F1 Sprint Races: Will the new qualifying races be in F1 2021?

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The season is well underway, and it has been a remarkably close fight at the top already.

F1 2021 will be the official video game of the current Formula 1 season, recreating the season as closely as possible for gamers.

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But will the latest addition make the cut?

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F1 sprint races

Long rumoured, Formula 1 will trial a new qualifying system across three Grands Prix this season in an attempt to shake up the grid and make things less "predictable".

The new format, called "Sprint Qualifying" will see a qualifying session on Friday, that will determine the grid for a 100km (62 miles) race on Saturday. There are no mandatory pitstops in this race, which depending on circuit could be as few as 15-20 laps, and the final order of that race will determine the grid for Sunday's race.

WHEEL-TO-WHEEL: You'll need to make some moves in the sprint race if you want to get a good spot on the grid
WHEEL-TO-WHEEL: You'll need to make some moves in the sprint race if you want to get a good spot on the grid
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Formula 1 president and 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.”

The system will be tested at two European and one non-European race this season, but the actual events are not yet finalised.

However, what we want to know is will it be in F1 2021!?

The difficulty of adding new content

F1 games have had sprint race-feature race style weekends in the game for two years now, thanks to the inclusion of the F2 series.

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So in theory that means it would be possible to have the F1 qualifying format tweaked to replicate the new style.

It could either then appear in three random race weekends (fingers crossed not Monaco!) or be a simple toggle on/off so players can interact with it at will.

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However, as we've seen across the gaming world, it is not always that easy to create new options in games, even if they exist in some form elsewhere.

The F2 format, which has also changed for 2021, is not a direct comparison for the new F1 style and would still need changes.

With Codemasters already hard at work creating three new circuits for the game and of course the brand-new Braking Point story mode, there may not be the time available to implement the new qualifying system. As it is only in the trial phase, Codemasters may also decide that it isn't worth the resources making something that could quickly be removed ahead of next season.

F1 2021 release date

The new Formula 1 game has an official release date of 16 July.

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You can get your hands on it early if you order the Deluxe Edition, which comes with three days early access!