F1 Winter Break
Pirelli had voiced concern about anti-climactic qualifying
Posted By: James Allen  |  25 Jun 2011   |  10:55 pm GMT  |  129 comments

Qualifying for the European Grand Prix featured an anti-climactic end, with most of the front runners not completing their second runs and only one driver, Mark Webber, making an improvement on his final run.

Meanwhile two drivers, Nick Heidfeld and Adrian Sutil choosing not to set a timed lap in order to save a set of new soft tyres for the race and have a free choice of what tyre to start the race on. Michael Schumacher found himself in the position of setting no time in Monaco and many teams were unsure of how the rules would be applied. In the end Schumacher had a free choice.

But Pirelli boss Paul Hembery had already voiced his concern about the risks of this happening before the weekend to team principals and is pushing to close the loophole,

“We want to get rid of that scenario,” said Hembery. “And it is more for the fans because otherwise we will see people not bothering in qualifying and that is a waste of time.

“I’ve made a suggestion to put to the Sporting Working Group to say that actually in those circumstances, you should be made to use your Q2 tyres in that situation, so there is no advantage from not setting a time.

“If you have problems and don’t go out and qualify, you will still start on a set of tyres that have done an out-lap, set a time and an in-lap, so they will be in the same condition as everyone else. That is the fairest sporting way, so hopefully they will adopt that.”

The subject was discussed at the F1 commission and Hembery is keen to see it adopted quickly into the F1 regulations.

What do you think of what we saw in qualifying? Do you think it spoils the spectacle of qualifying?

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Surely the simplest rule would be that drivers do not have to set a time in qualifying but if they do not they lose a set of tyres for the race. We cannot have fans spending money to see the Saturday action and not see any action on the track.


Silly rules beget silly rules. The more false and wacky the show gets with the likes of DRS and comedy tyres the more silly rules they have to come up with to try and offset the madness and the more contrived and complicated the whole show gets.

I miss my beloved F1 of 3 years ago.


Totally agree Wayne. I preferred the F1 era of pitstops for fuel rather than this obsession with the tyres and DRS when everything becomes more manipulated and, as a spectacle, more manic.


F1 3 years ago still had a big rulebook. There was a big rulebook in 1960. But it sounds like you're happy with a Valencia 2008 for every race. I'd rather have exciting race, even if it means a few extra rules. Or ideas in the case of DRS and having tyres that don't last.


Alexis, it's a cycle of madness. We introduce DRS, KERS and joke-shop tyres because people want more overtaking (when really want people want is unpredictability and with all the silly innovations this year the wdc is more predictable than ever) and doing this ruins qualy completely as a spectacle so we need to introduce yet more rules to compensate from the damage we have already done.

How long before we really so have sprinklers, gold medals for drivers and roundabout on the circuits? It's clsoer than people think. Perhaps we can issue the wdc with a big gold belt to go about their waist?

At some point it will stop being a sport alltogether and just become entertainment. We have taken the first step this year by deliberately manipulating the racing with DRS.


What this knock-out qualifying format brought us is to be able to watch cars rounding the circuit, unlike the 1-hour format, 45 minutes of which was dead silence. Therefore, there needs to be done something to prevent people from waiting during qualifying just to gain a bit of advantage in races.

Last year, races were boring and processional and qualifying was breathtaking. This year, it was the other way around, which is not good. Qualifying is supposed to be neck-and-neck until the final moment. It needs to be sprint race, if you like.

The other possible way to achieve this is to give teams one set of extra soft tyres for use only in Q3, which then have to be returned back to Pirelli and won't be allowed to be used in the race. That way, they'll have a bonus qualifying tyre.


If you give an extra set and someone sets their fastest time on that extra set, what then? They will to start the race on that set so they can't give it back. If you then say they must give back a different set of tyres then you are back to square one are you not? The solution in my view is to apply the rule that "you start the race on the same set of tyres you set your qualifying time on" to everyone on the grid, from first to last so as not to penalise unfairly the faster drivers who make it into Q3 (vs someone starting 11th for example). Secondly, if you qualify for a session (e.g. Q3) and do not set a time (except due technical issues with the car) you loose two grid places for the race.


You can finetune this rule change. This is just thinking out of the box. We can scrap that damn rule you suggested. Combined, that will be very useful I'd imagine.


That makes sense. I don't know why the no-time-set, fresh-tyres loophole was created in the first place.


LOL Well as you said, it's a loophole, so it couldn't have been created hahaha... though yer, I agree with you that it's a loophole that gotta be looked into and get sorted out asap!


Each of the top 10 qualifiers are given an extra set of tyres just for Q3. They 'go their hardest' in Q3. This set is then given back at end of Q3 and the Top 10 start the race on the set of tyres that they did their fastest lap on in Q2, or, as an alternative, are open to chose their tyres as are Teams from 11th onwards...just a thought. Whilst we all want Sunday to be the feature of the weekend, Sat quali is dissapointing for the fans at the track who pay the money for a good day(and on tv)


Qualifying is quite broken.

This won't fix it.

10th, starting on tyres that have done 1 quick lap in Q2 + 1 unused set is better than 10th and starting on tyres that have been done 1 quick lap in Q3 and no unused sets.

