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A reminder of the latest rule changes and what they mean
A reminder of the latest rule changes and what they mean
Posted By: James Allen  |  08 Feb 2010   |  8:00 pm GMT  |  245 comments

Many readers have been in touch asking for clarification of the latest changes to the sporting regulations. Last week the F1 Commission met to discuss the proposals to change some of the sporting regulations to improve the show this season, things which have been discussed for some time, even voted on before.

Many items were on the table including tyre usage, compulsory pit stops, overtaking lanes and extra points for pole and fastest lap.

A GP win is now worth 25 points

A GP win is now worth 25 points

Many were rejected, but the revision to the points system was approved so now the winner has a much bigger advantage over second place – 7 points – than before. The winner will receive 25 points and second place just 18 points. The system is closer to the one used in Moto GP than anything we have ever seen before in F1 and will make a nonsense of historical comparisons between drivers.

It will not take long for a driver like Sebastian Vettel, for example, to reach the points career points totals of drivers like Ayrton Senna or Nigel Mansell.

The commission decided against awarding a point for pole position on the sensible grounds that it might decide a world championship on a Saturday rather than on race day.

On the tyres it was agreed that the fastest ten qualifiers will start the race on the tyres with which they finished qualifying.

“In order to introduce a further element of strategy, cars having participated in Q3 must start the race on the same set of tyres with which their grid time was set, ” said the FIA statement.

In some cases this will mean used soft tyres, where the cars behind will be on hards. If a soft tyre is significantly faster in qualifying than the hard and yet is marginal on wear it will mean that the front runners will have to work out which is the better strategy, get grid position but pit relatively early, or qualify on the hards and take a late stop. Most engineers seem to feel that the tyres will be robust enough for most people to stop only once during races.

As last year we may see drivers doing multiple lap runs on hard tyres in qualifying.

But at some places the soft tyre will be the way to go. The big challenge here is going to be finding a compromise on set up, whereby the car is able quickly to warm up the front tyres for a single qualifying lap, but then not overly punish the tyres the next day in race conditions. That’s a tough balance to strike. Remember that with parc ferme conditions, no changes will be allowed to the set up of the cars between qualifying and race.

The Jerez test this week should give us a much better idea of how the cars look after the tyres as it is much tougher on tyres than Valencia. We should see the new medium and possibly harder compound tyres from Bridgestone this week.

There is also a reduction in the number of sets of tyres available to drivers over weekend – down from 14 to 11, of which 6 will be prime and 5 option. On Fridays drivers will have just three sets instead of four.

Although all three qualifying sessions will now be on low fuel, so far I haven’t seen anything from the FIA to the effect that nominated fuel weights will no longer be published after qualifying. If nothing changes, it will be very interesting because it will tell us which team has the best fuel consumption and we will quickly be able to work out figures.

We would also be able to work out over time when drivers have opted to run light, in other words deliberately “underfuel” because they plan to run lean for a period of the race or because they expect a safety car. Remember last season Felipe Massa was forced to run lean due to a refuelling problem and although he lost power and a few places, he nevertheless managed to get to the finish. You will see some of that this year and drivers gambling on safety cars somewhere like Montreal or Monaco, where safety cars are common.

The FIA has indicated that other measures to improve the racing are still under discussion.

The commission also agreed to ban double diffusers from 2011, on the grounds that they undermine efforts to improve overtaking.

Bernie Ecclestone this weekend publicly confirmed that teams are to be allowed to have three ‘no-shows’ at Grands Prix. It appears that these can be taken at any time so it is theoretically possible for a new team to miss the first three races of the season and start at Shanghai on April 18th. It also appears that this rule is not limited to the new teams, but if any of the established teams need to take that route it would be because they are in serious financial problems, as none of them would want to miss points scoring oportunities.

