Some unfinished business
Suzuka 2014
Japanese Grand Prix
Drivers react to qualifying Changes ahead of season opener in Melbourne
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XPB.cc
Posted By: James Allen  |  13 Mar 2014   |  9:08 am GMT  |  128 comments

The FIA has made some subtle last minute changes to the F1 qualifying rules for this season, to ensure that cars go out in the third and final part of the session. And FIA Race Director has cleared up some important details about how other aspects of the racing this year will be policed.

All cars will be given an extra set of the softest tyres brought by Pirelli. The cars which qualify between P11 and P22 are allowed to use them in the race, but the cars which qualify in the top ten have to use them in Q3 only. They will then start the race on the tyres they used to set their Q2 time.

Fernando Alonso’s reaction to the changes was, “I think it will not be a huge difference, from the outside especially. OK there were some cars that didn’t run in Q3 or they only did one run in Q3 and now maybe we’ll see an extra lap from everybody but apart from that I think it’s not a huge change in approach in the qualifying for the teams and the drivers. Anyway, I think this change is welcome, to see more cars on tracks. I arrive many times with no new sets for Q3, so now I’m happy.”

To accommodate the changes, Q1 has been shortened and Q3 lengthened slightly. This should make for a busy track in all three sessions and some traffic problems in Q1 and Q2 particularly.

There is concern this weekend that we may not see some cars running in the final practice session on Saturday morning due to reliability concerns. If a team thinks it has a problem it is unlikely to risk running in FP3 and then lose the chance to compete in qualifying due to being forced to change a power unit, which takes far longer than the two hours between Fp3 and Qualifying.

FIA Race Director Charlie Whiting acknowledged that some teams have already indicated to him that they may well do this and the rules do not forbid it.

These are early days with this technology, but Whiting stressed that the F1 teams will get on top of it and this is expected to be a short term problem.

In a briefing to the media, Whiting clarified a few points. The new 5 second penalty for a driving infringement will be applied as a car pits before any work is done on it. If the driver does not need to stop again the penalty will be applied on the slowing down lap and the results adjusted accordingly.

The 107% rule for cars being allowed to race, despite being too slow to qualify – the stewards will use their discretion on this and only if a car has been able to do hardly any laps at all will it possibly fall foul of the rule.

Another key point is that Pirelli has asked for three aspects of tyre use to be regulated by the FIA:

A minimum starting tyre pressure
End of straight camber (the angle at which the tyres lean in at the top) to protect the tyre shoulders
A maximum temperature for the tyres in the blankets prior to use (this will be regulated by a thermometer sticker on the tyres)

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128 Comments
  1. Egon says:

    So if they use that extra set in qualifying, they can save another set for a race?

    And P11-P22 people, they have an extra set of soft tyres but they still have to use medium, etc. So this extra set helps them only if they make an extra pitstop too… Or?

    1. Gudien says:

      No matter what the new rules are the teams will find a legal way around them. And when caught circumventing the rules the teams and drivers will lie to officials.

      Sometimes those breaking the rules become legends of the sport therefore it’s worth the effort.

    2. Nick says:

      Not necessarily.

      For example as Alonso claimed, he often found himself in Q3 without a fresh set of options. So under the new rules, he’d then be given a fresh set to run on. Alternatively, if a team only has one new set going into quali, where they might only get one real run in with the old rules, with the new rules they might go for two runs. Or they might indeed just take the freebie set and make one run and just save their other set for the race.

      For the Q2/Q1 drop-outs, the extra set they’re given for the race might mean they can afford to push it a bit harder in those early sessions, knowing they’ll get a brand new set to run in the race. With the low/mid teams able to push it a bit harder in those early sessions, we might see the front teams having to push harder earlier on to make sure they still make it to Q3. Like we already sometimes see at tracks where the time difference between the compounds is significant, and those lower teams go out on options in Q2, forcing some of the top teams to do similar.

      Of course, if a top team thinks starting on the option tyre is the best strategy for the race, to do that they’d have to use a set of options to set their fastest Q2 time to make that their starting set.

    3. Andrew Carter says:

      Effectively it means everyone has 12 sets of tyres now instead of 11, with an extra set of options. The difference is that the top 10 cars can only use that extra set in Q3.

    4. F12014 says:

      I am not sure that these changes will have the intended effect of getting more cars on track in Q3. At least not in the first few races while there is still a concern about reliability.

      Some teams getting into Q3, particularly those in the lower positions, might not wish to put further stress on the power units by running any more qualifying laps.

      Whereas before teams were electing not to run in Q3 to conserve tires, not they may elect not to run to conserve the engines.

  2. R4DC says:

    “All cars will be given an extra set of the softest tyres brought by Pirelli. The cars which qualify between P11 and P22 are allowed to use them in the race, but the cars which qualify in the top ten have to use them in Q3 only.”

    If I read this right, the rule about top 10 cars starting on the tyres they qualified on is now scrapped as well then?

