Four drivers at risk of not qualifying in Australia

Australian GP FP2 analysis

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Vitantonio Liuzzi, HRT, Melbourne, 2011
Vitantonio Liuzzi, HRT, Melbourne, 2011

Virgin are at risk of falling foul of the 107% rule if they cannot find more performance from their car in the Australian Grand Prix.

And HRT could be caught out by the same rule having failed to set a time in either of Friday’s two practice sessions.

The fastest of the two MVR-02s, driven by Jerome d’Ambrosio, was 0.242s slower than 107% of the best lap of the session, a 1’25.854 by Jenson Button.

Virgin may take some encouragement from the fact that Timo Glock was able to set his best time, which almost matched d’Ambrosio’s best, on the tenth lap of a stint, suggesting there is more performance to be found from the car.

However if teams like Red Bull and Ferrari are able to go much faster than McLaren, that could spell trouble for Virgin and HRT.

Longest stint comparison

Compare each driver’s lap times over their longest stint. Use the controls below to show/hide different drivers.

  • Sebastian Vettel did a 20-lap stint in which his times rose from 1’31.0 to 1’31.7. That low rate of degradation, far less than what was observed in testing, could improve further on Sunday with warmer temperatures and more rubber on the track. It looks as though Vettel may be able to complete the race distance on fewer than three pit stops.
  • Team mate Mark Webber didn’t seem to keep his tyres alive quite as well, but he may have been carrying more fuel.
  • Lotus were well off the midfield pace. Mike Gascoyne said on Twitter they were struggling to use the tyres well.

Sebastian Vettel92.78891.08591.15895.73391.58392.19392.02290.73190.99890.93991.21190.73292.03892.58591.34591.24791.74891.76399.83692.371
Mark Webber94.07792.32191.51391.22891.24491.40890.95291.48692.52891.72392.89592.70293.68993.94794.08895.317
Lewis Hamilton99.15396.15787.16692.23288.99886.813
Jenson Button95.00494.48594.03394.07993.50693.608
Fernando Alonso92.03792.76595.78893.12291.91491.62193.29992.622
Felipe Massa95.47294.34295.181100.118101.66395.09494.52894.35196.18194.744
Michael Schumacher93.97893.5493.43695.11193.45593.3593.42393.20693.34193.792
Nico Rosberg95.91893.41895.78392.911107.31
Nick Heidfeld99.58392.00496.35298.21288.492
Vitaly Petrov96.02590.86788.56388.57894.61488.107
Rubens Barrichello93.70195.21398.18593.34992.21292.76591.98492.354108.519
Pastor Maldonado94.73593.58293.60693.77699.61593.85294.96994.34894.89694.58895.17296.711
Adrian Sutil94.94794.19193.44393.66994.317101.37995.95594.20293.54693.84893.80393.893
Paul di Resta95.19494.1493.51793.54393.28294.28194.628
Kamui Kobayashi93.46592.71492.87892.7892.64392.83793.48593.26994.189
Sergio Perez95.00894.00193.87793.14693.41393.49995.377
Sebastien Buemi87.697102.33288.18691.77793.855
Jaime Alguersuari92.52792.56192.74492.5592.64992.6592.8993.81293.749
Heikki Kovalainen97.70398.7197.273104.37991.54199.09892.86
Jarno Trulli97.43992.93496.63892.48992.046
Narain Karthikeyan
Vitantonio Liuzzi
Timo Glock93.0492.92694.14699.04197.08893.42793.0695.69395.61292.135
Jerome d’Ambrosio105.76197.32297.49994.2894.02693.99793.73293.80395.76896.47495.05294.35193.35993.71993.64694.35893.84794.257

Ultimate lap times

An ultimate lap time is a driver’s best three sectors combined.