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i don’t get all the posters saying that Q3 drivers will set their hot lap on soft tyres and then change to hards to start the race – they will start on the same set of tyres used on their quickest lap. one thing that needs to be considered now is that they won’t be ‘fuel-restricted’ in Q3 as they were before so i expect them to be out for the whole of the session, probably doing a long run on hards to see if they can set a quick time on them and so start on the prime as a good back-up, and then put the softs on to go for pole with the downside of starting on the options.

what needs to be addressed for this to work is a decent difference between the hard and soft tyre. also, for bridgestone to come up with a compound that doesn’t just disintegrate into marbles.

personally, i think the mandatory pitstops is a disaster. now that refuelling is banned, we have lost the necessity to pit during the race, and it would have been great to see the hare (carefully looking after 1 set of tyres for the whole race) against the rabbit (2 or 3 stops going all out). the main point about banning refuelling was to avoid drivers overtaking in pitstops. as long as there are mandatory pitstops, this will keep happening!! another opportunity wasted.

one final thought. bernie is crazy about medals, why doesn’t he give them out to who gets the fastest lap 🙂


I agree about the mandatory pitstops, but it is typical of the rulemakers of F1 – i.e. they sort out one problem and then replace it with another one. Removing refueling should prevent races from being a series of sprints where nobody is faster than anyone else. But they maintain the problem be ensuring everyone has to pit.

Just read Mansell’s autobiog (which James co-wrote) to remember how exciting the rabbit and hare situation (as john g above mentions) was!


Hi James,

Love the blog and the comments but please, please can you post a quick update that states the official Q3 tyre qualification ruling;

“In order to introduce a further element of strategy, cars having participated in Q3 must start the race on the same set of tyres with which their grid time was set.”

The 3 hundred comments regarding the benefits for and against a hyperthetical situation which isn’t even going to happen is killing me!

I can’t count how many times people have clarified that it is the “tyres with which their grid time was set”


wow, this blog gets better every week – some great responses in this thread – trouble is finding the time to read it all!


LOL! Thanks



On your discussion of tires, there’s a rule change that I’m surprised no one is discussing but which should theoretically have a huge impact on the season, especially considering the rule change on tires that you’ve discussed in this entry:

The ban on wheel rim-heaters.

This is going to make getting the tires into the optimal operating temperature range much more difficult, which puts the impact of the tire usage rule into perspective. Theoretically, it could give an advantage to teams with aggressive designs that push the tires, as they can get heat into the tires quickly for a short run while, relative to last year, not punishing the tires as much over a long one. It could also hand an advantage to drivers who get heat into the tires more quickly than others, which should throw a nice wrinkle particularly into the driver duel at McLaren. (Hamilton heating the tires quickly, Button being easier on them.)


I have mentioned it a couple of times in the blog but not as eloquently.

Re Hamilton/Button it also goes that Button’s last longer: but how far ahead will Hamilton be, if at all, when he pits for tyres.


If Button can’t get heat into the tires, Hamilton will be at least as far ahead of him when he pits as Barrichello was when the Brawn was not acting optimally, if not moreso.

Hamilton’s advantage in heating the tires will particularly come into play in qualifying. The major advantage that Barrichello enjoyed over Button in the second half of the year was in qualifying.


Gas Mileage Racing: Almost as exciting to watch as solar cars ‘racing’ across the Outback.



I for one am glad they rejected the idea of point(s) on Saturday, as it would be nothing more than a cheap gimmick. The whole reason why a grand prix weekend exists, its raison d’etre, its be all and end all, is for the race, and the race alone. That two hour tussle, of man versus man, the unpredictable move and counter-move.

Qualifying is just a means to and end, given that circuits aren’t wide enough to have 26 car side-by-side start grid. The idea that the championship is decided purely on the final result on Sunday must be sacrosanct if F1 is not to slowly lose what remains of its soul. Suggestions of points for pole, or for leading a lap, or fastest lap should be taken no more seriously than a point for best dressed driver. The fastest lap was worth a point between 1950-59 until it was dropped. Nothing would be gained by going back.

All that said, there’s nothing wrong with against-the-clock forms of racing; any dedicated petrol head will celebrate the existence of rallies or hill climbs just as they do a Grand Prix. It’s just that a Grand Prix isn’t an against-the-clock event, and trying to change the fundamental nature of a series is dangerous ground, no matter how good the intentions. Just look at the state of Rally, having been emasculated in the name of being ‘television friendly’.