    Also, are there some circuits where having an extra set of soft tyres could be be worth sacrificing a top 10 start position?

      1. Adam Baker says:

        This isn’t quite correct – they start on the tyres that they set the time on in Q2 rather than Q3.

        “They will then start the race on the tyres they used to set their Q2 time.”

      2. Jacob says:

        Exactly, so there’s a nice strategy balance. On one hand, qualify in top 10 and get position, plus being able to start on fresher tyres. However there are less tyres to choose from for the race strategy.

        In contrast, qualify outside the top 10 and you have an extra fresh set of boots, but by starting on used tyres when the lights drop you are disadvantaged in the early race phase.

        While the FIA have made a few clangers with some of the rule changes (a la double points) a lot of these small changes are really good, practical ideas to make the racing more interesting for the viewer.

      3. KRB says:

        @Jacob, fresher tires? If you qualify for Q3, you must start on the tires you set your Q2 time on.


        Article 25.4(e):

        At the start of the race each car which qualified for Q3 must be fitted with the tyres with which the driver set his fastest time during Q2. This will only be necessary if dry-weather tyres were used to set the grid time and if dry-weather tyres are used at the start of the race.

        I guess if a car is quick enough to qualify for Q3 by setting a decent Q2 time, but not a balls-to-the-wall kinda time that takes a lot of life out of the tires, then they would be able to do the BttW effort in Q3, without worrying about adversely affecting their first race stint the following day.

        Everyone starts out the race weekend with seven prime (P) and six option (O) tires.

        One prime tire can only be used in the first 30 minutes of FP1. This tire, along with another prime tire (so 2P’s) must be returned before FP2.

        So for FP2, all have 5P-6O.

        Before FP3, another prime and an option must be returned … so 4P-5O.

        Before Quali, another prime and option have to go back: 3P-4O.

        Those that qualify for Q3 will lose their Q3-only option tire: 3P-3O

        Those that didn’t make it to Q3 have 3P-4O tires to play with.

    1. mtm says:

      It’s sounds like a lot more of a gamble trying to place yourself 10+ out of 16 compared to the teams who knew they’d qualify 9-10 settling for 10. Getting it wrong and losing 6-7 places in the midfield, you add a lot more danger to your start and difficulty getting passed. Maybe if you end up on a significantly quicker tyre than _everyone_ else’s strategy but it generally works the other way. Everyone qualifies on the option, the change up is the prime for longer distance/better wear.

      1. Alexander Supertramp says:

        Top 10 starts the race on Q2 time tyre. Who’s to say certain teams can’t go through Q2 on the prime tyre?

      2. mtm says:

        It “generally works the other way” though. Red Bull were capable of doing that semi regularly when they had a .5-1s advantage. The difference is this year less people will be contemplating the “save” in Q2 as they’re all being thrown the extra options which should make Q2 quicker/harder.

        Actually, thinking it through they’ve just given a huge advantage to anyone quick enough to do that when the primes are a better race choice. Those quick teams can then run Q1 on the options but start on the primes. They’ve just taken that option (pardon the phrasing) away from 9-10 and given it to 1-2.

        On the other hand, if the Renault’s have to run with the wick turned down at the start of the season there might only be 12 cars really competing for the spots =)

      3. Mike P says:

        This is exactly what I was thinking, especially at the beginning of the season. Set a fast enough Q2 time to make top 10 on primes, then set your position in Q3 on the options, and start the race on primes.

      4. Sasidharan says:

        If somebody is unlucky in qualification, they can try to make it up during the race.

    2. Craig D says:

      Potentially but I doubt people would make a top 10 grid slot sacrifice. And as the tyres are supposed to be more durable, there shouldn’t be races with many (3 or 4) pit stops so teams shouldn’t be overly struggling for tyres.

    3. Simmo says:

      Yes. So essentially teams will avoid running in Q2 in order to avoid going into Q3.

      The most logical thing to do, FIA, is simply not force 1-10 to start on their qualifying sets, OR provide the super-softs for ONLY Q3 drivers.

  3. CC says:

    A little bit of contrivance or a worthy idea? Probably a combination of both.
    The extra soft tyres will suit those cars whose chassis produce the most amount of downforce. If at the moment that it as most of us presume Mercedes, Williams and McLaren, then the extra sticky and very grippy tyres will just strengthen the advantage of those aforementioned cars/teams even more – and make qualifying even more predictable, at least until the likes of Ferrari, Lotus and Force India can generate more downforce from their chassis.
    Conversely, sometimes a certain compound/shape of a tyre can help a chassis actually generate downforce in special circumstances, it could perversely help teams/cars slightly struggling to find ultimate downforce to suddenly become very competitive in qualifying trim at least.