CarDriverCarUltimate lapGapDeficit to best
14Jenson ButtonMcLaren-Mercedes1’25.8540.000
23Lewis HamiltonMcLaren-Mercedes1’25.9860.1320.000
35Fernando AlonsoFerrari1’26.0010.1470.000
41Sebastian VettelRed Bull-Renault1’26.0140.1600.000
52Mark WebberRed Bull-Renault1’26.2830.4290.000
67Michael SchumacherMercedes1’26.5770.7230.013
76Felipe MassaFerrari1’26.6810.8270.108
817Sergio PerezSauber-Ferrari1’27.0031.1490.098
98Nico RosbergMercedes1’27.0711.2170.377
1019Jaime AlguersuariToro Rosso-Ferrari1’27.1921.3380.333
1111Rubens BarrichelloWilliams-Cosworth1’27.2801.4260.000
1210Vitaly PetrovRenault1’27.3961.5420.132
139Nick HeidfeldRenault1’27.5171.6630.019
1418Sebastien BuemiToro Rosso-Ferrari1’27.6021.7480.095
1516Kamui KobayashiSauber-Ferrari1’28.0952.2410.000
1615Paul di RestaForce India-Mercedes1’28.3762.5220.000
1714Adrian SutilForce India-Mercedes1’28.4702.6160.113
1812Pastor MaldonadoWilliams-Cosworth1’29.2873.4330.099
1920Heikki KovalainenLotus-Renault1’30.8214.9670.008
2021Jarno TrulliLotus-Renault1’30.9125.0580.000
2125Jerome d’AmbrosioVirgin-Cosworth1’32.1066.2520.000
2224Timo GlockVirgin-Cosworth1’32.1356.2810.000

Practice times in full

  • Drivers who set their best times in the last half hour of the session (at 60 minutes or later) may not have been able to use DRS fully as the FIA was testing the ‘race’ mode of the system at that time. This may include Fernando Alonso and Vettel.
  • The two Virgin drivers also set their best times at this point, showing another means by which they might improve their qualifying time.
  • Pastor Maldonado has a lot of ground to make up – he’s been over two seconds per lap slower than Rubens Barrichello in both sessions.
CarDriverCarBest lapGapStint lapAt timeLaps
14Jenson ButtonMcLaren-Mercedes1’25.8543/35632
23Lewis HamiltonMcLaren-Mercedes1’25.9860.1321/15631
35Fernando AlonsoFerrari1’26.0010.1472/36028
41Sebastian VettelRed Bull-Renault1’26.0140.1605/56235
52Mark WebberRed Bull-Renault1’26.2830.4294/45533
67Michael SchumacherMercedes1’26.5900.7361/13731
76Felipe MassaFerrari1’26.7890.9354/45934
817Sergio PerezSauber-Ferrari1’27.1011.2476/66039
911Rubens BarrichelloWilliams-Cosworth1’27.2801.4261/13634
108Nico RosbergMercedes1’27.4481.5943/31723
1119Jaime AlguersuariToro Rosso-Ferrari1’27.5251.6713/34931
1210Vitaly PetrovRenault1’27.5281.6741/16229
139Nick HeidfeldRenault1’27.5361.6822/27222
1418Sebastien BuemiToro Rosso-Ferrari1’27.6971.8431/54830
1516Kamui KobayashiSauber-Ferrari1’28.0952.2413/35335
1615Paul di RestaForce India-Mercedes1’28.3762.5223/35833
1714Adrian SutilForce India-Mercedes1’28.5832.7291/16031
1812Pastor MaldonadoWilliams-Cosworth1’29.3863.5321/12829
1920Heikki KovalainenLotus-Renault1’30.8294.9753/67722
2021Jarno TrulliLotus-Renault1’30.9125.0583/48023
2125Jerome d’AmbrosioVirgin-Cosworth1’32.1066.2521/29136
2224Timo GlockVirgin-Cosworth1’32.1356.28110/109330

2011 Australian Grand Prix

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    Author information

    Keith Collantine
    Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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    113 comments on “Four drivers at risk of not qualifying in Australia”

    1. letmeshowyou (@)
      25th March 2011, 8:59

      ‘It looks as though Vettel may be able to complete the race distance on fewer than three pit stops.’