I could write a similar response to the idea of shorter Grand Prix.


I disagree. Yes, the final championship result should ultimately reflect what happens on Sunday rather than what happens on Saturday. But the fact is that Saturday in Formula One means a lot in determining what happens on Sunday, much more than it does in mostly every other racing series in the world. Saturday for Formula One is also one of the most fun and exciting parts of the Grand Prix weekend as it’s the epitome of what F1 is all about: drivers pushing to the limit to get the best lap times out of their cars. Given these factors, I think F1 should award a bonus point to the pole winner to spice things up even more in qualifying, and it wouldn’t really have much of an impact on aggregate in determining the championship relative to the impact of Sunday (especially now since there is such a huge gap from first to second).

I also think there should be a bonus point awarded for setting fastest lap in the race, again reflecting the emphasis on lap times in the spirit and appeal of F1.

The wheel-to-wheel stuff on Sunday is mainly limited to the start, although it is certainly exciting when it rarely occurs on Sunday.


I agree with Paige. Usually I’m dead against the ‘improving the show’ thing but I think a point for pole and a point for fastest lap is a no-brainer.


Quick question on a rule that’s not been talked about. Does James, or anyone else for that matter, think it would have been worth re-introducing the 107% rule this year?

Personally I do. There is the possibility of some truely rubbish teams, that will turn out to be a hazard to themselves and the guys that have to lap them six times.


I think that rule was a little mean and detrimental to F1, especially in the wake of the cancelled budget cap. After all, the new teams entered under the premise of the budget cap and then to their credit are still entering (hopefully all of them) even though that no longer exists. Therefore these teams are likely to be a long way behind, and struggle even more because of the lack of budget cap. If we also have the 107% rule then you may as well bury them because they’ll never get any exposure and in turn very little sponsorship money.

I think a 107% rule makes the championship even more elitist – which is maybe what some people want. But remember some of these teams might turn out to be a Williams – an independent who won’t jump as soon as they’re not selling cars (e.g. Honda, BMW). And how many people are happy that Super Aguri left? If we bury them now they have no chance.


There may well be a case for it… personally I think it won’t come in to play though. With the cars being so tightly regulated now, especially the engines, I don’t think we’ll see the kind of disparities we’ve seen in the past.


Here’s a thought. I’ve heard that the lap times between a full and near empty tank could be as much as 3 seconds.

What’s to stop a team starting the race with only 20laps of fuel, then withdrawing from the race on lap 19 claiming a technical problem?

This would allow them to lead the race for the those 19 laps and get a alot of TV time.

Great for a new new team needing sponsors.


Well, first they have to qualify in a top 5 and if they are that desperate, i doubt they are top 5 material.


Let’s look at two of the issues raised here differently, using game theory (I’m an economist, I can’t help myself….)

1. Teams will not turn up to races en masse.

For all 13 teams to declare they are not turning up, at some point the situation must be that 12 teams have declared they will not show up, and one team is still to do so. At this point, the one remaining team has a huge incentive to turn up – they get 43 constructors points by default (with prize money attached to that), and 2 hours of airtime dedicated to them and their sponsors on every TV network with a deal with FOM (they have to show it – remember USA 2005?!).

So, bearing that in mind, when 11 teams have declared a no show, and 2 have yet to declare, what’s the incentive for either of them to hand the other such a massive advantage? They will both show up, because of the incentive still being huge (although not as huge as if they are the only one turning up), and there’s the added incentive that the other team might still no show.

Work back through the pack, and only once you start getting to the 3rd or 4th team to declare a no show are the incentives going to start becoming so marginal as to make a no show even slightly plausible.

In my view, no shows are very unlikely unless a team has no choice but to not race anyway, since sponsors will get very miffed…

2. Drivers will run a hot lap and then change to their race tyre so as to start on an optimal tyre.

Say all drivers expect this to happen. After the “hot laps”, Nico Hulkenburg (for example) is in 10th. Assuming all other drivers are likely to go on hard tyres with 5 mins of the session remaining, what’s his optimal strategy? Go on a soft, of course, and quite possibly jump right up the order.

