Formula 1 will trial a new race format at three grands prix during the 2021 season after its proposal to introduce sprint qualifying races was approved ahead of this weekend's Portuguese Grand Prix.

Following lengthy discussions, F1 chiefs and the 10 teams have formally agreed to try out a radical experiment to shake-up the weekend format at three races this year. 

The new format was agreed following a meeting of the F1 Commission on Monday, where all the teams, the FIA and the commercial rights holder had to vote.

28 votes were required for the proposals to be approved with each team having one vote, while the FIA and the commercial rights holder had 10 votes each. 

The shorter sprint races are set to take place at Silverstone during the British Grand Prix in July before it is adopted for the Italian Grand Prix at Monza and one undecided non-European race - likely to be Brazil.

At the selected events, Friday will consist of one 60-minute practice session followed by a qualifying session in the afternoon to determine the grid for the 100km sprint race. 

Friday's traditional second practice will be moved to Saturday morning, ahead of the sprint qualifying race, the results of which will then decide the starting grid for Sunday’s main event.

Reduced points - 3, 2, 1 - will be on offer for the top three finishers but there will be no podium presentation as F1 does not want the new format to detract from the significance of Sunday's main event. 

F1 has also confirmed Parc Fermé conditions will apply from the start of qualifying on Friday - ensuring teams don't build cars specifically suited for the new format and to limit the number of hours required for preparing the car for the following day.

After the start of sprint qualifying, cars will be under full Parc Fermé conditions and teams will be prohibited from making major changes to their cars for Sunday's main grand prix.

The proposal had been met with wide support by the teams, though they held some reservations over issues concerning the finer details, including the impact the additional three races would have on spend and the implications that could have on the new cost cap.

Further talks were held at the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix, where teams highlighted their concerns about the extra spend involved.

But a breakthrough was finally made ahead of the second race of the season at Imola after the teams agreed to a financial package to help cover the costs of the three races and potential damage bills.

Speaking of the announcement, F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali said: “We are excited by this new opportunity that will bring our fans an even more engaging race weekend in 2021. Seeing the drivers battling it out over three days will be an amazing experience and I am sure the drivers will relish the fight.

“I am delighted that all the teams supported this plan, and 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.”

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