And if you've used up all your softs to get to q3, you wouldn't want to use them again in Q3.

However, I think the rules seeking to disadvantage the top 10 qualifiers is completely wrong anyway.


Absolutely, this is an ill thought-out fix (well .. the flaw is obvious enough that I suspect its just a straw man to kick off a debate about it).

I'm not sure about qualifying (Q3) really being broken, there are two main factors in play:

Passing is easier, so position is less important. On the other hand, tyres wear quickly, and you dont have many - so they've become very important.

Pole is Vettels anyway, such is the pace RB have. The rest of the positions aren't really compelling (as a TV show; they still matter for the drivers).

To end the inactivity in Q3, all thats needed is to provide enough tyres to qualify and race, and to remove the rule about starting on the qualifying tyre.


@OldIron I assume the 'obvious' flaw is those people would just do one lap on the tyre of their choice (presumably hard) to let themselves start on it?

My solution would be to force all teams to run the same type of tyres in every all three qualifying session (i.e. everyone uses hards throughout). This would also stop the 107% mockery where the real difference has to be >107% before you theoretically get knocked out because you're comparing fast cars on hard vs slow cars on soft. The return to qualifying tyres would also work, but we're at least pretending to be 'green' here so a solution involving the current sets would be more likely to get implemented. Under this scheme, you start on any tyre you want.

You could almost go further and force them all to use one set for all three sessions, which would mean relatively worn tyres for Q3. If you flat spot them, tough - you're disadvantaged for the rest of quali. If you get a puncture, allow them to change just that one tyre.


Hembery was trying to make qualifying exciting; the change wouldn't achieve that, as people could still do no lap at all (and start on their Q2 tyre) to save a fresh set, or do a very sedate lap with the tyre of their choice (to keep them fairly fresh).

Your way would be equitable, but people are still using their race tyres and would want to minimise the damage to them (the 'one set' option might fly - they are for qualifying only, so no benefit to nursing them: it'd still leave limited running though).


If Saturday's tyre saving helps to make the race more exiting vith different strategies, then I'm ok with it.

I think it's the case here, see China's GP, it was great.

I don't care about Q, what I want to see is a great show on Sunday, and this year the tyres have helped A LOT to accomplish that.


Agreed, for me it has always been about the race


It does spoil the qualifying show, but then, it has boosted the show on Sunday quite a lot this season due to some drivers having fresher tyres than others. Arguably that makes up for it.


Here here, as long as only 1-2 drivers does it (not go out to save tyres).


Agreed, saving tyres on Saturday makes for a better show overall. The grid order still differs depending on how the car performs on that track and whether the driver manages to put together a good lap.


I voted yes, but definitely prefer exciting Sundays to Saturdays if I had to choose one or the other. So I'd rather not see any 'fixes' to qualifying that take away from the great racing we've been having.


I voted yes, but wanted to add the following.

Exciting qualifying (and boring races) OR

Boring qualifying (and exciting races)

I know which I would prefer to see!

Be a real shame if, in pushing to close this "loophole", Pirelli deny us the chance to see someone come storming through the field on new tyres a la Webber in China, Jenson in Monaco and Canada...


Closing the loophole won't mean that you won't see drivers "storming through the field". Neither Webber nor Button had great races due to saving tyres by 'deliberately' not running in Q3. The reason they had great races through the field was because Webber went out in Q1 because he made a mistake and Jenson had a drive through and a puncture which put him last.

The point here is that people pay a great deal of money to go to a Grand Prix qualifying and by not running, the drivers/teams are short changing the fans.

Imagine if a football team had already qualified for a tournament but had a game left to play against a vastly superior side in the group stages. Would they be allowed to sit it out to save the players fitness for the bigger games?


Could you clarify your point then Steveo-o-o, because I appear to have missed it as well. You asked what if a football team short-changed the fans in a similar way, but as Rich C pointed out, top football teams do indeed do that on a regular basis.


Certainly, apologies for the confusion.

When I said would a footbal team be allowed to sit it out and rest the players" I was referring to the team not competing as in "not fielding any players at all". I wasn't comparing cars not running in Q3 to football teams that field a B-list team, yes that happens all the time. Rather, I was suggesting that it was akin to a football team not bothering to field any players at all.

If an F1 team can't be bothered to compete in Q3 then it short changes the fans who came to watch, just as a football team would short change fans if they decided not to field a team because they didn't need the points.


>Imagine if a football team had already qualified for a tournament but had a game left to play against a vastly superior side in the group stages. Would they be allowed to sit it out to save the players fitness for the bigger games?

Yes, this pretty much happens all the time because the team will play it's backup players and rest the #1's.


Not really, you just picked a very bad example. Football matches like that are renowned for playing 2nd string players, and coasting through the match.

Would you feel the spectacle improved if Pedro de la Rosa jumped into Hamiltion's car for Q3, and went around not getting out of second gear?

Rich C is directly addressing your point on short changing the fans, and answering the question you posed at the end of your first post. We do not have to imagine the scenario you posted, because it happens all the time.


I think you've deliberately missed the point there.