Now, assuming the drivers and team strategists are alert to this possibility (and if they’re not at Bahrain, I reckon they certainly will be by Australia!), can they afford to lose out to Hulkenburg? If they think he’s the only one who’s going to do it, does Liuzzi (who’s hypothetically in 9th after the first “hot laps” in my example) then do the same thing, for the same reason as Hulkenburg? Of course he does. Once this effect has filtered down to 6th or 7th place, which it surely would, can Button (who’s provisionally on pole, naturally) afford to let his potential pole slip to 4th, or 5th, for a tyre advantage? Probably not. And if Hamilton in 2nd, and Vettel in 3rd are thinking the same way, Button could even find himself in 10th after being the only driver to not have another shot on the softs.

In short, no top driver will actually have an incentive to do this tactical shift thing people are worried about. Potentially someone who’s surprised to be in Q3 will, in the same way as one driver last season often ran on very heavy fuel with no chance of coming anywhere other than 10th – but in that case, he’ll probably run on hards all session.

Oh, and one final point – get over this silly rubbish about comparing historic points differences. A comparison is meaningless anyway, since the quality of the opposition, the reliability of the cars, the challenge of the circuits etc changes so much season to season. Comparing points is for random stattos with nothing better to do – it doesn’t provide any kind of insight into the relative merits of past and present drivers, regardless of the similarity or difference of the points system in use.


There are flaws to both your arguments:

1) Although the TV channels may show the race even if only one team entered (as you rightly say happened at Indy 05) that doesn’t mean that people will watch it. Indy 05 is the perfect example – remember those spectators throwing beer cans onto the track as they left? Well those people had spent money to be there – those at home hadn’t spent anything so you can bet a lot of people just switched off. Fundamentally I agree with your point though that they will turn up where possible because they’d have too much to lose. It wouldn’t exactly do F1’s image much good either – again, remember at Indy the teams were so desperate to race because of the damage to F1 (and therefore car sales) in N. America.

2) It isn’t the last set of tyres they use in qualifying that they have to start the race in – it’s the set they set their fastest time on. This makes they whole argument null and void. In fact it might even increase action in qualifying – say Hamilton is 5-tenths ahead and nobody else is coming close, but he flat-spotted a tyre he set the time on. He won’t want to start the race on that tyre so may try to set a slightly faster time on a new set. If he fails it will in turn increase action in the race as cars behind him will be faster… etc. etc.


About your second point, you are assuming that those who switch do so quite early in the session, when in fact there is no reason to. You can do your last run on the softs so late that you just have time to do a not-too-slow lap back and switch to the hards in the last few seconds of Q3. This gives your hypothetical Hulkenberg only a very small advantage. Given that all Q3 runs are on low fuel, the difference is just that Hulkenberg’s has the additional grip from the rubber of max 9 cars doing a lap.

I don’t know who is correct and will be exciting to see, but I for one do not see such a clear-cut case as you do for the hypothetical Hulkenberg approach.


In 2009, obviously most pole positions were secured in the final lap of Q3 as fuel loads were burnt off. There won’t be this factor in 2010, as all quali laps will be done on minimum fuel. Surely if the rule is “you start the race on the tyre on which you finished quali” it would still be beneficial to do a hot lap on softs then coe in and bolt a set of hards on for the race. Presumuably you wouldn’t even need to go back out of the garage as long as they are on the car as the clock hits zero? On that basis you could still do your hot-lap on softs around 2 minutes before the end of the session, when the track is almost perfect.

It makes much more sense for the rule to read you start the race on the tyre on which you did your fastest quali time.


Your assumptions assume that the cars will be quiet close, this may well not be the case as I fully expect the leading teams to pull ahead after a year of leaning the new aero dynamics.

If say Hamilton and Vettel are clearly faster than those around then they may well chose to play the tyres as you suggest as if they didn’t secure pole they’d be pretty close and have a better race car and race strategy.

The truth is I suspect there will be a pretty steep learning curve for the teams in the first few races but come Europe at the latest thy will all know how to play the game to their best advantage which by the way is unlikely to be the same down the field and I can certainly see some of the new ad lower teams going for Q3 glory for the extra publicity they’d get.