    1. AuraF1 says:

      I don’t think we can assume Mercedes, Williams and McLaren are suddenly generating more downforce – surely they just have the most reliable power train? That doesn’t mean the Renault powered teams aren’t capable of incredibly powerful one lap displays when their PU are turned up to full. Jenson Button has already mentioned that Ricciardo flew past him on the outside during testing at Bahrain – so we can safely assume the RB10 is insanely potent in aero terms – it’s just a guessing game with reliability and cooling.

      I think qualifying, at least for the first 3-4 races may be significantly different to race results.

      1. CC says:

        I think both yourself and I have elements of truth in our statements. It is certainly correct that Williams, Mercedes and McLaren have enjoyed the benefit of a reliable testing programme.
        Perhaps I should clarify my comments: because those three aforementioned teams have worked well and reliably from the off, it has allowed their aerodynamic and chassis departments to concentrate on downforce development potential. Red Bull, and to a lesser extent Ferrari have been not enjoyed reliability, and have had to divert attention to making sure their car actually works. At this moment in time, in terms of development and integration, the three main Mercedes powered cars are ahead of Red Bull and Ferrari – they could translate into the opening fly away races into a significant lap time advantage.

    2. aezy_doc says:

      I can’t see how a tyre can generate down force.
      Or a chassis for that matter. Aero components generate down force. Tyres are about mechanical grip and balance, chassis is about stability – both affect how well the aero components do their job, but don’t generate down force on their own.

      1. Ben says:

        A lot of RedBull’s downforce last year came from the exhaust gasses blowing over the diffuser. Renault were a long way ahead in this area, the other teams had to work a lot harder on other downforce and *may* be ahead.

        This is especially Williams who had problems getting their blown diffuser working despite having a renault engine.

        The chassis can create downforce, particularly the underside of the car is required to push the downforce creating air where it is required.

        Tyres should produce lift instead of downforce, maybe that’s why they ran them upside down at Silverstone last year (joking).

      2. CC says:

        I remember David Coulthard mentioning that the way the air separates from the sidewall of the tyre can influence positive downforce creation – perhaps someone can explain this theory further.

      3. Optimaximal says:

        The tyres are ‘foreign’ objects mounted close to the chassis that are constantly in motion, generating their own air turbulence.

        They’re massively disruptive to the airflow across the rest of the car. It basically boils down to the aero teams only tolerating then because they’re needed for the car to work! :)

  4. mtm says:

    It’s sounds like a lot more of a gamble trying to place yourself 10+ out of 16 compared to the teams who knew they’d qualify 9-10 settling for 10. Getting it wrong and losing 6-7 places in the midfield, you add a lot more danger to your start and difficulty getting passed. Maybe if you end up on a significantly quicker tyre than _everyone_ else’s strategy but it generally works the other way. Everyone qualifies on the option, the change up is the prime for longer distance/better wear.

  5. Ticketyboo says:

    This is just utterly bizarre – the manipulation to try and produce ‘entertainment’ is getting more and more ludicrous. I’d rather get back to having just the one qualifying session, of whatever duration, and it’s down to the teams to determine what they do when with what; we used to have some real nail-bitters with surprising results and it also helped maintain a healthy mix of mid-fielders etc who could still go out as track conditions changed throughout the period. I just don’t like this last minute gasp nonsense from the FIA.

    1. AuraF1 says:

      I disagree this is actually a sensible move that gets everyone willing to drive in all qualifying sessions and removes the farce of everyone sitting in the garage saving tyres and making dull anti climatic Saturday shoot outs.

      The old style quali wasn’t much fun to watch despite some fans glorifying it. You’d have most of the Saturday with teams sat back waiting and the occasional screaming lap depending on the weather and track conditions. You can argue about purity versus entertainment in F1 but making Saturdays even more boring isn’t going to help the sport.

      1. Voodoopunk says:

        “I disagree this is actually a sensible move that gets everyone willing to drive in all qualifying sessions and removes the farce of everyone sitting in the garage saving tyres and making dull anti climatic Saturday shoot outs.”

        Exactly what he said above, a manipulation to try and produce ‘entertainment’.

      2. AuraF1 says:

        Not exactly. There is the possibility of making a sport entertaining without detracting from the sport. It’s a fallacy to say that because something is dull and unsatisfying it must be pure. It’s possible to give the Q3 runners an incentive to go out and fight for pole where the recent years pushed teams to not go out at all. And the old style quali was simply dull and not even the drivers who pine for the old days want it back.

    2. Jake says:

      Agreed. Seems they dig the hole deeper and deeper with every rule change. I would love to see a return to Quali tyres too.

    3. Sujith says:

      I agree… Make a qualifying session like a shorter single Free-Practice session.

      1. Nick says:

        All you’ll get then is the higher up teams sitting around waiting ’til the end of the session, hoping the other teams’ll be out there cleaning up the track and laying down some rubber for them. Much like a lot of the free practice sessions, it’ll just be a largely vacant track and mostly boring viewing. Splitting it into three sessions helps force the teams to get out there, I don’t think these changes are a bad thing. I don’t necessarily think it’ll make qualifying “better”, but it should change how the teams approach it a bit, and hopefully will mean a bit more action in Q3.

