Formula 1
Significant changes are set to be made to the sprint events for the 2024 Formula 1 season. Rula Rouhana/Reuters

The schedule for the 2024 Formula 1 sprint calendar has been released with the Chinese and Miami Grand Prix listed among the host venues for the sprint events.

This will be the first time both circuits host the sprint event with China making its return to the F1 calendar for the first time since 2019, as the presence of COVID-19 meant races could not be staged there. China was set to be part of the 2023 F1 calendar but COVID-19 was still a major issue so the race weekend at Shanghai International Circuit was cancelled.

Joining China and Miami as sprint venues in 2024 are the Austrian, Brazilian, United States and Qatar Grand Prix. This will be Brazil's fourth time hosting the sprint weekend, with the Interlagos Circuit in Sao Paulo having held it there since the sprint event was introduced to the F1 calendar in the 2021 season.

The Austrian Grand Prix will host its third sprint weekend in succession whilst the US Grand Prix in Austin and the Qatar race will host its second consecutive sprint weekends.

The sprint weekend was introduced to the F1 calendar to bring greater excitement across certain race weekends throughout the season. Having the 100km sprint race ensures there is competitive racing and increased interest across the three days of a Grand Prix.

Drivers have an incentive to take the sprint event seriously as championship points are added to the top eight performing drivers. The winner of the sprint receives eight points with the other seven receiving one less point than the driver that finished ahead of them.

President and CEO of Formula 1, Stefano Domenicali spoke on the decision to add China and Miami to the sprint schedule for 2024. He said: "Both will be fantastic additions and provide great racing for all our fans at the race and watching at home. A sprint in Miami will add a new dimension to an enthralling weekend."

Domenicali alluded to the success of the sprint event, commenting: "The sprint has been consistent in delivering increased audiences on TV, more on-track entertainment for the fans at events and increased fan engagement on social and digital platforms, and we are looking forward to the exciting events next year."

The sprint events in 2024 are set to be altered as a meeting last month between the F1 commission in Abu Dhabi saw there be a desire for new updates to the sprint weekends format.

Key changes are set to be made over the scheduling of the sprint weekends next season. In the 2023 campaign, Friday's schedule would include the first and only practice session plus the qualifying for the main race on Sunday, with Saturday reserved for sprint qualifying and the sprint race itself.

The proposed changes for the 2024 campaign will see the sprint qualifying join the practice session on Friday, with the sprint race and main race qualifying taking place on Saturday. Previously the decision to not have the qualifying for the main race on Saturday during sprint weekends did not go down well as that is typically the final event before the main race on Sunday.

Other changes proposed for the 2024 sprint schedule include reversing the current rule where teams cannot alter their car after the practice session on a Friday during sprint weekends.

Also, the use of a reverse grid may be considered for the sprint races in 2024. This could see the results of sprint qualifying be flipped so that the fastest drivers start from the back, although this change would need to be given plenty of thought to prevent teams from methodically throwing sprint qualifying for a better position in the sprint race.

The F1 commission will have another meeting in early 2024 where the proposed sprint event changes will be discussed further and officially announced if greenlit. This will be just in time for the 2024 F1 season which begins on February 29th with the Bahrain Grand Prix.

The first sprint event of the 2024 season will be at the Chinese Grand Prix in April with the Miami and Austrian Grand Prix following in the first half of the season. The US, Brazilian and Qatar Grand Prix will follow as the sprint weekends in the second half of the season.