One thing I think the FIA need to bring in BEFORE the first race a a severe penalty should any team run out of fuel as this would surely bring F1 into disrepute if any team went for glory at the expense of the race itself ❗


Thanks for those interesting points


Is Bernie’s statement about allowing teams to skip races the final, official word on the matter? Or will the FIA need to make changes to the sporting regulations to allow it?

I fear the reduced tyre allocations are just going to make the first half hour of each practice session even more boring.

The first safety car of the season should be interesting. Instead of trying to save fuel under the safety car, most drivers will be desperately trying to burn off as much as possible, to keep their fuel consumption up to normal race levels and avoid carrying excess fuel for the rest of the race.


If a car tries to use more fuel behind safety, surely this will harm tires and breaks. Maybe the teams will design a new special occasion fuel mixture setup to burn “fat” if safety car is deployed.


No, they won’t.

It’s better for them to continue saving fuel and then burn it off by using a powerful fuel mixture when the SC pulls in, rather than wasting it during the SC period, no?


If they have a more powerful fuel mixture, then why wouldn’t they use that by default, and start with enough fuel to run it for the whole race?

Red Bull were complaining most of last season about their engine being 20bhp down on the best, I’d be surprised if many teams are going plan to run their engines below maximum power.


Slightly tangential to the topic, but there is some talk by Todt of a future regulation restricting teams to one aero package for a whole season to bring down costs.

To me this would be the death knell for my f1 watching days… Its the last significant variable that the teams can work with.

Even if the teams were allowed 2 or 3 upgrades per season as compromise, this would probably use the same amount of r&d resources, but we’d have periods of the season where 1 team dominates.

any insight into the logic James? It seems poorly thought out to suggest such a regulation.


It was talked about last season, a FOTA initiative to have just two or three developments all season.


Great, so basically the outcome of the season is known after 3 or 4 races. Stupid.


God help us!


To all those asking about which tyres should be used…

The comission’s proposal is “… cars having participated in Q3 must start the race on the same set of tyres with which their grid time was set.”

So, the tyres which were used in their best lap must be used on the start.


Can you post that link in full please, the twitter version does not work on my system.

BTW Why doe we have to go to an enthusiast’s site for the new regs? Just checked the FIA site, still no new regs shown as at 18:00 on 09/02/10.


Sorry it’s working now it came up as an aspx on before.

However note that at the bottom it says “For Media Information Purposes – No Regulatory Value.”

Frankly this is regulation by media, if the regs are to be changed then change them and publish, and then tell the press. At the moment they are using the equivalent of government leaks to test the water temperature. Note press releases are not regulations.

Come on Jean, get it organised properly, I know you’re Italian, but please let’s have some order.


Ok mea culpa


He’s French…



You seem to be very dismissive of the idea that teams will break Q3 up into parts to first of all do a hot lap then another coasting around to allow optimal tires for the start of the race. I understand the point about the track improving as the session continues, but have you actually spoken to any teams about what they might do? We can all hypothesize but you have the access to ask the questions…

What the teams will tell you is another thing, but a response that they are considering it would be very telling, and whilst I don’t support the constant rule changing but this concern could be cleared up by an amendment to the rule (as already mentioned in replies from other readers of your blog) that drivers must start the race on the tires they use to set their fastest lap in Q3. This is an opportunity for FIA/ FOM to show that they are listening and responding to the concerns & questions of F1 fans beyond the annual survey.

Alternatively the rule could be dropped completely and we could be given the chance to see who genuinely is fastest on a Saturday afternoon, with no concerns about repercussions for the race. Although that in itself isn’t true in F1 given engine regulations.