    4. Rossco says:

      There also used to be nothing happening in the first 45 minutes of qualifying either. That format will not happen again, for lower placed teams it just means more money spent as it equates to testing almost. They are trying to cut costs right throughout the sport.

  6. goferet says:

    Ah good.

    With fresh tyres, no fuel worries and an engine turned up, qualifying 2014 is were it’s all going down >>> No wonder the FIA introduced another trophy for the qualifying champion.

    The fans welcome the changes because with teams skipping FP3, it’s only fair we get a full show during qualifying especially Q3.

    Meanwhile, with the new cars reportedly being driver skilled based mainly due to low rear downforce perhaps we shall bigger qualifying gaps between teammates just like the good old days.

  7. Quercus says:

    As I understand it, the cars are not able to do 2 flat-out laps in a row because if they use all the energy available from ERS during one lap to gain the 1.5 seconds, then they’ll need the following lap for recharging. So how might this impact on qualifying? I’m guessing, at the very least, it will mean a halving of the amount of time they have available to set a fast lap?

    1. iceman says:

      Yes it’s going to make things more difficult isn’t it. I guess it might lead to fewer multiple lap runs in qualifying. On the other hand, some drivers were already sometimes doing hot lap/slow lap/hot lap runs in qualifying last year, for tyre management reasons. So maybe we’ll see more of those.

    2. Red Rider says:

      good point

    3. Nick says:

      It will be an interesting factor. Now it might be even riskier to leave a run til right near the end of the session. If they make a mistake on the run, even if they cross the line in time they’re not going to be able to be competitive on the next lap, unless maybe they screwed the lap so early on and set the car to back right off on the ERS use to save it for the follow up lap.

      On the other hand, even if they had time for three flying laps on a run (hot lap, recharge lap, hot lap), surely on that middle lap they’d still have to be pushing pretty hard in order to get the charge back up again. In which case, would the tyres even be good enough on lap three to set any kind of competitive time?

      1. iceman says:

        It should be easy to recharge if you’re not trying for a time I would have thought, just alternately accelerate and brake a few times on the straight. Or even just wind the brake bias all the way back and apply a bit of brake with the throttle still on, effectively transferring energy straight from the fuel tank to the ERS battery. They could even have a specific brake-by-wire mapping to do that.

    4. grat says:

      First, I’ve heard the ERS is good for 4-5 seconds a lap, as opposed to KERS which was good for around 1.5 seconds.

      Second, every time the car slows down, the ERS will charge, both from the MGU-K (crankshaft) and the MGU-H (turbo). Every time the car accelerates, the ERS will discharge (up to 33 seconds per lap, managed by ECU).

      So really, you’re charging and discharging the ERS continuously during a lap.

      1. Random 79 says:

        I think he means gain 1.5 seconds a lap compared to a car that isn’t using ERS – most likely because it’s failed.

      2. RodgerT says:

        But they aren’t allowed to harvest (2MJ) at the same rate that they discharge (4MJ) so it’s possible to completely discharge the battery in one full-out lap leaving the driver to harvest more than discharge the next lap.

      3. grat says:

        MGU-K is allowed 2MJ per lap… MGU-H is allowed unlimited recovery.

    5. KRB says:

      See I thought that the total ERS store was something like 8MJ, and that drivers could only use 4MJ of ERS energy per lap. But if the battery was totally full, then they could do two back-to-back laps.

      There would of course be some ERS energy harvesting happening on the flying laps, thru the MGU-K and MGU-H.

      1. RodgerT says:

        Wrong way around. Harvest is 2MJ discharge is 4MJ.

      2. Yak says:

        From what I recall it’s a bit of the other way around. They have however much charge, can use it however they want, but can only (limited by the regulations) charge half of the full amount over a single lap.

      3. KRB says:

        There’s a limit on max harvesting for the MGU-K, that is 2MJ/lap. But there is no limit on energy harvesting from the MGU-H.

  8. RichardD says:

    Not sure if I like the tweaks to qualifying, but the point about FP3 is interesting. Perhaps its timing should be changed to allow for the extra time it takes to make an engine change? Maybe there would be a similar problem with FP2 if an engine fails in FP1.

    1. AuraF1 says:

      Some teams were reporting up to 8 hours to change the whole unit so I imagine unless they started FP3 in the middle of the night it wouldn’t be feasible to push it further from qualifying.

      No doubt they’ll all get faster at changeovers though so it won’t last forever.

      1. Chris says:

        Agreed the teams will get quicker but they (the teams) were saying something similar during testing I think too. They stated it will not be an issue when they have the full race team rather than the limited test team and that has not happened so FP3 could be low on numbers for a while. Shame.

  9. Kevin says:

    So a car that gets through Q2 on the harder compound could claim pole on the soft and start on the hard?

