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McLaren concerned over qualifying chaos in Monaco
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McLaren concerned over qualifying chaos in Monaco
Posted By: James Allen  |  11 May 2010   |  6:32 pm GMT  |  102 comments

McLaren boss Martin Whitmarsh today spoke of his concern that there would be chaos and controversy during the first part of qualifying in Monaco this weekend, due to the enlarged field and the speed differential between the fastest and slowest cars.


With the three new teams this year regularly around six seconds off the pace in qualifying and 24 cars packed onto the tight streets of Monaco for the first 20 minute session, Whitmarsh predicts trouble. It is possible that one of the front runners might get blocked, miss the cut to get out of Q1 and be forced to start at the back of the field in a race where overtaking is nigh on impossible.

“At the moment we have to accept that there are six cars that are very difficult to avoid,” he said during a Vodafone phone-in with leading websites. “They have been in the order of six/seven seconds slower and when you’re trying to open a gap you have cars behind you so you can’t back off, and it’s a circuit where you’re going to catch cars and a circuit at which it’s very difficult for those cars to get out of the way, even if they want to.”

The idea of splitting that first session into the new teams and then the rest has been discussed but it hasn’t happened, not least because the new teams do not want to be portrayed as second class, especially when the CEOs and Chairmen of their sponsors are watching, as many will be.

Monaco is a rare opportunity for a new team’s driver to get out of Q1. Take someone like Jarno Trulli, a former winner of the race and a real Monaco specialist. He has got to fancy his chances of getting a better lap in than an Liuzzi or a Hulkenberg. He only needs two drivers from established teams to stumble and he’s into Q2. The traffic problems, particularly the HRT cars, will be a great leveller for everyone and will create opportunities.

Also it’s worth pointing out that the Lotus car in Spain was only 2 seconds off the Toro Rosso in qualifying pace and only 2.7 seconds slower than Jenson Button’s McLaren, so not all new teams pose the same threat.

In the 1990s fields of 26 cars were common and in the 1993 Monaco Grand Prix, for example, there were 26 cars attempting to qualify and the slowest was 9 seconds off the pace. Guess who that was? Luca Badoer. Of the cars who did qualify the gap from front to back was six seconds. So it’s not like this has never been done before, even if the time they have for qualifying is much less now.

As for championship leader McLaren’s chances of a 16th Monaco win, they are probably pretty good. Both Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button have won the race before and Hamilton in particular is very strong on tracks where the walls or barriers are close to the track. Red Bull will carry its qualifying advantage over from Spain, but I think McLaren will give them a real run for their money this weekend and Hamilton will have targeted this as a race he can win. Another will be Montreal with its long straights, lack of fast corners and walls lining the track.

* Whitmarsh also confirmed that Lewis Hamilton’s retirement from Sunday’s Spanish Grand Prix was due to a wheel rim failure.

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102 Comments
  1. m de p says:

    sure they are. But it’s monaco, so deal with it.

    1. seisteve says:

      Surely the answer here is for a Gentleman’s agreement with the new teams, they do understand their position and may agree to leave the 305 of the time for the faster teams, they get out at the beginning with everyone for the sponsors but agree to leave the last 6 minutes or so to the rest.

      The have been good (on the whole) about moving out of the way when it is easy and safe to do.

      Congratulations on Lotus on moving toward the big boys over last weekend.

  2. John Gibson says:

    It’s true that Monaco has had 26 cars qualifying at once before, but that was in an era when drivers had 2 hour-long sessions in which to set a time, and unlimited attempts (albeit de facto restricted by tyre allocations). The current scenario, in which drivers have 15 minutes to qualify, is very different.

    1. JohnBt says:

      EXACTLY! We just cannot keep comparing the past, especially the 70s, 80s and even 90s. This the 21st Century for crying out loud. Rather disappointed with FIA not to split the quali.

  3. Matthew says:

    All they need to do is put in 20 minutes worth of fuel and keep driving around until they get a bit of space surely?

    1. James B says:

      Its not that easy. I was at Shanghai this season, and it struck me how little time the cars have to put in a flying lap in quali… You do not have time to whizz round the circuit until you have space – you have to get everything right from beginning to the end of the lap to put in a competitive time, a tiny back marker mistake costing you 0.5s and you can find yourself out of quali. Its a case of getting out there, getting your outlap done, getting in one or two flying laps and coming back to the pits. All it takes is a small bump in the road and you’re out.