      *blinks* I really hope not…

      1. Don’t assume the championship is over simply because Vettel needs one less stop. He might be able to get away with two, but we have no idea what condition his final set of tyres will be in. It could well be that the others pit for a third set while Vettel is steadily losing grip and they catch him. Nor do we know which tyres Vettel will have in reserve. What if he can do two stops, but is forced to do an extended stint on softs because they’re the only set he has left?

        And conditions in Malaysia will be totally opposite to Melbourne: high heat, high humidity. The degradation will change.

        It’s only the end of FP2. There is still a lot to play for.

        1. Reports suggest that after Vettel’s stints his tyres were in a horrendous state. Horner was quick to downplay it, saying debris on the track caused it. We’ll wait and see.

          1. If he was still doing 1:31.7’s with tyres in a “horrendous” state, then the Red Bull must be hovering above the road.

            1. all this tells me is that Pirelli have already bottled it and gone for indestuctable tires just like bridgestone did

            2. all this tells me is that Pirelli have already bottled it and gone for indestuctable tires just like bridgestone did

              I was thinking the same thing. It would appear these are not the same tires the teams had in testing, hence their surprise.

    2. bleeps_and_tweaks
      25th March 2011, 9:06

      The Lotus looked “lively” to say the least, so it would make sense they couldn’t get the tyres working.
      That is some serious consistency from Vettel though, and don’t remember seeing a single stint in winter testing that had that little time differential. If it heats up on Sunday it could well be a two stopper.

    3. Well there go the “4 stops or more” frights it seems. Might be 2 or 3 stops depending on strategy, wear and circumstances for individual drivers.

      And the track will rubber in a bit more before the race.

      As for Virgin. What have they been up to in the last half a year? Sure, they probably redid the gearbox, improved the hydraulics and rechecked the numbers to be reliable. But it won’t help them much to be able to run to the end if your 4 laps off by the end of the race and even less if they do not even qualify.

      Glock saying they will have a big package only for Turkey … oh my.

      1. Souding like last year all over again, when they showed up with the wrong size fuel tank and had a brand new car in Barcelona.

    4. Looks like Sauber might be even quicker, as the time was set on the 6th lap. And also, Glock had an impressive stint – the lap time didn’t drop over ten laps, not sure what he was doing but it looks good. I think Glock and D’Ambrossio will make it to the race.

    5. I said this in the other post but now there’s a proper post for it I’ll put it here.

      For me the 107% rule is stupid. The money it costs to get everything to Australia and then the team doesnt race is stupid. F1 is supposed to be cutting costs so the teams should get I’m as much racing as they can for their money.

      1. Pink Pirelli
        25th March 2011, 9:27

        I agree. I’d rather see backmarkers out there going a bit slower than see the expense of getting all the equipment here wasted if the cars just sit in the garage.

      2. Agreed 107%. The is rule is designed to rob fans of seeing cars on the track. Combined with restricted testing, this rule ensured the death of teams at the rear of the pack.

        1. Exactly. If the teams aren’t racing, aren’t testing – How in the world can they improve their car?!

      3. +1. Also, what with the lack of testing, teams need all the track time they can get over a race weekend to develop their cars. If the small teams can’t qualify for the race then that’s less track time for them and that’s not going to help the gap decrease.

        1. I am with you all as well. It does not serve any purpose at all, except to smoke out backmarker teams and save Bernie some money in the end, that is besides getting the horse whisperer happy.

          1. It’s not good for the backmarkers and the fans… good for bernie only. :(

          2. No, the 107%-rule is cool. We have to get rid of all those uncompetitive cars as soon as possible. Nobody benefits of having four additional backmarkers. Teams like hrt are bad for the image of F1, as they are even too bad for GP2.

            1. Following that logic Williams, Lotus, Sauber, Force India, STR, and Renault (perhaps McLaren and Mercedes as well) should be removed from the sport as well, since they are uncompetitive as well and won’t fight for wins either unless something goes wrong at Ferrari/Red Bull.

              I hope you see the problem with your logic there yourself.