    1. Nick says:

      Yep. Or they might set their Q2 time on options, go on to start on pole in the race, but used all their option sets to get their. Others might have not pushed so hard and saved a new set of options for later in the race. Others might as you said be starting on the prime tyre and have saved a new options to run in the race.

      I think anyone dismissing it as a gimmicky thing are overlooking that it could shake up more than just qualifying, and have some interesting effects on the race.

    2. j says:

      This is the interesting wrinkle isn’t it. If you have a quick car you might get through to the top 10 shootout with a quick single lap on the prime. Qualify first or second row on the option and then start the race with a long first stint on your Q2 set of primes.

      The safe way to do this would be to get out early in Q2 on the prime and set a banker then sit in the garage with options on and only go out again if necessary.

      If the strategy goes right you might have a top car 3rd on the grid on primes surrounded by other cars on options that have to stop sooner. Or if you got Q2 wrong you could have a front row car stuck back in 15th with some extra new options. Either way it sounds interesting to watch.

  10. Yona says:

    It is weird. And it a danger for some people in q3 to lose out position to some top 11-22 qualifiers. Well let what it result in

    1. Glennb says:

      Anyone who makes it to Q3 is guaranteed a starting position from 1 -10. The possible drawback is that the Q3 guys must start the race on the Q2 tyres.

  11. Yona says:

    James allen i think it is time for a mobile appd now with all the features the website has. Most of us use phone all the time so an easy to us and friendly app will be very good. Cause our intention is to engage in blogging with you a lot this year cause i believe it is a great season i can sense so think about it

    1. James Allen says:

      I have a plan for that later this season, it’s in development

      1. Ben says:

        Like the Renault PU?

      2. NickH says:

        Awesome

  12. Baghetti says:

    Will this reactive rulemaking ever stop?

    1. Red Rider says:

      no … $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

  13. Alexander Supertramp says:

    Mercedes to pass Q2 and start the race on the medium tyre?

    1. Nick says:

      Maybe. But if say Ferrari, Williams, McLaren and Force India decide to go for a set of options in Q2, especially knowing they’ll get a freebie set to run in Q3, maybe Mercedes will be forced on to the option tyre too. Especially at circuits where the time difference between the two compounds is significant.

      And then maybe later in the season when the Renault can live long enough to actually survive a quali session, we might see Red Bull and Lotus joining in on that.

      Or maybe they feel they’re better off starting the race on the option, coz they feel they can do a Vettel. Land on pole, make the most of the tyre well in the clean air to open up a gap and just control the race from there.

  14. Roberto says:

    I’ve got a good car and plenty of confidence and I want to use the soft tire for two of the three planned race stints. I’m going to make one flat-out lap in Q-2 on hard tires just quick enough to get me into Q-3. Then I’m going to use my extra set of soft tires in a furious attempt to qualify on the front row. But I’ll start the race on the hard tire and with some careful blocking keep the pack behind me while I run a nice long first stint. Then, I’ll run the last two stints on the soft compound.

    1. Red Rider says:

      Good idea, but maybe blocking will be hard this year with these energy boosters.

    2. Voodoopunk says:

      Sounds just about right, what’s the problem?

    3. Chuck 32 says:

      First Fan to write this plan but bet the thought has already been on the table at Mercedes, Williams, Ferrari and FI…
      Clearly a good possibility Roberto. Bravo

    4. Random 79 says:

      Strange…normally the drivers and teams like to keep their strategy a little closer to their chest.

      But best of luck to you Roberto, whoever you may be :)

    5. iceman says:

      Good plan. Could be a big advantage for any team fast enough to get through Q2 on the prime tyre.

  15. pallys says:

    It’s too confusing.

    1. Glennb says:

      It is really. It’s not too bad for the seasoned fans but occasional fans will struggle for sure. I’m not poo-pooing all the changes but it will definitely take some getting used to. Trying to understand if a car is in fuel saving mode or just right off the pace. Understanding the one hot lap followed by a slower recharge lap. Wondering why so many cars are stopping on track due to engine/software/ers failure. Wondering why some cars cant finish with the amount of fuel allowed. Wondering when the German domination of F1 will end.
      Confusing indeed!

  16. markw says:

    I think it will favour the likes of Hamilton who is harder on his tyres as it will mean he can look after his tyres in Q2 with the engine turned up and still make the top 10, then take all the life out of his Q3 set to go for pole, then starting the race with more grip.

  17. Neshaen says:

    This should make things a little more interesting. At the end of the day it will come down to engine performance,reliability (well for the first few races anyway) and driver skill.
    Hamilton and Rosberg must be smiling away!
    Me thinks this is Hamiltons title to lose!
    Lets go racing!!!!!!!!!

  18. R4DC says:

    If a team is going to skip FP3 to avoid having a engine fail before qualifying, then aren’t they are most likely to have an engine fail in the race itself instead.