The tyres are detracting from 'the show' (in qualifying) that everyone seems to strive to improve. Seems a reasonable change to ensure everyone in Q3 starts on the tyre used for their fasted lap regardless of the session it was used in.


i think its obvious we need a tyre allocation for saturday that is separate from sunday. dont think fans care about how many tyres teams use over a weekend and if it means a battle for qualifying as high as possible again give them more tyres. has to be a way around this because this tyre saving on saturdays is a joke and not good viewing........


I agree with the Pirelli boss, and its a loophole that needs to be closed.

Im wondering if it still is a good idea running fastest time q3 tyres to start the race anymore? Does everybody still think it is a good idea because of this loophole im not so sure.


I agree with this. Qualifying used to be a mad dash, there is now this thing where drivers do 1 lap (or have done the past few grand prix)and come in. By the end of the session they seem to have visibly recovered from their efforts.

How to encourage more runs I don't know, but hopefully the technical working group should be able to find a way. Maybe encourage 2 runs and an average of the 2 is taken. I don't know, just a thought.


I just wanted to comment as neither of the choices in your above poll reflect my opinion. I feel that it does indeed detract from the spectacle of qualifying but that it adds yet another dimension strategically to the race weekend.

The drivers fighting at the front will always go out at least once to set a time and it is an unusual circumstance where the times in the latter part of the session are slower.

If those in the lower half of the top ten decide to stay in the pits and save a set of tires that just adds another dimension to the strategy on race day.

I would like to see this one left alone to give those in the lower order of the top ten more opportunity to fight with the big boys on race day.


I agree, I don't think this is really a big deal. You still have the top drivers fighting for pole position in Q3. If a couple of guys on the fringes of the top 10 choose not to run is that really such a problem?

Overall they've probably ended up doing just as many laps as the top cars, because they probably had to run twice in Q1 and Q2 to secure their place in Q3. Heidfeld for example did more laps in Valencia qualifying than either Rosberg or Button, both of whom did make two full competitive runs in Q3, so who's short-changing the fans?


I'd like to see no limit on the quantity of tyres (and by the way no parc-ferme!!) and watch the cars qualify and race at their top! Those are marginal ways to cut spending, testing is banned anyway, and the big spending is somewhere else!


Yes most definitely the saving of tyres thing (introduced by Lewis Hamilton in China FYI) is making qualifying for the top 10 shoot out irrelevant.

The teams should also forget about that business of forcing drivers that haven't set a time to run on their Q2 tyres if he doesn't set a time in Q3.

The only solution to this problem is to give the teams extra tyres specifically for qualifying which can be tossed after they have been wasted.

We want to see drivers go all out for position and if not that, the FIA should bring back the one-lap qualifying runs format which had the added advantage in that it can avoid the scenario where we have the Red Bull dominating pole position


What Lewis did in China and what Heidfeld and Sutil did yesterday is not the same. Lewis did set a time in China Q3, but chose to go for only one flying lap rather than two thereby saving a set of tyres. I do not think that is much of an issue. The problem is with drivers who don't even other to go for a single flying lap in Q3.


It woukd be easy to make it fair and more exciting.

first allocate each team a set number of tyres for each session. then get rid of the rule that says top 10 have to start on qualifying tyres.

while we're at it let's get rid of fuel saving as well by forcing all teams to start with the same amount of fuel on board - an amount that is more than enough to get all cars to the finish.


Well Neil, as the cars can't refuel during the race I would think they HAVE to start with enough fuel to get to the finish.


I say "leave it alone". It's just one more parameter to make for interesting racing. The teams that try this approach aren't usually fighting at the front anyway.


Not gonna be watching the qualies anymore...

Race is good these days but quali is a waste of time for me


crazy talk from pirelli and typical f1. give the teams more tyre for the weekend as to not deprive fans of track action. no one wants to se anti climactic Quali with no final run, allow q3 runners an extra set of option tyres, job done.

going forward, compromising f1 in the name of cost cutting is silly. pirelli need to bring way more tyres to each race and absorb the costs. they don't have a tyre war & minimal mid season development so what's the problem?

what next... limiting fuel?


The rules in force this year have contributed to qualifying being an anti-climax. With DRS and varying tyre strategies now making overtaking more possible than in the recent past, grid position has less emphasis than ever.

Webber's charge through the field in China from the back of the grid showed everyone what was possible with plenty of new rubber in the race and now the effects are becoming clear to see.

I can't remember the last time I saw a proper shootout in the dying seconds of Q3 for pole position, which makes for far from exciting viewing.


Most people are aware that points are won in the race, so why go ruin it in qualifying, especially if you know you won't be challenging for a win come race day.

These tyres are made from a mild cheese, so you cent have your cake and eat it (food pun intended).


Should have read, these tyres are made of a mild cheese, so you can't have your cake and eat it. Especially, when your out of the top four consistently.


In some ways DRS is responsible for this also in that if you qualify "out of position" you can generally move your car back to where it belongs in the order - getting held up behind slower cars isn't such an issue now.


Tire-saving tactics make the race more interesting. And for some of the cars, even another run on new tires in Q would not improve the car's grid position. Let the teams keep this option.


Let them RACE !