      1. JimmiC says:

        That’s what they get paid for.

      2. James B says:

        I don’t see how that’s relevant, I was saying nothing about the drivers living up to their wage packets.

        I was just pointing out “driving around for 20 minutes until they get a time in” is not how quali works, the drivers have a few small number of laps with which to get competitive times in.

        I’m not complaining about this, and I think it makes for an exciting spectacle with experienced drivers starting way down the pack.

      3. Matthew says:

        Sorry, but just like the teams/drivers who are complaining, you are stuck in a ‘this is how qualifying should be’ mentality.

        The drivers aren’t forced to ‘have a small number of laps’ in Q1, and nor do they need to – the teams who are complaining are 4-5 seconds a lap faster than the slowest cars.

        If, 3/4 of the way through a hot lap they find that they have caught up a slower car also on their hot lap, by default all they have to do is stay behind them, cross the start/finish line and they will have put in a faster qualifying lap than that car in front.

        Virgin, Hispania and Lotus will be running on fumes to win the ‘best of newbies’ class, so just cruise around behind them until it pits, then bang a lap in. It doesn’t need to be within 0.5 seconds of whoever is fastest in Q1, it just needs to be quicker than the new boys, and a McLaren with 15 laps worth of fuel on board running on worn tyres will still be miles quicker than any of the new teams.

      4. James B says:

        Wait, what?

        I never said this is how qualifying “should be” I just said this is how qualifying is this season.

        Its not as easy as you make out either, especially when considering the mid-tier teams where little errors or unforseen circumstances can lead to a Q1 exit (Rubens recently)

        But this keeps the race order interesting – I would rather have it this way then have a long enough quali session that there’s never any mix up in the order.

    2. jonrob says:

      I quali the tyres have really only one absolute optimum lap in them, so to get that to coincide with the warmup being done and then to hit no traffic, is unlikely. The opportunities for a red flag in quali may be the highest ever.
      The change of top teams being “out of place” is very great.

  4. JimmiC says:

    On a track where mechanical grip is paramount, will the new teams be brought closer to the rest of the field? Factors like engine power and even the recent aerodynamic upgrades aren’t going to figure as much on the tight streets, and there are some wise heads in those teams who have been here before and know the challenges of keeping away from the armco.

    Personally, I’m more worried about the race as a spectacle. It’s going to be an even bigger procession than is usual at Monaco with no refuelling and (probably) one stop.

  5. ashley edwards says:

    Why don’t they use the 2005 quail system for that race?

    1. They need all teams to agree to changing the format, at least Lotus objected

  6. knoxploration says:

    It’s okay, Martin — I’m sure Lewis will find a rule or two that he can ignore without punishment, hence regaining any advantage lost in qualifying. ;-)

    Newsflash: Qualifying conditions will be the same for everybody. Quit whining, and get on with the job. We’ve had as many or more cars in Monaco qualifying before, with as large or larger speed differentials — and we didn’t have the precision track monitoring we have nowadays that lets teams plan their qualy laps based on the surrounding traffic, either.

    1. Cliff says:

      Why bring Lewis Hamilton into the discussion? Matin Whitmarsh was answering a question. Moreover, it was Bruno Senna who wanted to approach Charlie Whiting about changing the Monaco Qualifying format. Remind me, who does Bruno Senna drive for?

    2. Bevan says:

      Thoughtless vindictive comments IMO are best left for garbage websites like planet F something.You should check it out Knoxxy,you’d fit right in.

  7. Sven says:

    Has anyone given a thought to extend Q1 from 20 minutes to something like 30-40 minutes. It would be fair to all drivers and teams and would at least ease the traffic problems somewhat

    1. JohnBt says:

      Another practical idea. FIA???

    2. Grabyrdy says:

      Excellent plan.

      But when I first heard about this, I thought that the qualy would be split by lots – 2 top teams, 2 middle teams, 2 “new” teams”, worked out by championship points, and if necessary, drawing straws. That would have been a better idea, and I’m sure no-one would have objected.

      For example :

      First lot : McLaren, Mercedes / Force India, Toro Rosso / Sauber, Hispania

      Second lot : Red Bull, Ferrari / Renault, Williams, /Lotus, Virgin.

      Have I forgotten anyone ?