    If they suspect an issue on the saturday morning, is not not better to check that during FP3, rather then sitting it out entirely as seems to be implied – then at least they stand a fighting chance of actually seeing the chequered flag come Sunday?

    1. Jim says:

      I think that the reasoning goes like this: if you blow something up in FP3 you won’t be able to change it in time for qualifying and will only be allowed to race at the stewards’ discretion (the 107% rule); whereas if you do at least one lap in qualifying and beat the 107% time you’ll be allowed to compete and will have all night to change the PU.

    2. Random 79 says:

      You would think so, but who knows what goes on in the collective mind of an F1 team…

  19. Sujith says:

    So teams missing FP3 and the longer engine install times is still a concern? I read somewhere that these issues were just because it was early days in testing and the teams were short on spare parts. I heard these problems would not be there come Melbourne well atleast for the top teams with a lot of spare parts being taken to the races.

    I guess that’s not the case.

  20. KRB says:

    So we could see a situation where the race leader crosses the line, with 2nd less than 5s back, and a time penalty then changes the result? No different than before I suppose, but just thought we were trying to get away from situations like this. A penalty lane would be a better idea, like the penalty loop in biathlon.

    1. Red Rider says:

      Now that would be fun. A penalty loop where they can drive as fast as they can.

    2. Nick says:

      Yes it’s possible, but like you said, that was possible before too. How many times did you see it happen?

      It’s not just about post-race results changes. It’s another level of penalty that, provided there’s a stop still to go, can be applied during the race.

      Otherwise they could basically give a drive through penalty, which is pretty severe, or a post-race time penalty, which is rubbish.

      A penalty lane? Where are you going to put a penalty lane in Monaco? Even on permanent circuits, where’s it going to go? Is every circuit going to have to make changes to accommodate it? You can’t just mark off an area down the side of a section of track or something where drivers serve their penalty by going a bit slower down there. Individual cars having to run slow out on track is I’m sure something the FIA doesn’t want. So what we have is taken in pit lane, where the cars are speed limited anyway and fenced off from the fast traffic down the front straight, and it’s a 5 second wait before they can do any work.

      I can’t really think of a better way to hand out a smaller penalty during the race in a perfectly safe manner.

  21. Spinodontosaurus says:

    Or they could have, you know, gone back to the pre-2010 rule of being allowed to start on whichever tyre you wanted. Much less complex, much less contrived, and probably much more effective.
    Could we have some common sense for once…?

    1. Ticketyboo says:

      That’d be better than what is about to happen for sure, but you went and spoiled it with the notion of common sense having any place with the rule makers in F1 today.

    2. Vlad says:

      +1

      Add to that, use whatever tyre company they want also.
      As for the 5 second penalty rules, blah! Better are penalties that happen in the race. I’d hate to see someone winning the race, but get held up by a backmarker at the end, and win by 4 seconds, but incur a penalty of 5 seconds. Imagine the scrap for the top step of the podium!

      1. iceman says:

        The 2003 British MotoGP round at Donington springs to mind. Valentino Rossi took the chequered flag with a couple of seconds margin over 2nd place, but was demoted to 3rd after a 10-second penalty was retrospectively applied for passing under yellows. Rossi and many fans were furious.

        Later that same season in Australia, Rossi suffered the same penalty, for the same offence. But this time, race direction had learned from the backlash after Donington, and put out a board applying the penalty during the race. Rossi’s reaction was to cruise away from the rest of the field and win the race by 15 seconds, negating the penalty and sticking two fingers up to the stewards in spectacular fashion :)

        Applying penalties during the race is definitely preferable, if it’s at all possible.

    3. AndyK says:

      I couldn’t agree more. I still think teams should be allotted a specific number of brand new tyres each session.

  22. kenneth chapman says:

    this is rubbish. it is all cosmetic flim flam. why cant it be simplified by letting the teams choose whatever tyres they want to qualify on then once the grid has been established let the teams once again race on whatever tyres they choose out of a selection of whatever compound tyres pirelli choose to take.

    this continual puffery in order to ‘spice’ up the show is nonsensical in the extreme.

  23. greg says:

    I don’t understand why they complicate it. Keep the 3 session format and give all drivers one set of the hardest tires for all the sessions. If they get a puncture or flat spot it should be viewed as car failure or driver accident etc. Then bin those tires! It would be better all round because the teams who expect to get into Q3 will have to push as hard in Q2 because the midfield teams expect to be lower down and will take as much out of the tire as possible. This would apply to the slower teams pushing the midfield the same.
    There would be less waste too.

  24. Quercus says:

    I wonder; if the Renault engine is as down on power as some are saying, and seemingly it’s locked in by the rules concerning engine mods for the season, I wonder if any of the top drivers in Renault-engined cars will decide to take a sabbatical rather than spend the year languishing in mid-field? I’m of course thinking most of all of a certain Herr Vettel.

    If so, it could be a good year for a few reserve drivers.