This tyre rule is ill thought out and is artificially tinkering with the races. I agree with the Parc-Ferme rules with regard to set-up and engine changes e.t.c. but with this tyre rule an opportunity has been missed here to re-introduce Sunday morning warm-up. I am taking my 7 year old son to get his first experience of F1 in the flesh this year and have decide to take him on the Saturday rather than the Sunday as on the Sunday the ticket prices are getting too expensive and you only see the cars for 1 hour 30ish mins of the race. This coupled with the size of crowd means you don’t get the chance to watch the cars at different points around the track without missing parts of the race. When they had Sunday morning warm-up you could watch from a couple of different places before taking root in your preferred viewing place for the race. At least on a Saturday you are seeing the cars twice and it gives you that opportunity to move around between 3rd Practice and quali to get views from different areas. Seems a little strange really that they don’t want Sunday warm-up back it only needs an observer in each garage to make sure no set-up changes are made to the cars – The sponsers would be happy because if televised they get more exposure and the circuit would get more people in earlier – which means all the vendors on the circuit would do more business and for longer – which means Sivlerstone /BRDC could charge a little more for each pitch which means more coffers for them and British Motorsport in general – Am I missing something here or is it a litte too simplistic ?


James, I think you’ve missed another rule change : the teams have to give back a set of tyres after Friday practice, in order to guarantee all teams do some practice on Friday rather than staying in the pits the whole session. Could you confirm?

Also :

“If nothing changes, it will be very interesting because it will tell us which team has the best fuel consumption and we will quickly be able to work out figures.”

I don’t think it’s very interesting, it’s more interesting after the race, having the fuel loads “predicted” for you last year added nothing to the excitement, nothing. In fact it made it worse since we knew who was going to pit first. Also you will not be able to “quickly work out figures”, since we can’t ever be sure of what fuel mixtures the drivers are using or whether they’d be saving fuel.

“Remember last season Felipe Massa was forced to run lean due to a refuelling problem and although he lost power and a few places, he nevertheless managed to get to the finish. You will see some of that this year and drivers gambling on safety cars somewhere like Montreal or Monaco, where safety cars are common.”

Hold on, wasn’t this confirmed as a sensor issue rather than an actual refueling problem?


I’m pretty sure the teams had to hand back tyres on Friday last season too.

I agree, it’d probably be better to see the figures after the race – it gave reporters something to discuss before the race last season, but with alot of the races being so dull nowadays, some suspense would be nice.

I think you’re right about it being a sensor issue, but the point still stands


I can’t understand this continual idea that drivers aren’t racing ‘for the win’ and that new systems have to be dreamt up to encourage them.

el chivato de medellin

Some of them do, but others run to conservative. It is a good idea not for the few, but for the others.


i know right. everyones just out for a nice quiet sunday drive.


…It will not take long for a driver like Sebastian Vettel, for example, to reach the points career points totals of drivers like Ayrton Senna or Nigel Mansell….

Relax james we will find another method of comparing past and presnt drivers, for exemple we can use indexing system in which we divide the career points tally of a driver by the number of GP starts he has, with that we can always be sure of who is great and not.


James, on reading this I immediately had the same thoughts as Matt. Simply do your qualy laps early in the final session and then pop into the pits bang on a new set of optimal tyres and go off and do one lap to complete the session!



…except that the track is always at its fastest at the end of the session – by doing what you are suggesting you would end up several places lower on the grid. If you were fighting for the title you couldn’t afford to risk it.


It very much depends on the difference in grip from the two compounds of tyre. if the teams believe the softer tyre early on in the session is quicker than hards later on in the session then this strategy is perfectly viable.

Last year we saw a drop off in times because the cars were also dropping in weight. This year we don’t have that factor so this concept could be seen.

Either way I’d rather see everyone on the same tyre and low fuel duking it out. That’s motor racing. All the attempts by the FIA to improve the show have failed, so surely it’s time we just admit nothing really can be done, and enjoy the fastest cars on the planet get driven quickly by whoever can afford to pay to race them 😉


Yes but the regulations state that a driver participating in Q3 must start the race on the set of tyres that he set his grid time.

The only advantage to coming back into the pits and heading out again on dummy runs would be to adjust the set up of the car.

The problem with this is that you run the risk of qualifying lower down the order by not maximising the number of runs during qually; you then also have problems with what set up do you choose? One that maximises performance whilst the car is heavy? One that is a compromise between a heavy car and a car running on fumes or one that is more suited to running light – if its the latter then you would already be running this set up for qualy.