      1. Phil C says:

        I think one of the suggestions mooted was to split the session into two 10-minute slots, with the first ten mins seeing the odd numbered cars out (1,3,5,etc.) and the second ten mins seeing the even numbered cars out. That way, each team is represented in the sessions fairly, and there are only 13 cars on track at any time.

        There will be a problem, I don’t think the FIA or FOTA expected the new teams to be so far off the pace, otherwise this would have been bought up prior to the start of the season. Unlike the 80′s and 90′s, you are talking about all 24 cars on track during 20mins, not during an hour. back then, if you were blocked by a backmarker, you had time to create space and go again. Here, if you don’t set a decent time in 20mins, you’re out.

      2. Pete says:

        I thought I read somewhere that the objections were based partly on sponsorship reasons – i.e. not wanting to be seen as being part of the second class group. This odd-numbered cars idea at least would ameliorate that concern!

  8. michael says:

    Hello James, so no surprise (comment) on Lewis’s undeniable speed compared to Jenson in Barcelona? It seems he alone has the ability to make a very slow car – in comparison to the Bulls – move very, very fast seconded only by his good old Nemesis Teflonso.

    And – What if anything has happened to Clive Allen on F1Insight. Do You know?

    all the best

    1. rfs says:

      I think Clive just lost interest in the blog.

  9. Stuart Moore says:

    But when there were this many cars before – how long did they get to qualify?

    Adding some time onto the length of Q1 would have been a good compromise.

    1. jonrob says:

      If you are old enough you will remember quali being on for hours, those even older will remember aggregated times over two days.
      I can’t remember a thing! :-)

  10. Merk says:

    Those 3 teams should be deported to GP2 where they belong, seriously.

    They have only had a negative stamp on the 2010 season so far.

    1. JimmiC says:

      Negative? Given their lack of testing time, coupled with the enormous amount of money and expertise being plowed into the sport by the established order… I think they have performed phenominally well. In a season or two’s time, one or more of the top teams could be a midfield battler, or even pushing for points. New teams shake up the old orders, and it would be wrong to dismiss them after a few races when they could well be the future.

      1. JimmiC says:

        I should add… “one or more of the top teams” should read “one or more of the new teams.” I have had a long day.

    2. James B says:

      Entirely untrue. I don’t know if you followed the season build up, but if you did you’d know how little time many of these teams had to come up with not only competitive designs but also a well oiled F1 crew.

      Give them time to actually engineer their cars and develop a team and I’m sure we’ll be seeing much more competitive performance for some if not all of them, even though we may have to wait til next season.

      Don’t forget they’re also providing a much needed drive for drivers who otherwise might have been watching this season from home. Heikki, Trulli and Glock to name but three have all proven they deserve drives in F1 and its good to see them on the grid, but what’s more it gives a way in for talented new faces like Chandhok.

      It makes for a much more interesting event than just 24 Ferraris zooming round the track with no performance differnce.

      1. Carl says:

        6-7 seconds per lap slower in the race and making sure average drivers get a paycheck.. is all these 3 teams do…failure and they make look F1 amateuristic.

        Get rid of them.

      2. James B says:

        It takes significant time and massive effort to build up an entirely new F1 team from scratch (which has been done exceptionally rarely) – if you don’t allow new entrants the time to become competitive the sport will just stagnate – and that really will be bad for F1.

        Be patient, and enjoy the ride.

      3. Phil C says:

        Let’s put this in perspective…

        Virgin – were accepted by the FIA first, when the details were announced. Have had the longest uninterrupted period prior to the season started. Took their car to test, and it was a disaster. have had to restrict testing to fixing their reliability problems.

        Lotus – Were a backup team, given the nod in September, effectively having 3 months to design a car

        HRT – Were accepted with Virgin, as Campos. Huge financial difficulties, and uncertainty, meant their car was developed in bits. Their participation was only confirmed a week before Bahrain. They’ve had no opportunity to test, as in-season testing is banned. Developing their car as they race.

        USF1 – erm…

        Each new team has had problems, or a serious lack of development time. To be where they are now, I give them credit. This is their testing year. Next season is when they will start upping their game.

  11. GLM says:

    why don’t they do a ‘superpole’ type session instead of the first quali session – where each guy gets one shot at a quick time…. the top 18 then get on with quali as normal.

    Seems silly to create such confusion and danger. Think I read on the BBC Nick Fry say that if all the cars are out on track at the same time and evenly spaced it would equate to a car every 200 meters and half the time its the more experienced drivers slowing up to create a gap that gets in the way of other people on quick laps.