Give the drivers sufficient tyres to make the quali and race on the compound that best suit their car.

Or at least have separate allocation for quali and race.



(one time F3 driver)


Bring back qualifying tyres.


The problem is not "saving tires", the problem is that tires are being manipulated intentionally for the sake of entertainment. If the racing is not close enough, the tire compounds are changed. If one competitor has too much of an advantage, the rules are changed. DRS is used as an artificial passing aid, as is KERS.

The entire sport is being manipulated to enhance the "spectacle" the extent that it is becoming less of a sport and more of pure entertainment. Soon it will be no more of a "sport" than WWE wrestling is.

What happened to Formula One, the pinnacle of motor racing technology and skill?


spot on.its all about money and viewing figures.Also this season all you here is tires tires tires.drs was brought in to help overtacking with last seasons tires so have tires more like last season or no drs



I think what's really spoiling the quali show is the lack of refueling in the race.

Prior to 2009 (publishing fuel results ruined it) it was very fun to observe the difference in quali pace and to make predictions on fuel which you would then verify on Sunday depending on who pitted first.

I miss refueling 🙁


Adding to the above, I think qualifying as a whole has simply become less important as in the past due to overtaking becoming less of an issue in the race (uhm, DRS).

Good or bad? I'm not sure. The races are for sure enjoyable but lately I have been wondering why I bother watching cars qualify when Vettel almost always gets pole and when, more importantly, its easy(er) to overtake now.

I started watching f1 in 2007 and I remember being on the edge of my seat on Saturdays in 2007 and 2008 sometimes even more so than on Sundays.

The opposite is true now. Saturdays are boring, but I do not put the blame on the tyres. Some? Yes. But significantly less than half.


How much difference would it make? They'd still be saving a set of tyres, and they could bung them on at their first pit stop, which would confer an advantage.


James, I think you're thinking about Spain where Schumacher abandoned his only lap in Q3, he definately set a time in Monaco, started 5th on the grid.


The teams are behaving rationally, given what they have to work with, and you can't blame them for that.

While the tyres have added to the spectacle, you can't get around the fact that it's been done by deliberately and knowingly foisting onto the teams a low quality product. The way to return qualifying to an interesting event is to fix the tyres, not invent yet another rule. Alternatively, get rid of the rule that the top 10 must start with their qualifying tyres.

The rule as suggested by Hembery will obviously fail because teams in Q3 will come out, do one gentle lap at 50km/h, then gently drive back into the pit.


> The rule as suggested by Hembery will obviously fail because teams in Q3 will come out, do one gentle lap at 50km/h, then gently drive back into the pit.

Not quite true - there's a maximum lap time in qualifying (intended primarily to stop people doing ridiculously slow in/out laps, but would apply to a not-really "flying" lap too).


The only thing spoiling the show is Vettel's domination. There is no show or spectacle in seeing who qualifies 8th, 9th or 10th anyway. Pole to 4th is the interesting part.


I voted yes but it´s not only because of tyres it´s because of the big gaps between the teams.

Heidfeld even said that he saved a set of tyres because he wasn´t able to beat at least the mercedes!!

Vettel at the moment is so strong in Quali that the others have to make choices for the race to try and bit him.

Same thing goes between Ferrari/Mclaren and the gap to Mercedes, they don´t have a chance of beating them at some tracks so they instead save a set of tyres for the race.

For me the bigger problem is that, some big gaps leading the chacers to save tyres for the race.

John Ferdinand

It’s smart racing strategy for drivers to save some wear and tear on the tires with the level of degradation and the fall off of performance these tires exhibit. And strategy is part of what makes racing interesting. Besides, if you are saving a set of tires for the race you are most likely not gunning for pole position. Everyone talks of leveling the playing field between teams and if I’m Schumacher I’m going to do everything I can to gain an advantage on the other three teams in front of me and give myself a fighting chance in a car that is not as strong as the others. It’s a smart move by teams that are further down the grid, Red Bull and McLaren are not in the position to necessarily worry about this. More rules forcing a driver or team to mandatorily participate in a session is not what is needed, the teams will always do what it takes to bring the best package forward for the race, not only to satiate the fans but also their numerous sponsors whom rely on the exposure of being seen running at the races.

Armchair Moaner

What is spoiling it is the fact Pirelli is lowering the quality of their tyres for entertainment purposes to please the lowest common denominator going "yeah we need more overtakes, artificial or not, they must pass each other".

The fact teams do this in qualifying to get themselves into a better position in race tactic, is proof the tyre situation is artificial (ask Webber almost winning the race starting last with him only having new sets of tyres).

Yes, people seem to love it...just like many people love American Wrestling.

So pirelli and the fans can complain all they want about the teams doing this, but the main cause of this is Pirelli lowering the quality of their tyres for a pop show instead of a race.

Most artificial season F1 has ever known, thanks to Pirelli, DRS and FIA changing the rules to disadvantage 1 team and spice up the show.

Lonny K Johnson

Tire strategy is what this season is all about. This is an option that should be open to those who choose to use it. And I hate rules changes in mid season. If you leave a loop hole inadvertently, smile and fix it next season.


