Organisers say sprint qualifying over a distance of 100km will determine the starting grid and give the top three finishers three, two and one point respectively.

Red Bull's Max Verstappen (R) drives ahead of Mercedes' driver Lewis Hamilton (L) during the Emilia Romagna Formula One Grand Prix at the Autodromo Internazionale Enzo e Dino Ferrari race track in Imola, Italy, on April 18, 2021.
Red Bull's Max Verstappen (R) drives ahead of Mercedes' driver Lewis Hamilton (L) during the Emilia Romagna Formula One Grand Prix at the Autodromo Internazionale Enzo e Dino Ferrari race track in Imola, Italy, on April 18, 2021. (Reuters)

Formula One will debut a new sprint qualifying format at three races in the 2021 season after it was unanimously approved, with the events to be hosted at two European and one non-European Grand Prix.

The new format will have a qualifying session after the first free practice session on Friday to determine the grid for sprint qualifying on Saturday.

The results from sprint qualifying, where drivers will compete over 100km, will determine the grid for Sunday's race while the top three finishers also receive three, two and one point respectively.

"I am delighted that all the teams supported this plan," Formula One president and CEO Stefano Domenicali said in a statement.

'New ways to engage fans'

"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."

Domenicali had earlier said one of the sprint races would be at the British Grand Prix at Silverstone in July.

The next race weekend is the Portuguese Grand Prix from April 30-May 2.

Defending champion Lewis Hamilton of Mercedes leads the 2021 standings after two races with 44 points, one point ahead of Red Bull's Max Verstappen. 

Source: Reuters