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The Azerbaijan Grand Prix will be the first race to feature a re-jigged sprint format, which was signed off at a meeting of the F1 Commission on Tuesday.

Sprint weekends will now feature two qualifying sessions, one to set the grid for a shortened sprint race on Saturday and another to set the grid for the grand prix itself on Sunday.

Baku, which runs between April 28-30, will be the first of six F1 events this year to feature the altered format.

Fridays will remain the same as 2021 and 2022 under the new sprint schedule, with a practice session followed by the traditional qualifying session.

Saturdays is where the changes have taken place, with the second practice session being replaced by a shorter qualifying session dubbed the Sprint Shootout.

The Shootout will take place under the Q1-Q2-Q3 format of standard qualifying, albeit with less time in each session to the Friday event.

The ten drivers who make it through to Q3 in the Shootout will only have eight minutes to set a time, increasing the possibility of drivers only setting one time or being unable to complete a lap, which F1 hopes will result in mixed up grids for the sprint event.

The Shootout will set the grid for the sprint race held later that same day, which is a race which runs to 100km of whichever circuit is hosting the format — in Baku that equates to 17 laps.

The starting grid of Sunday’s grand prix, where a maximum of 26 points can be won, will be determined by the standard qualifying session on Friday.

Only eight points are available in Saturday’s sprint to the top eight finishers.

Teams unanimously agreed to the change and the rule change was voted in at a meeting of the F1 Commission in Geneva.

F1 and the FIA’s joint statement said: “All stakeholders believe this will boost the spectacle of sprint weekends and enhance track action for fans around the world”.

Previously in sprint weekends the Friday qualifying session had set the starting order for the Saturday sprint race, which then in turn determined the starting order of Sunday’s main race.

Teams felt that under the old format the Saturday practice session was irrelevant to the rest of the weekend.

F1 boss Stefano Domenicali has previously said he wants to get rid of practice sessions in favour of more sessions with a meaningful sporting outcome for those watching.

The sprint concept was first devised in 2021 in a bid to spice up certain events but it remains controversial, with drivers split on its benefits.

There were three sprint events in 2021 and 2022, but that number has doubled for the current season.

Many race promoters prefer the idea of a sprint weekend to a traditional format, with qualifying on Friday giving them three days of competitive running, rather than a Friday with two practice sessions followed by two days of competitive running.

This year, there will also be sprints in Austria, Belgium, Qatar, Austin and Brazil.

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F1 adds ‘Sprint Shootout’ qualifying event to sprint weekends