I think that Humbery got a point. It's a shame drivers don't manage even a single lap in Q3, that's important for the spectators attending the event. The more cars out the better is the show.

Now as for us TV viewers, when we watch qualies, the main point of interest are the 3 big teams challenging for pole position. (2 teams performance wise this year).

The interesting point in qualies is the 2 phase in Q3 when drivers go for a 1st rush and then try to improve. We used last year to witness last minute changes of positions and it was thrilling. Actually Q3 was more fun than the race last year.

That is lost because the tyres need nursing and because Pirelli made overtaking much easier on Sunday. So we kind of swapped Saturday 10mn show for a Sunday 2hours show which is more than welcome.

To conclude, even if Hembery decision improves the show, it will do nothing to make it as thrilling as it used to be.


Absolutely agree with the folks at pirelli, quali used to be the most exciting part of the weekend as I would sit with my fingers crossed in the closing seconds of each session to see who made the final last gasp push for pole and did it stick. Its fun to see Vettel stick it on pole and have enough of a margin to get out and watch the rest but that is cheapened when then everyone behind him doesn't even try to knock him off so they can have a better strategy come race.

I feel cheated as a fan that some people didn't even set a lap. I think there should be a penalty attached to that honestly, the only reason to not set a lap is mechanical failure or accidents in a previous round. It makes me mad and I didn't even shell out my firstborn to buy a ticket like some did. A real shame.


Why is Pirelli so keen to get into the act?

Surely this is for the teams to decide, and none of Pirelli's business?

As if there weren't enough people already trying to tell the teams how to run their business now they have to listen to some *supplier too?

Pirelli should just make the tires and keep their mouth shut about tactics.



I just don't understand why doesn't FIA have some team working on finding all the possible loop holes whenever a new rule is implemented. If that done, then this kind of situations might not arise and they need not make changes when they catch some teams making use of it.

These situations gives the feeling that the FIA is not competent enough!


Everyone who's been following F1 for more then a year KNOWS that FIA is incompetent.

They are complete joke when it comes to covering loopholes.


Or it might be that the FIA employ clever people , and the teams employ VERY clever people. The teams find ways to do things which the rules were not meant to allow....

I've been following F1 since the 1970s, JM Ballestre was a man who made Sepp Blatter look like mother Theresa ... The FIA now is not as bad as it (or FISA) was. I can't think of a sport where the fans really like the governing body


Schumacher set no time in Barcelona


Would Mr. Hembery's suggestion result in the best qualifying scenario possible, or would it still provide teams wishing to save their tires a way to do so?

Any tire regulations which restrict a teams effort to qualify at their maximum performance should be viewed as detrimental to an essential part of the F1 experience.

Certainly we don't want the entire weekend to be about tire management.

Douglas Revill

I disagree with Paul Hembery. Pirelli have done an amazing job with the tyres this year, and this is why we are seeing the kind of scenario that kept Michael Schumacher from setting a time in Monaco. In my view, this adds to the excitement.

F1 is a obviously a complex sport, and this is part of the appeal. The Grand Prix weekend should be looked at as a whole - practice, qualifying and the race. When looked at in this way, the weekends are shaping up better than anyone had hoped since the new rules for this year were brought in.

Lets enjoy what we have, and try to avoid changing the rules on the run. There has been too much of that over the years. Please, lets not dumb down our sport.


I commented on another article really about this issue. Then I suggested we go back to the old days where qualifying was a spectacle. I feel, similar to Mr Pirelli, that Q2 should determine the race starting specs, and let Q3 have engines wound up, and a free set of tyres. I know there are issues with this too (car differences), but I'd rather have dud Q3s out of that list.


You reap what you sow, FIA. Quali tyres should not count against the allocation of tyres on race day, end of problem.


It might spoil the final few minutes of qualifying but it doesn't half make for exciting races!


I agree. I'd rather have a more exciting Sunday.


No one can deny that high degradation tyres has lead to some spectacular races with Canada being absolutely thrilling because the rain added yet another dimension. I'm afraid it isn't true racing though as what we are actually seeing is a tyre strategy contest that denies those that can really push a car the chance to do so. It is unfair as it stymies true racing ability for fear of damaging the tyres. F1 is not F1 any more!


I think they should just let them run on whatever tires they want to see the fastest car on pole. It seems I am not as eager to watch qualifying now as I was in the past.


It was strange seeing a very fast lap from Seb being aborted on the instructions of his team to save his tires.

Why not have a compulsory shoot-out on a empty track in Q3 to see who is the quickest like we had in 2002/03.

Pirelli should not being asking FIA to set the rules. The FIA must themselves make sure an event is worth watching.

What would be the starting order if no teams went out in Q1? Would it be decided on the finishing order of the previous race??

James, your views please.

Derrick Muller

Maybe they should consider adding the times from all three qualifying sessions together and the driver with the lowest total gets pole, etc. Drivers only taking part in the first two sessions position under the current rules. That way we ensure consistent qualifying laps by everyone and a driver don't hold back in the first two sessions to suddenly produce a "spectacular" lap only in session 3.


Isn't the real reason that they're one set (at least) short of the quicker tyres for the weekend, because wear has been a lot more than last year. That's the change that needs to be made.


