bit of a fresh flavour,” he said when asked by Motorsport.com about the procedure. “So that there'll be a shorter period going on to the grid. There won't be the driver parade, but there'll be opportunities on the grid to interview the drivers.

“And we've got some interesting things we want to try after the race, short, sharp. There won't be a podium, it will be rather like qualifying, because we want to keep the podium for the big event of the weekend.

“We'll just keep that in the bag, but there are some fresh things that we're doing with the sprint, which I think will be nice to try.”

Brawn stressed that it was important to explain to the public how sprint weekends work.

“We're going to have a real competition on a Friday, [and] a new competition on a Saturday, and all of that should enhance the grand prix on the Sunday,” he said. “So I don't believe we cannibalise the grand prix in any way. This is all additive, and will contribute towards the whole weekend.

“I guess to meet the criticism head-on, some people like the traditional approach and think we're messing with something that doesn't need messing with, and I understand that.

“As you know, I've been in the sport a very long time. I think the way we're exploring this opportunity is not going to damage F1 at all. And it will become clear, after the second or third of the events, how well this is succeeding, and how well the fans are engaging with it.

“We've got new graphics, we're doing a lot on social media in the next week or 10 days. So we're doing a lot to explain to our fans, what this is all about so that, when they turn the telly on at any stage, over the Silverstone weekend, they know exactly what's going on.”

The definitive version of the sprint weekend rules is expected to be signed off following a meeting of team managers in Austria on Thursday, with some details of parc ferme restrictions still under review.

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