    But then again, like you say James, its been done before…….

    1. I reckon that 24 cars all evenly spread out will be 134m per car

      1. jonrob says:

        Well over two hours between cars, that’s a bit boring!

  12. srking says:

    Hi James,

    The big difference between this year and previous years with lots of qualy traffic is the duration – I can’t remember off the top of my head but I think it was 2x 1hr sessions back in ’93. This year they will have only 20mins.

    My guess is that the smart teams will be queueing in the pitlane at the start of Q1; the track may be green, but that won’t be a problem to beat cars 6 seconds off the pace.

    Another issue that may arise is what happens if there’s an accident with under 10mins to go and the red flags come out? Several fast-/out-laps would then need to be aborted, and the rush to get out to set a time would be potentially chaotic.

    Cheers,
    Steven

    1. JohnBt says:

      “Another issue that may arise is what happens if there’s an accident with under 10mins to go and the red flags come out? Several fast-/out-laps would then need to be aborted, and the rush to get out to set a time would be potentially chaotic.”

      BINGO!!!

    2. Phil C says:

      Question – how long before the green light can the cars go out into the pit lane? Can the cars be started at the end of the pit lane?

      If yes, we could see the top teams out 10 mins or more before the start of the session perhaps?

  13. paddy says:

    James,
    This weekend is going to be the Red Bull show isn’t it. I just cannot see a car with such an aero advantage lose this race. Last year they had no double diffuser, this year they have got a freak of a car. My guess is they are going to get pole by 1.5 to 2 seconds. Are you thinking along the same lines or is there someone else we should have our eye on.

    1. jonrob says:

      Not if they get blocked in quali, or choose a bad time. Historically they have left it very late to go out, if they do this in Monaco they risk a red flag,

  14. Bec says:

    I hope there is “chaos and controversy” during qualifying.

    The sport needs drama, but with ‘bland grey men’ like Whitmarsh chairing FOTA, it’s all a bit to bland.

    It’s meant to be entertaining and entertainment Martin, no some corporate F1 parade !

    1. Trent says:

      Exactly.

      “It is possible that one of the front runners might get blocked, miss the cut to get out of Q1 and be forced to start at the back of the field in a race where overtaking is nigh on impossible.”

      Sounds fantastic to me.

  15. Steve White says:

    A simple solution is to split Q1 and Q2. Each team to run one car in each of the first two quali sessions. The ten fastest go to Q3 and the order of the rest is determined on the times. This gives reduced numbers of cars in each session – could make a difference somewhere like Monaco.

    1. Steve McGill says:

      Excellent idea I think. Sure some would be whinging about changing track conditions being unfair etc!

  16. Stuart Fenton says:

    Typical F1. What worries/annoys the teams, is clearly going to thrill the fans. Im excited for it.

  17. Torrent says:

    Why do you have to put Luca BADOER in that post James ? The guy’s career is over, let him in peace !

    As for MONACO, it might be close between RedBULL and McLaren but whatever the outcome as long as the arrogant doesn’t win, I’m happy !

    As you would have guessed, by “the arrogant” I mean Lewis HAMILTON, who else ! Even his dad doesn’t get along with him anymore.

    P.S. don’t tell me he’s talented, great overtaker and all the bla bla bla… I totally agree but I hate his arrogance

    1. Matt says:

      Have you got any recent evidence of Hamilton’s arrogance? As in, not quotes from two or three years back that people keep regurgitating?

      It’s a shame you have to lower the tone of this forum, It’s usually the only place on the net you can find mature conversation on F1.

    2. R.B. says:

      Greats divide opinions like nobody else, don’t they??:)

      1. beadles27 says:

        you are so right rb. I can’t warm to lewis for some reason. but my god, he is so exciting to watch, and he (usually) gives it his all. a nigel mansell type ( to the power of four)

    3. rfs says:

      If you hate Hamilton so much then why do you give him a special moniker? “The Arrogant”? lol.

      1. Torrent says:

        It’s great to see there are so many lawyers in the Forum, one day I might need you

      2. James Allen says:

        I’m sure they will do mates rates..

    4. Mike says:

      I’m sure I’ve read equally stupid comments from you on other website forums – PF1?

      I thought I’d found a forum that allowed sensible balanced debate – apparently not!