Surely, if the rule becomes "Go on-track in Q3 or be forced to start on your Q2 tyres", we'll just have the possibility of cars going out in Q3 on their desired race-tyres and literally idling/coasting around to set a "token" deadly-slow time to avoid the punishment of being forced to start on their Q2 tyres ? Methinks some more thought is required !


Last year I looked forward to qualifying coverage almost as much as the race. This year I've been taping it to watch later, and fast-forwarding through most of it. A couple of times I've skipped the recording altogether and just looked up the results on the web.

It's definitely less dramatic, but that might be because the races are so much better, plus thanks to the new tyres and DRS qualy is less important. Forcing teams to start races on worn tyres isn't the answer - but you could maybe award points from 10 down to 1 for quali order.(Probably have to change races to 50 down to 5 to compensate though.)


I don't think the problem with Q3 is that the people towards P10 are not going out for a run. The problem is it's not worth the front runners going all-out for the fastest time because they have to manage the conditions of the tyres, and the current spec of Pirellis have less mileage than the Bridgestones did (Which I support 100% because it makes for better races) so there is less leeway for getting a hot lap from a set.

Perhaps the solution is to scrap the "start the race with your qualifying tyre" rule and bring an additional set of Options for use exclusively in the second half of Q3. Then drivers could do banker laps on one of their stockpile sets in the first five minutes, and if unsatisfied with that lap go out on the additional set and really go for it in the dying stages.

You'd still have tyre strategising going on, because some drivers could opt not to do a run using the race tyres and just do one run at the end. That would net them an extra set of brand new Options for the race, but the risk would be that their one run at the end of the session might be compromised, costing them grid position.


The simple solution is to give the teams as many tyres as they want (or at least an extra 4-5 sets of each compound) for only the qualifying session & change the rule so that instead of having to start on the exact set they set their fastest lap on, they only have to start on the same TYPE of tyre (i.e soft, super soft).

Straightforward, simple, & it encourages people to get out there & set as many fast laps as they can, which is what we want to see in qualifying.


What about one set of moderately hard tyres for the whole of qualifying -- to be discarded at the end of Q3 and then all new tyres for the race? This would completely remove choice of tyre as a factor in qualifying and thus create a level playing field and establish the relative speed of the car/driver combinations.


Forcing the teams to take part in Q3 will not guarantee excitement; they can also put on a set of tires and cruise slowly round just to preserve them....

The answer is simple: qualifying tires.


This is bananas by Pirelli!

Clearly the cars in Q3 should be given extra tyres not penalised even more.

It's totally unfair that getting through to Q3 disadvantages drivers for the race.

1 extra set of options for the top 10 runners only to be used in Q3 please and end this madness.


Like many others (or so it seems), I voted "Yes" but ONLY in relation to the direct question. This really needs further options relating to the impact it would have on the racing.

Again like most people posting, I would not want to see qualifying changed at the expense of the current, exciting races.

If it is important for the sport to have a spectacle on Saturdays, then they need to find a way of providing it that will not disadvantage teams on Sundays.


Solution is simple.

Keep Q1, Q2 and Q3 as they are, with the same knockout system.

Every driver gets a set of new tires for each Q they advance into.

After the 3 sessions, each driver will have their best recorded time used for their final Q position.

Depending on weather condition deterioration in latter stages of Q, it is feasible that a drivers time from Q1 gets PP, even though he advanced to Q3, but his time was not as good as Q1.

In this way it gives incentive for all drivers to try and proceed to the next session, and improve their Q time in each session they are able to advance through to.


Why can't Pirelli produce tires that don't fall apart? Yes, Bridgestone produced rock hard tires and we wanted variety (so says Pirelli and FOTA), but why do we have to wind up with junk tires? Instead of changing qualifying (Again), leave the regs as they are (for once) and just produce slightly more durable tires...?


For me, qualifying is a big part of the show as we see what the cars are ultimately capable of when everything is focused on one hot lap. Very exciting and a great demonstration of driver skill.

I would like to see great races and great qualifying and both are achievable.

A better solution than that suggested by Hembury would be to require everyone to set a lap in Q3 that is within 7% of pole, or take a 10 place grid drop.

As for Q3 this weekend, I regard the finish as OK - all the fast cars were out and trying. If they could have gone faster they would have, and then Vettel would have stayed out to defend - no tyre games going on there.


If a driver fails to set a time in the segment they qualify for they should start from the back of the gird. Give the top ten guys an extra set of softs that can only be used for the final part of qualifying and allow the drivers elect which type of tyre they want to start on. Forcing the drivers to start on the tyres they've qualified on has never appeared to make a material difference to the racing.

Tom in adelaide

This may have been said already, but all that needs to happen is;

-> this stack of tires for practice/qualifying.

-> this stack of tyres for racing.

Remove all the daft rules. Qualifying shouldn't be an economy drive.......


i don't even watch qualifying anymore. i fast forward to the last 3 minutes because that's all that matters.

the single file, one lap format had it's drawbacks but for me it was so much more entertaining from home.

obviously more cars on tracks is much better for people trackside. but there's not sustained drama.