  25. Clegg67 says:

    Does this mean quicker cars that manage to get in to Q3 on the harder tyres will then have an extra set of softs for the race

  26. Chris says:

    For me this is just making the rules more complex and therefore even harder to follow and that is coming from someone who has followed F1 for over 30 years. I understand the reasons but I think these people really need stop and consider things for us fans, old and new.

    Also, what kind of bright spark introduces even stricter engine usage rules (5 per year now) at the same time as enforcing a brand new power train system that is more complex and advanced than anything we have ever since before in F1, I don’t understand the logic.

    I like the mix up this year, the potential for failures reminds me of F1 as a boy when mechanical DNF’s were much more common. But surely losing an engine in the race is punishment enough this year and the teams and engine manufacturers should have been given more engines for the season this year, the year of introduction, not less. This would have encouraged more running, not less.

    I will be working late to catch FP1 tomorrow morning and I really hope I am rewarded with lots of cars doing lots of laps.

  27. ttwan says:

    Hi James, I feel they are trying too hard to make F1 more interesting and have caused it became over complicated for majority to understand the sport. Only die hard fans will be able to follow all these. This may not be good to attract new fans.

    1. James Allen says:

      Sitting in Charlie’s briefing yesterday I agree with you!

      They’ve taken an already opaque sport and made it even more complicated. Good luck to the commentators!

      1. kenneth chapman says:

        to coin a phrase from an old physicist, ‘then why is it so?’

  28. Neal says:

    I’m wondering how they’ll check and police tyre pressure at the start of a race.

  29. Kyle says:

    No one has picked up in the other change. The regs in max camber and max temp out of blankets.

    This will hurt redbull. They ran an obscene amount of rake on their car, they were able to do this for a few reasons that I can’t be arsed trying to type on my phone, however, they had to run more camber as a result of the geometry. This will now not be possible(if the rules are what was suggested as safe last year)

    I think the quali rule is good. Let’s hope this year as good as the build up. I do hope massa puts some manners on Teflon. I can’t stand him. [mod]. To see him swanning about after the macca carry on and the. The same again after crash gate made me sick.

  30. Doohan says:

    Personally I’m against this, I thought the added strategic element on the saturday played well onto the sunday “show”

  31. Fastfastfast says:

    I have always thought that after the refuelling ban, Q3 was not needed anymore because prior to refuelling, cars have always gone the fastest in Q2 anyway with the least amount of fuel and the fastest tyres. Q2 was the time to go flat out. Q3 formed the final grid positions depending on fuel loads where a team could go with a more aggressive strategy with less fuel and the highest grid posiition or with a less aggressive approach with a fully fuelled car which is more representative of its actual position on race day.

    This provided more excitement because the viewers, the broadcasters or the other teams have no clue who has what fuel load and when the cars were going to pit. You could have a car who qualified in P1 but had to pit 4-5 laps earlier because it had less fuel in Q3.

    Now that refuelling is not allowed anymore and the drivers have to start on their Q2 tyres where they have set their fastest times, what is Q3 for?

    1. Fastfastfast says:

      Sorry, I meant “Q3 was not neede anymore because prior to the refuelling BAN”

  32. Phil says:

    Hopefully the rule makes it clear what happens with grid penalties and/or a wet Q3.

    For grid penalties, I guess the new rule will be based on who gets into Q3, rather than on who starts in the top 10. So it would make a grid penalty more severe if it means you also start with a set of tyres less than those around you.

    But if someone else’s penalty promotes you into the top 10, that could rather handy (assuming you get to keep your extra set).

    If Q3 is wet and the race is a mix of wet and dry, I think the top 10 will find themselves two sets down (i.e. options under the new rule, plus wets/inters having used them in Q3). So ironically the new rule might sometimes discourage running in a wet Q3!

  33. SeizedUp says:

    If the teams can qualify for Q3 with the prime tyre in Q2 surely they are laughing as they can pop on the option tyre for a shot at pole in Q3 and revert to what may be the optimal tyre for race day?

  34. Paul says:

    I’d rather they just have all the drivers one set of the option tyre for the whole of qualifying so the more laps they do the less they have for later – imagine the pressure if your a top team/driver of only having one window or lap to get out of q1 while the midfield might risk a couple of Laps in the quest for glory and knock out a faster driver…..

  35. Rod says:

    What does “straight camber” means? Do cars use straight, or zero, camber at all and if so, what’s the problem with that… confused here.

  36. meridabob says:

    I see the 107% rule is being relaxed as well. There must be some real concern from the inside regarding qualy with all these tweaks. I also read that Alonso thinks the fans will find it very difficult to follow who is doing what with regards to fuel saving/energy harvesting/tyre management in the race itself. I imagine the commentators too. F1 will need some really good tv graphics to copensate for all the technology the fans can’t see. Looking forward to it though.

  37. Methusalem says:

    I think top teams could make Q3 with hard tyres, qualify in soft and race again in hard. A big advantage!