      1. James Allen says:

        You have found a forum which allows sensible, balanced debate. We have strict rules here, I suggest you read them, and tight comment moderation. People are allowed to express strong opinions and we welcome contributions from fans with all levels of understanding of the sport

  18. Jodum5 says:

    Excellent insight on the giant field of cars trying to qualify in the early 90s. I don’t get (actually I do) why some are making such a stink over it. Okay, a few top cars get caught out, cry me a river. Plus it should make for a more interesting race (luckiily without using gimmicks).

  19. Casey says:

    A shame if something like this affects the outcome of the season.

  20. S.J.M says:

    Although its understandable for McLaren (and probably all the top teams) to fear slower drivers, they have to realise that slow cars arent only a potential hazard for them, but also their rivals. As you pointed out James, its not just 6 new teams to worry about, but a string of new drivers in F1 that might have limited experience at Monaco. If this makes qualifying more exciting then the last 5 races (which had become too predictable) then all the better. Throw in some potential rain, and this could be chaotic and fun to watch.

  21. Tom D says:

    How much quicker are they lapping now than in the past? That reduces track capacity. Also when there were 26 teams before the format of qualifying was different. YOu didn’t have such a short window to stay in the event.

  22. C says:

    Ah, but back when there were so many cars, the sessions were 60 minutes long, so it wasn’t so hard to get a semblance of a clean lap in the entire process. Now Q1, the real problem, is far shorter, and the slowest teams tend to be lapping constantly during this period.

    So comparing this to the 90s is not apples to apples James, and you know it.

  23. Bill Day says:

    Hey, that’s motor racing.

  24. Phill says:

    Looking forward to the weekend!

  25. The joy of Monaco is it’s much less about the machinery and all about how the driver’s can throw it around close to the walls. Jenson was epic here last year and he’s my favourite going into the weekend.

  26. Jon says:

    If a driver is found to be impeded (as in if the stewards award a penalty) will the FIA finally address the ruling and advance the driver who was impeded and give him a chance in Q2 or Q3?

    If you think about it, it’s fair even if that driver didn’t deserve it. Because in the next session he will just go to the back anyway if the is slow.

    It’s going to be REALLY STUPID if these backmarkers affect the championship and if Webber/Vettel, Alonso, Hamilton or Button aren’t able to advance to Q2 because of a backmarker.

    They did something like this in Monaco with DC and Heiki a few years ago, but I’m talking more about instating a rule.

    Personally, I don’t like these backmarkers at all. Even having to overtake them 4 or 5 times a race is beyond a joke. It’s like Mosley is sitting back at home and laughing at the joke he has pulled on everyone. But if they crash into someone or ruin qualifying it will be a joke. Who cares if they get into Q2. They will be slow in the race and will probably retire anyway.

  27. Maxime Labelle says:

    James,

    My understanding is that Mercedes will revert to the previous, shorter car for Monaco.

    I sure hope this is good news for Rosberg, who has not yet fully adapted to his new
    car.

    How do you think this will impede Schumacher’s chances to shine there ?

    1. James Allen says:

      Not what I heard in Spain. Let’s be clear, the lengthening is about suspension geometry, the chassis is the same length

      1. Knuckles says:

        ‘Fry said his team, which used an updated car in Spain, will revert to the shorter wheelbase machine for Monaco.

        “There is some specific front suspension for Monaco so it will be different again. As always we do some unique changes for Monaco, because the cars designed for circuits like Barcelona won’t get around the hairpin.”‘

        http://www.autosport.com/news/report.php/id/83527

  28. John Z says:

    Let’s hope that Schumacher does a better job in qualifying than he did the last time he was in Monaco.

    1. JohnBt says:

      No Parking Please…LOL!

  29. Gantsta says:

    Why is this issue only just being raised? Why did FOTA and the FIA not consider scenarios like this when they were busy tinkering with the rules? IMHO they should all just get on with it. Everyone will be in the same boat. If it all goes belly up perhaps a lesson will be Learnt. Let’s face it, if it’s dry we’ll need something to spice the race up as competitive overtakes will be nigh close to impossible at Monaco with the current aero specs.

    1. Phil C says:

      I don’t think FOTA and the FIA realised that by this point in the season, there would be a speed differential of around 6 seconds between the top teams and the new teams.

      Remember Lotus at the start of the season were saying the new points system meant they should be able to pick up some?

    2. Martin Collyer says:

      I think you are right Gantsa, this should have been forseen last year.

      Drivers too, should have realised way back that this could be a problem.

