Formula One – Grand Prix Format

A Formula One Grand Prix takes place over a weekend i.e., on 3 days − Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Different events take place on each of these 3 days. They are −

  • Friday − Free Practice Sessions

  • Saturday − Free Practice Session plus Qualifying Session

  • Sunday − Race Day

Practice Sessions

Every Grand Prix begins with 3 free practice sessions, with 2 of them held on Friday; each of 90 minutes, one in the morning and the other in the afternoon. The last practice session takes place on Saturday.

Drivers other than regular drivers, called third drivers can participate in Friday practice sessions in place of the regular driver. The third drivers are usually newcomers, trying to gain experience and exposure at such events.

Qualifying Sessions

The second day, Saturday, begins with the 3rd practice session in the morning, for a duration of one hour. The qualifying session follows in the afternoon and this session is used to determine the starting order for the race day (Sunday).

The qualifying session lasts one hour and is divided into 3 knock-out stages − Q1, Q2, Q3, with small intervals in between.

Q1 lasts 18 minutes and all 20 cars race on the circuit. Of these the five slowest cars are eliminated and they occupy the places − 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, on the grid.

Q2 begins after a brief interval with 16 cars and lasts 15 minutes. Again, the five slowest cars are eliminated and they occupy the places − 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, on the grid.

Finally, Q3 begins with the 10 remaining cars and is 12 minutes long and fill the remaining 10 positions on the grid. The fastest driver occupies ‘pole position’, a position on the grid that is considered best to begin a game.

Race Day

The main event of a Grand Prix, the race day is held on a Sunday afternoon.