    What about if teams use wet tyres in Q2 and dry soft ones in Q3? Will they be forced to use the soft tyres?

  38. Timmay says:

    F1 comes up with the worst rules ever, I’m cereal. It’s a joke. There’s even more incentive to qualify 11th now than there already was.

    1. Random 79 says:

      Could you be more specific please Timmay?

      For example are you rice bubbles or fruit loops?

    2. James Allen says:

      Some teams have told me that raw pace in quail isn’t that important. It’s how you run your race, especially at this early stage

      1. KRB says:

        What have any said about the costs-benefits to running in free air, or running close behind another car?

  39. Adam says:

    It’s really getting too artificial, I think.

    I believe they should go back to one timed lap per car. Start with the slowest or lowest placed in the championship. This garuntees sponsors with air time and slowly builds excitement as the session progresses.

    It would be cheaper and have less reliability issues for the teams while putting more emphasis on the driver to deliver.

    1. Random 79 says:

      I do enjoy watching the current qualifying format, but I’m not so sure it’s good for the race itself.

      Currently during each session the drivers can have two or three chances to post their best time, which means that the grid ends up being more or less the same for every race i.e. fastest driver/teams at the front, midfielders in the middle, and Caterham at the back.

      Going back to one-shot quali would re-introduce the potential for the drivers to make a mistake, which would result in a mixed up grid, which more often than not would result in a more interesting race.

      Not only that, but the fastest drivers *might* choose to back off slightly in order to avoid making a mistake, rewarding the driver who’s a little more daring by giving them the opportunity to move up the grid.

      And the best part is that one-shot quali would do all this without having to resort to gimmicks like reverse grids.

      So +1 Adam, let’s bring it back :)

  40. max says:

    Qualifying the good old way: 1hr, 12 laps – SIMPLE!!!

  41. David Hope says:

    Extra quail tyres make sense. But no idea why they changed the timing – makes sense to have longer at the start with more cars.

    The rule changes I’d really like to see are with engine homologation. You wouldn’t have frozen the chassis last year with red bull’s advantage – so why on earth are engines frozen in their very first year with huge differences.

    1. Random 79 says:

      A good question for which I have no good answer.

      Didn’t it occur to them that some suppliers and teams might have teething problems?

    2. Random 79 says:

      Also they let a relatively little F1 team spend millions on little bits of carbon fibre, so why shouldn’t a huge company like Merc / Ferrari / Renault be allowed to spend millions to improve power units that one day might end up in our cars in one form or another? – That is the whole point of the new regs, right?

      Ridiculous.

  42. gpfan says:

    Less than three hours now.
    Cheers to all my F1 mates!

    Happy season all. May one’s
    driver/team win it all! :D

    1. Random 79 says:

      So long as one’s driver/team isn’t Vettel/Red Bull! :D

      Cheers to you also gpfan, let’s hope it ends up being as good as it has the potential to be :)

  43. Craig in Manila says:

    Just seems to me that, with every rule change, F1 is becoming more complex for someone to sitdown and watch.

    Quali used to be a battle to determine who was fastest. Really was quite simple and I loved it because I then KNEW who had the balls-out fastest car’n’driver package irrespective of how the race panned-out on the next day.

    Now it’s a chessgame for the sole purpose of placing the car in the optimum position on the grid to conduct the race in an optimum fashion as pre-determined by the spreadsheet strategist hidden somewhere in a dark-room.

    The spreadsheet strategist might not want the car to be on pole. He might not even want it in the Top10.

    As such, for us viewers, what purpose does Quali now serve ?

    As we now know/realise that pole doesnt necessarily mean fastest, will we leap excitedly from the armchair and say “WOW ! Lewis just achieved 99.9% of the optimum time as requested by his spreadsheet strategist!” ?

    Will the commentators excitedly scream “He hit his delta to two decimal places ! Amazing !”.

    Please just remove Quali and have them start the race in order of the fastest laps from the prior race. Simple as that.

    1. Random 79 says:

      You might be right strategy wise, but it’s this simple:

      Put any race driver in any race car in quali and he will want to be on pole, strategy be damned.

      1. Craig in Manila says:

        Pretty-hard for a driver to push for pole if the team doesn’t let him go out in Q3 for “strategy reasons”.

        And anyways, we see plenty of evidence that drivers drive the care only as fast as the team allows. They rarely, if ever, disobey the strategy and push harder.

      2. Random 79 says:

        During the race for sure, but even then remember in Silverstone last year when the tyres were exploding?

        They were all told to be careful and avoid the curbs, but I don’t think one of them paid any attention.

        If the team doesn’t let them go out in Q3 that’s one thing, but if they do then I’m sure they’ll do the fastest lap they can.

  44. ChrisL81 says:

    Lets give the Q3 guys super super soft Quali tyres and let them go hell for leather like the old days.

  45. Phil says:

    I think this explains why Vettel qualified outside the top 10. It’s nothing to do with software – he just wanted the extra set of tyres!

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