Only simple way out of this tyre saving is give them sets of tyres for qualifying only, that they have to use, and are not avaliable for the race.


Now the tyre manufacturers are making more rules for us. Of course the more noise they make the more their brand name is in the news.


Perhaps they could give points in qualifying as well?

First place: 5 points

Second place: 2 points

Third place: 1 point

But then again, I'd hate it when a Championship battle gets decided in qualifying …

I prefer 120minutes of racing on Sunday to the 5minutes of excitement in Q3 on Saterday. Keep it as it is.


Qualifying has been neither interesting nor exciting since they got rid of the old 12 lap 1hr format. The only problem with which was it causing F1 commentators to do some work.

Drivers doing fewer laps to save tyre is nothing new. Also what really is the argument here? If the top drivers do their hotlap in the last five minutes is that more exciting than if they do them in first five minutes. The commentators can shout louder and we can all go wow, personally I am not that dumbed down. The current qualifying format is a contrivance to have everything happen in the last five minutes and if it doesn’t work out that way it is a big letdown. I don’t think so.

I do not see what is exciting about watching Sutil confirm he is 10th fastest. Furthermore a team emerging in to the top ten will not be racing P5 – 8 in the GP. Likely they are still racing the cars behind them so let them take an advantage of saving tyres so they can march forward and not have to take a disadvantage by burning extra tyres compared to those they are racing.

I think there is much more excitement to come from the P9 and P10 having an extra bucket of grip in the GP than 90s of so so hot lap of which we may only see from final corner to the line.


The old 1 hr format sucked.

You spent almost the entire hour staring at an empty track listening to pudits. Only the last 5 min was interesting.

At least this way, as someone else said, qualifying is actually part of the race and not some separate 'support event.'


Saturday Sprint race instead of the 3 Quali sessions.

1/3rd race distance.

Fp3 top times set the starting order.

Possible weight handicap for top 8.


The sour grapes just continues on.

McLaren just need to get their act together and stop trying to change the rules


Isn't it strategy though? I don't think any team or driver should be disadvantaged because of a tactical decision. Heidfeld and Sutil decided not to run in Q3, the downside of this is they start from the 9th and 10th spots instead of having the chance to start higher. The upside is they have a spare set of tyres. It was a strategic decision and within the rules. We've already taken most things out of F1, speed, innovation, a drive through anytime anyone overtakes or even attempts it, please don't take out the one thing that can actually make a difference in races these days, which is strategy


If Schumi and Sutil had been forced by some rule to do a lap in Q3, surely they would have just ambled round on hard tyres, that would be their "quali" time. Pirelli's suggestion wouldn't close the loophole.


Develop a tyre that will go quicker on lap 2 than lap 1, and quicker on lap 3 than lap 2, etc, and that tyre - and only that one - may be used in Q3, whereafter the Top Ten HAVE to start the race on primes. And see them slug it out in Q3. Simple.


No. What the rules are doing is connecting qualifying to the race more than starting positions. Qualifying is all about setting up the race, it's not there to be a mini-event.

It's wonderful that some teams are willing to sacrifice grid positions for the race. In fact I wish the top teams would opt for missing Q3 entirely - it would make the race even more exciting.

In my opinion, it's only the race that should matter. The excitement from qualifying should only be about setting up the race.


It's a simple fix - don't make them give back tyres after practice. It might mean there won't be as much action on a Friday but it's more important to have qualifying being exciting.


All this rule, if introduced, will do, is make everyone do what Vettel did, eg run the tyres through a heat cycle without pushing them at all.

As Christian Horner said this hardens the tyres a little allowing them to last a few laps more in the race.

This will also create more traffic running at less than "the pace".


How about everyone gets two sets of each tyre to be used on race day. Still three qualifying runs (bottom seven dropping out), but the grid positions are the fastest times set at any time during qualifying, and the tyres used to start the race are the the tyres used for the quickest lap. Everyone would have to try hard all the time then.


Sorry I should have said, the tyres used for the start of the race are the type of tyres used for the quickest qualifying lap, and the qualifying tyres are handed back. that way no one has an advantage with tyres during the race and everyone will be trying to set a fast time in all qualifying sessions, a lot better for the paying public and the sport.

Stephen Hughes

I wonder how long before one of the top teams decides to use the same set of tyres in Q1 and Q2 hoping to get inside the top 10 then just sits out Q3. You'd have plenty of fresh rubber, although I would suspect only the top three teams would have a chance of making this work and it would have to be the soft rubber they used.

Maybe the rule should be that if you don't set a time in any session of qualifying you automatically drop to the bottom position the previous session determined, so no time in Q3 means you start 17th, no Q2 time would be 24th. Not so fair on those who have car failures or accidents but then you could maybe argue that if you don't complete qualifying you should start from the back anyway?

On the other hand.... It is interesting strategy and that is one thing the new tyres where meant to encourage. The driver still has to come through from 10th or whatever so while qualifying is slightly duller maybe the race will end up more exciting as a result?


Forumal 1 is usually lacking in excitement, qualifying does pose an opportunity for some excitement so there does need to be a change of rules. I watched this week's race (well, the first 10mins) because of the excitement of Canada, but it proved to be what I consider a "typical" F1 race - boring. It's too much about team budgets and not entirely the drivers. A car comes up behind another, "I have DRS but he doesn't.... I'll just cruise past ...", what's the point of that?