  30. GP says:

    This is going to be one hell of demolition derby.

  31. A.K. says:

    why should the top teams worry so much when they can go out early and set a competitive time and sit out the rest of Q1 and let the midfield and new teams slug it out for the rest of the segment?

  32. Kenny says:

    In reference to Hamilton’s wheel rim failure, is it just me or did it look terrifyingly similar to Heikki Kovaleinen’s in 2008?
    If Mclaren still use Enkei rims which I think they still do, would Mclaren start having talks with Enkei about its manufacturing or supplies?
    Even if both the incidents don’t really seem to be related and far and few.

  33. David says:

    This does not look good. I am afraid that if something is not done soon to stem the boredom
    we are going to loose allot of fans.
    There needs to be a concerted effort to bring back passing at all costs.

    1. Zobra Wambleska says:

      I’ve followed F1 since 1956 and while I love to see lots of passing it’s not what keeps me interested in the formula. For me, and I suspect a lot of hard core fans, the interest package is a much bigger than that one issue. I’m interested in the technology on all levels, the personalities, the strategy, and the constant struggle that all teams find themselves having to just keep up. The real interests can only be fully appreciated over a season and beyond. I’d suggest that, for those of you that want instant gratification and a passing frenzy to keep from getting bored, you move on to a different form of racing.

      1. jonrob says:

        Ah yes, remember “our Noige” chasing the back end of a certain someone, about six inches (and sometimes less) behind, for the last few laps. Now that’s how we want the aero today!
        Even with good aero back then, it was impossible to overtake in Monaco if the one in front defended even minimally; so today we stand no chance of seeing any contested overtake. Unless as last year coming out of the tunnel into a forced error.

  34. mael says:

    The smart thing for the teams who are new to the sport would be for them to NOT run in qualifying.

    They would save the embarrassment to their drivers the potential expense of damaged equipment and most likely earn plenty of brownie points with the more established teams.

    The new teams are not going to be at the pointy end of the grid and as we have seen, not very likely to make it to Q2.

    ‘A man’s gotta know his limitations’ (Clint Eastwood), and surely the new teams know they are going to get tripped over in the hectic scramble that will be Q3.

    So if I were advising them, I’d tell them to make the most of practice and then march up to the top teams and tell them they are going to NOT post a time in Q3 and for them to remember this gesture in the future.

    1. obi wan oakley says:

      Forgive me if i’m being ignorant but if the new teams elected not to take part in qualifying would there not be some sort of penalty that would then exclude them from participating in the race?

      I’m not saying that is the case & i suppose i should really know as i’ve been watching F1 since 1997.

      1. mael says:

        I guess it is probably much like ‘Team Orders’ in that respect.

        But they could just as easy say they will go out first do 2 laps and then stay in the garage.

        They have nothing to gain but everything to lose by being mobile chicanes.

      2. Phil C says:

        sponsorship, corporate hospitality, they’ll have invited VIPs and will be wooing sponsors at Monaco, the biggest race of the year.

        So not going out in qualifying, or not going out and putting in just a token showing, could do some damage.

      3. mael says:

        ‘So not going out in qualifying, or not going out and putting in just a token showing, could do some damage.’

        You mean being lapped 4 times in a race or being the cause of an expensive accident or destroying a top 4 teams qualifying by not being able to get out of the way is not going to do some damage?

        These teams will get more sponsors if the demonstrate some common sense.

    2. Martin Collyer says:

      I don’t have extensive knowledge of the rulebook but I think I have heard or read somewhere that if you are eligible to run in a Q session you have got to run (mechanical failures, car stranded on track in previous session etc apart)

      1. mael says:

        Well put in 2 laps in Q3 and get out of the way.

        That would make Q3 15min for the rest of the teams. Better to have excitement against the clock than against a barrier or someones rear suspension.

        All cars on track with only 140 -150m between them with the speed and talent differential is not good.

      2. Martin Collyer says:

        I don’t think that would count as having attempted to take part, no timed lap!

        You may be about to suggest a three lap run and that would count as an attempt to set a time.

        But the true problem here is that this whole problem could have/should have been foreseen last year giving plenty of time to sort the problem.

        There are some good suggestions under this story as to how this problem could have been addressed, but it’s far too late to do anything for this year’s race.

