‘Fuel burn’ qualifying laps get dropped

2008 F1 season

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Good news – there will be no boring hiatus at the start of part three of qualifying in 2008. The FIA has finally gotten around to banning the ‘fuel burn’ phase (as many people had expected).

I was hoping they would do this by getting rid of ‘race fuel’ qualifying altogether. Race fuel qualifying was introduced in 2003 in the hope that it would mix the grids up more but it had clearly failed.

Unfortunately race fuel qualifying – for the top ten drivers at least – will remain.

The revised sporting regulations has changed the duration of the three parts of qualifying from 15 minutes for each part to 20, 15 and 10 minutes respectively for parts one, two and three.

Any cars that participate in the third part of qualifying will have to set their fuel loads at the beginning of that part and will not be allowed to add further fuel until after the race has started.

Although race fuel qualifying remains, banning ‘fuel burn’ is clearly the right way to go – but why has it taken the FIA two years to get around to it? They made a minor tweak to the system in 2006 to reduce the amount of time spent burning fuel but this proper fix is at least 12 months overdue.

Here are the relevant bits of the new rules:

29) Refuelling

b) Fuel may not be added to nor removed from any car eligible to take part in Q3 between the start of
Q3 and the start of the race, unless any eligible car was unable to take part in which case c) below
will apply.


33) Qualifying practice

33.1 The qualifying practice session will take place on the day before the race from 14.00 to 15.00.
The session will be run as follows :

a) From 14.00 to 14.15 (Q1) all cars will be permitted on the track and at the end of this period the slowest five cars will be prohibited from taking any further part in the session. Lap times achieved by the fifteen remaining cars will then be deleted.

b) From 14.22 to 14.37 (Q2) the fifteen remaining cars will be permitted on the track and at the end of this period the slowest five cars will be prohibited from taking any further part in the session. Lap times achieved by the ten remaining cars will then be deleted.

c) From 14.45 to 15.00 (Q3) the ten remaining cars will be permitted on the track.

The above procedure is based upon a Championship entry of 20 cars. If 22 are entered six cars will be excluded after Q1 and Q2 and, if 24 are entered, six cars will be excluded after Q1 and Q2 leaving 12 cars eligible for Q3.

Photos copyright: Ferrari S.p.A. | Red Bull / GEPA

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Keith Collantine
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8 comments on “‘Fuel burn’ qualifying laps get dropped”

  1. They should just get rid of this race fuel qualifying business. I don’t really see the point of it. It should just be about who can go out there and do the fastest lap.

  2. I agree but getting rid of fuel burn is a good start. The current qualifying system is so much better than the old ones.

  3. I think that the new Q3 would be interesting :D

  4. Looks like they haven’t updated the rules yet (or at least your copy isn’t updated). The times given indicate 3 15-minute sessions

    This makes it sound as though drivers will not get their fuel credit for each lap driven. This means that after each lap a driver will need to calculate “Was that lap quick enough, or do I need to go around again and start the race with one lap less fuel”.

  5. Friends, they’re still plotting ONE HOT LAP……. this is no different that every other qualifying scheme, it all comes down to ONE HOT LAP. It doesn’t take 15 minutes to do ONE HOT LAP. It’s still a shell game.
    He who wins the pole likely will win the race. The GP race is decided by ONE HOT LAP ……..
    on Saturday.

  6. not Very “green” if u ask me, maybe a couple of fuel burn laps! it only became fuel burn because they gave “fuel credits”.
    the idea of qualifying is to see who can lap the track fastest, the idea of pole being decided simply by fuel loads is farcical! we no longer get to see just who is fastest!
    Senna would be turning in his grave upon hearing this!

  7. I don’t think Q3 will be interesting, why use up valuable engine reliability for no gain. I assume teams will just put in 10-15 race laps worth of fuel do a single qualifying run. Probably a second only if the driver makes a mistake.
    Even the slower teams don’t run very light on fuel because, they end up being further back at the end of the race.
    Bring back low fuel qualifying and suspend the 107% rule since there are not even enough cars to fill the grid.
    People should stop thinking themselves smart and changing things every 5 minutes. Its Ludicrous to think we watch F1 just to see overtaking, hence it must be engineered through artificial means.

  8. Why don’t have the Q3 with a one-shot lap for each driver? It would be interesting to see everyone of them.

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