It's not realistic, practical or fair to force all teams to use the same car (it'd end F1) so they should all have the same budget. I'd like to see some of "unknown" drivers have a few races in a Red Bull, Ferrari or McLaren, I'm sure you'd suddenly see the unknown guys be in the top 5.


I mean really? are people unhappy because Heidfeld and Sutil didnt go out on their "hot lap" or are they really unhappy because Vettl knew he was on Pole after his first flying lap?


All the comments of this "ruining" the qualifying are ridiculous.

Sutil and Heidfeld were LUCKY to get into Q3 (it could have been anyone from that pack) and the teams KNEW they were not going to qualify any higher. Why would they use a set of tires just fight for 9th place? As has been said DRS makes overtaking considerably higher for the car behind, so it was probably easier just to sit at the back of the front runners through the first couple of laps (avoiding any potential drama) and wait for DRS to activate and try to move up the grid.

If half the top 10 that got into Q3 started spending the session in the garage to save tires then yes, they'd have to do something. But 2 cars that were never going to get any higher choosing to focus on tire strategy over grid position did NOTHING to dilute qualifying as a whole.

Now Vettel picking up poles like any normal person would pick up a loaf of bread at the shop is getting a bit tiresome...


Specifically about Qually: why was it changed in the first place? Surely simpler is better: they can use 3 sets of tyres, they have a certain amount of time to get a fastest lap - now get on with it. Why was it changed?


Why cant qualifying be done on a seperate batch of the softest tyre.

Teams get say 5 sets of Qualy tyres (not special Qualy, just the softest tyre set for the meeting).

That way the race is exactly the same except everyone has the same quality of tyre (new) of each option to race on.

No need for special qualy setup as the tyre IS one of the race compounds anyway...

No extra research and development by Pirelli in to Qualy only tyres.

This idea bares some fine tuning but i think it fits in the framework of the current infrastructure quite well. Although additional tyre and freight cost for Pirelli.....


simple solution ... anyone not setting a time in q3 takes 5 place grid penalty from their provisional grid placement and starting tyres would be the set used to place quickest time in previous session.


How about you get given an extra set of soft tyres in q3 and at the end of q3 you give your newest set of soft tyres back?

So going into q3 if you've got no new sets left that becomes 1 and it'll be wasted if you dont use it.

If you've got 1 new set left that becomes 2 and so you'll do 2 runs instead of 1.


If Pirelli provided tires that lasted more than a handful of laps it wouldn't be an issue. As things currently stand, the simple solution would be to allocate a certain number of sets for the race in addition to the set that a car starts with (apart from those used in qualifying).


Other than track position, drivers should be rewarded for making it into Q3:

- given 2 extra sets of soft (or fastest compound of the weekend) purely to be used in Q3 as a 'quali tyre'

- allowed to start the race on whichever available compound they wish.

This will prevent drivers from not posting a qualifying run in Q3 and increase the spectacle as drivers will push the limit on the tyres knowing that they don't need to start the race on them.


Why can we not have a set of super 'quick tyres' for qualifying purposes only but minimum them to just say 6 sets like the race? Two for each stint....


Formula 1 is not a show, it is a sport. Wonder why the Paul Hembery keeps saying its a show. Let the teams and FIA decide what the rules should be, not the tyre companies.


Totally agree.

Pirelli should have been told to butt out. They have NO business interfering in team strategy/tactics.

I have been a big fan of the way Pirelli has handled their 1st year back. But this was just *way out of line. What I would have said to them would be modded-out here.


Wow, lot of negativity. Sometimes wonder if this is a 'fans' forum. Agreed, this wasn't a spectacular quali, but lets see how we get on in 2 weeks before the baby and the bathwater go out the window. As has been mentioned, our current format is better than seeing a Minardi do a few laps then waiting 45mins for the rest of the runners. If the track temp isn't as high at the next few races and drivers can be tempted to do a bit more work because of lower tyre deg we could still get a great session. I live in hope!


This has nothing to do with quali rules. This is about the ease of overtaking. It simply doesn't matter much where you start if you have the fastest car and can stay out of trouble in the first turn.


Personally I would rather see fuel stops myself, in an ideal world. I think we have an OK format this year though, the best it can be with our rules. What worries me is convoluted rules as some have suggested. Give teams X quali tyres and take X back after Q3 etc etc.

To tell the truth I expected a bit of a post-Valencia backlash!!


Should allow 3 new sets of each compound for qualifying and 3 new sets of each compound for race.

Then there will be more pit stops as drivers will push more. Rather than taking care of tyres.

There are just 24 cars on the grid...........give them more tyres.



Why don't they start allocating points for qualifying? If they get points (1st = 10, 10 = 1), then maybe they will start caring where they start and not how many sets they have saved.


Yes and no. I mean how would that have changed Algesuari's race? Likewise, if you're driving a Mercedes would you shoot for the 2 points on Sat or keep the tyres and go for a 4th/maybe sneak a 3rd if Webber doesn't turn up (again.)

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