Silverstone boss Stuart Pringle hopes the staging of Formula One’s first ever sprint qualifying race will boost ticket sales for the British Grand Prix.

F1 chiefs announced earlier this week that the format would be trialled at three rounds this year.

A shorter race, roughly a third of the distance of a normal grand prix, will replace qualifying on Saturday.

The top three will be awarded points and the finishing result will determine the grid for Sunday’s main event. Qualifying will move to Friday afternoon.

It is hoped the changes will spice up a grand prix weekend and, if successful, they will be rolled out on a more regular basis from next season onwards.

Silverstone will stage the first race on July 17, with Monza understood to be in line to stage the second at September’s Italian Grand Prix.

Interlagos could host the final sprint race of the season if Brazil’s high Covid-19 infection rates do not scupper their grand prix in November.

Managing director Pringle said: “We are incredibly excited that Silverstone fans will be the first to experience the Formula One sprint qualifying format at this year’s British Grand Prix.

“We have not seen such a major timetable shake up in the sport for years and I appreciate the continued efforts being made by Formula One and the FIA to enhance the entertainment on track giving our spectators even more to look forward to this July.

“The Friday and Saturday crowds at Silverstone are arguably the largest on the F1 calendar and, following the live events drought of 2020, this year will be no exception.

“Given we have very nearly sold out of tickets for Sunday, Saturday now represents a great opportunity for fans to see a Formula One race at Silverstone this summer.”

While there will be no fans at the next two races in Portugal and Spain, Silverstone hope to be at full capacity of 140,000 for this summer’s British Grand Prix, with Covid-19 restrictions in the UK due to be lifted on June 21.