Formula One adds sprint qualifying to three races in 2021

The new format will have a qualifying session after the first free practice session on Friday to determine the grid for sprint qualifying on Saturday.

Stefano Domenicali, CEO of the Formula One Group, and others during F1 Grand Prix of Emilia Romagna at Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari on April 17, 2021 in Imola, Italy.   -  Getty Images

Formula One said on Monday it will debut a new sprint qualifying format at three races in the 2021 season after it was unanimously approved, with the events to be hosted at two European and one non-European Grand Prix.

The new format will have a qualifying session after the first free practice session on Friday to determine the grid for sprint qualifying on Saturday.

The results from sprint qualifying -- where drivers will compete over 100 km -- will determine the grid for Sunday's race while the top three finishers also receive three, two and one point respectively.

"I am delighted that all the team supported this plan," Formula One president and CEO Stefano Domenicali said in a statement.

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"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."

Domenicali had earlier said one of the sprint races would be at the British Grand Prix at Silverstone in July.

The next race weekend is the Portuguese Grand Prix from April 30-May 2.

Defending champion Lewis Hamilton of Mercedes leads the 2021 standings after two races with 44 points, one point ahead of Red Bull's Max Verstappen.