      3. mael says:

        You are right Martin, there are plenty of good suggestions here, but none can be implemented now, apart from mine of course ;)

  35. monktonnik says:

    With the new teams being so far off the pace, and even last year there where many incidents of cars missing Q2 or Q3 because of traffic.

    Does anyone think that single lap qualifying is a good idea for next year?

    We could have single lap for to decide 11-24 (or 26) then the normal top 10 shoot out. I know there are issues with tracks rubbering in etc, but the time lost must be less than coming up against a car that is 6 seconds slower.

    It would also save on tyres, which would help the new supplier for 2011.

  36. khan says:

    Thats the beauty of the sport, isnt it?

    You talk about competition, right. It surely aint about speed only. F1 should be a combination of speed, skill and strategy and requires team and drivers to anticipate the changing conditions. You have to be an oppurtunist, as Button did in China and Australia. He was not faster than red bulls but he grabbed his chance. HRT, Lotus and Virgin will have their chances in Monaco and they do have their right to grab it because they are no mugs, they are professional racing outfits. Mr. Whitmarsh, please do not undermine the competetion, you have a fast car but you do need to respect slower teams.

  37. Zuke says:

    Suck it up, it’s racing.

    1. JohnBt says:

      But what if one is driving a Ferrari sports car and the other a Hyundai Accent? Will that be racing? Did you noticed there were taxis circulating during the Spain GP.

      1. jonrob says:

        They were just picking up the drivers who went off! :-)

  38. Jake Pattison says:

    Whitmarsh is just worried about Button getting stuck behind someone again….

    and with good reason :p

  39. JohnBt says:

    Will it be possible for FOTA to make their internal decision and all teams agree to split up into 12 faster cars (10 mins) and 12 slower cars (10 mins).

    Ermmm….Karun might show them the two fingers thingy. I’m taking it as a lottery. Imagine De Grassi in 5th.

    On hindsight, if all dosen’t work out well, then no procession???

    Rain is a must! Where’s the juju man?

    1. Rob says:

      I completely agree FOTA can do it outside of FOM and the FIA officially changing the rules.

  40. Steven Pritchard says:

    Unfortunately this is just a fact of life, and the teams / driver will just have to manage. Not ideal, but should make for an interesting grid.

    I expect Hamilton to be mighty in Monaco, but you have to think the Red Bulls will come up trumps (although they really struggled with tyre wear last year…)

  41. 18is9 says:

    if the only problem is that the new teams dont wanna appear second class, the solution is simple: don’t split the field between new and old teams, but split it more evenly into two fields, this will simply cause the cars to have more space, which is the main problem…

  42. David Jerromes says:

    Unless the weather intervenes, getting through Q1 is going to be so hectic in the last minute or so, especially with cars on hot laps after the clock has reached 0:00 and others are slowing down on their ‘special mixture settings’ heading for the pits….

    I believe we’ll see at least one of the new teams’ cars making it through to Q2 just because of the likelihood of traffic blighting the hot laps of some of those who customarily are there!

    I had thought that increasing the Q1 session time by 30 or even 50% might help, however its always the frenzied rush to avoid the ignomany of that cut at the session end that will be there regardless of whether the session is 20, 30 or 40 minutes!

    Monaco will be exciting for sure, I predict plenty of carbon-fibre on the streets ALL this race weekend…

  43. James Punt says:

    I remember when traction control was banned, many drivers predicted chaos in Monaco, especially if it was wet. What happened? It was wet and the attrition rate was no greater than usual.
    Perhaps predictions of the end of the world as F1 knows it are a little far of the mark. Perhaps the powers that be also know that the race will be another bore and only the sight of a top driver trying to overtake around Monaco will keep the punters awake.

    1. jonrob says:

      It may keep the drivers awake too!
      Remember when Senna, in the lead by miles, got bored and fell asleep? DNF!

  44. GTRacer says:

    I don’t think it will prove to be any more of a problem than usual.

    There were 22 cars in 2006 with the same qualifying format we have today, The slowest cars were 3-4 seconds slower (About what Virgin/Lotus were off the pace by in FP1/2 today) & the only issue in q1 was Massa crashing at Casino.

    Like today in 2006 I recall teams complaining that Super Aguri would cause problems at Monaco in there 4 year old Arrows chassis & they didn’t.

    Something else to consider is that GP2 only get 30 minuites to qualify & all 24 cars are out at the same time & it never causses any problems. The slowest GP2 car in practice today was 4.2 seconds off the pace so in the realm of the new F1 teams.

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