My gut feeling is that the majority of teams will opt for one stop strategies posting Q3 times on the option tyre and then using the prime as the car is lighter and quicker in the final 20 laps of the race.

With pit stops set to be cut to a total of around 16 seconds I can’t see many teams running the risk of starting a race on used qually primes which would make it necessary to pit after roughly 15 laps – they would not be able to eek out enough time in those opening laps to negate the pit stop especially whilst the car is heavy.


Yes that is true, but we have seen occasions when that is not always true – even last year we saw that with race fuel – and it may give you a better overall race strategy, i.e. qualy on the best qualy tyres just leaving enough time to get in, change and do one slow lap on the best race tyres. As you are not having to do a 3 lap stint, out/timed/in this will be a much shorter time so overall may be better – I’m sure the strategy guys will be crunching the numbers as we speak. Are there any rules to say you have to do a complete timed lap on the tyres in the session? And also what happens with a wet qualy and dry race – what do the rules say for that?



As far as I can tell you wouldn’t even have to do a slow lap on the race tyres. You could exit the pits with 1 second to go in Q3. So, if you play it well your last qualifying run on the softer tyres would come approx one slowish lap before the end of Q3.

This is not that bad – we need to take into account that the effect of “the fastest laps come at the very end of Q3” was increased in the last few seasons due to fuel burn-off, which is now gone. You’ll do this fastest lap on minimum fuel even if it comes a little bit earlier. This means that at the worst the track becomes marginally faster because 10 cars did 1 more qualifiying lap each and layed down marginally more rubber. That can’t make such a a big difference.


Thanks James. I’m still not sure on a few things (as pointed out by other readers above, too):

Can a team change to harder tyres on their last qualifying run ready for the race?

What if they (seriously) flat-spot their tyres on the last run? Can they be changed on safety grounds and will this incur a penalty?

Can a team change their aero/ride hight setup after posting their fastest time ready for a high fuel load, then go and post another lap that will inevitably be slower and drive back to park ferme? I mean surely they can argue that their changes were made to try and get a faster quali lap but didn’t work. I don’t really see how it can be policed.

That wasn’t a problem last season as your last flying lap would always be the fastest due to the fuel burning.


Yes, but see my reply to Simon Wilson.
As in 2005 they can change a damaged set but I believe it has to come from their allocation of used tyres
Yes but again they’d miss out on the track at its fastest.


Hi James, I have a question: What if top ten in qualifiers will finished Q3 for example on slicks and then the next day will be rainy- they still have start the race on the same tires?


No that is a change of conditions and they would start on wets


To sum up unanswered questions from previous posters about Q3, the following are still open.

1. Can a team change tires during Q3 ?>

2. Can a team change setup during Q3 ?

If so it seems that best strategy is to have one or two runs in quali-mode and then have a gentle last lap before the buzzer in race-mode. That gentle last lap does not seem that intuitive to the casual spectator, but I guess the ‘burning fuel’ stage of the current mode was also a bit boring.

In case no changes are allowed, there is the risk of having an emptier track most of the time as people will conserve their tires …


With the 3 missed races rule, what’s to stop a team like Mercedes or RedBull not showing up at the final race/races if the championship is decided before then?




All these rules aimed at improving the show should not be created at the expense of the best teams/drivers. Would you imagine Hussein Bolt being asked to run with his bare feet so that his opponents might be able to challenge him? I was very irritated by Ferrari/Schumacher dominance. But it was up to the teams to come up with cars that could challenge Ferrari and drivers to raise their game. As Eddie Irvine put it, they should have kept the rules as they were. Retrospectivelly it was much better then.


The real problem during Schumacher’s was never letting his team-mate race him as McLaren allowed during their dominant days of Senna v Prost.

The sight of Rubens almost stopping when leading by some margin just so Schumacher could win was and remains for ever more disgusting and in my view any team boss that allows this just doesn’t understand the sport of F1 (now who was the team boss? That’s right the new FIA President, says it all doesn’t it)?


That is a brilliant idea. Particularly on tracks like Singapore and Abu Dhabi where the track gets colder as the session continues.



With the no refueling does this mean we will see the cars hit the ground and sparks fly up like the old days?

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