            2. There’s a world of difference between the teams you just mentioned, and HRT, Klon.

            3. There is also a world of difference between GP2 and the HRT, namely the GP2 car won’t touch it… So lay off with that one all right?

              107% Is nothing but an annoyance, and only goes to reduce my interest.

            4. The fact that no team during the last season would have qualified outside the 107% rule, shows just how lenient the rule is. Maybe if HRT made it to some pre season tests… or even tested today like every other team on the grid did, the they wouldn’t find themselves in this much trouble. HRT treats F1 as a joke, and the 107% rule is a good way to make sure the take the sport seriously enough.

            5. So if someone crashes a Ferrari in Monaco for instance, and doesnt make the time, maybe we should throw them out too. Oh no, there will be an exclusion for that ;-)

              F1 has always had backmarkers. Its part of the sport.

              Teams like McLaren and Williams struggled at at the beginning of their careers.

              It doesnt necessarily fit that a backmarker team would be the joke of F1 in two years time.

            6. Mike, no-one is comparing HRT and GP2 cars. The fact you need to do so to defend HRT’s performance signals how poor they appear to be. They’ve actually taken noticeable steps backwards since last year (when they would have made the 107%), which is worrying.

              Slower teams ought to be given some opportunity to test during the season, really.

            7. You will find Mr draw did compare them David.

              They haven’t so much as gone backwards, as the other teams have gone forwards.

              I can’t see how teams like Ferrari would allow the in season testing for slower teams.
              But if they did, I think it would be fantastic.

            8. Oh darn, he did compare them! :P

              I guess Ferrari wouldn’t like it if the backmarkers got more testing than them during the season, though they have wanted the testing ban lifted themselves.

      4. “F1 is supposed to be cutting costs so the teams should get I’m as much racing as they can for their money.”

        F1 is supposed to be the best teams and drivers competing for the top prize. its not cheap and the competition is great. a team that cannot be within 107% should not be there.

        the rule is not stupid. without having a minimum performance threshhold, people will be joining F1 for purely for participation reasons and not to be successful. we dont want that so we force the new toeams to improve or leave.

        i dont understand why people feel so sorry for the new teams.

        if Virgin are serious, then Richard Branson will keep the budget that they have for 2011 despite them not qualifying for to some races. it shouldnt mean the end for the team. it should be a long-term goal.

        the bottom line is a team has to earn their spot in f1. and the FIA selection process is so flawed that we do need a rule like 107% to maintain that.

        1. Ehm, why not allow them to race?

          First of all, the team has to convince the FIA to get a spot (or buy out an existing outfit). That means they do have some ideas and backing. If getting it right to win takes years and the team can cope with it and has backers, let them have a chance.
          It takes time but they will learn with time, but only if they are allowed to actually use the cars. Something that the 107% rule denies them. And they cant even go testing instead.

          As for the safety aspect of it. A good part of the original rule was about hopeless drivers. But the drivers have to get their superlicences together nowadays, one of the improvements over the all out hopeless pay drivers of old. This means even a Yamamoto and a Karthikeyan or a Senna have to be at least solid drivers who know how to turn a wheel, before they even get close to the GP weekend.

          1. we dont have any new teams this year.

            Lotus, Virgin and HRT had their first year without the 107% rule. so they were given a chance to race the full season regardless of their pace.

            in their second year they should be a little bit closer to the rest of the field. Team Lotus is an example. they shouldnt have a problem with the rule and fully deserve to be in F1.

            HRT has less running before the first race than last year. so they actually went backwards.

            I agree with you that teams should get a fair chance. and i think they got it. but you have to draw the line somewhere. you could argue that the rule should not be 107% but 129% but i still think there should be something like this in place.

            1. Every time is just arbitrary and nonsense. If a team tries something new (and they did) to improve, its their choice. And it shows they want to get forward as well.

              Had they saved the money to do so for lack of ambition and just adjusted the old car, they would have been ready months ago. Its not as if they had a big optimized DDD to remove and their weight was over limit anyhow.

              I like having them there. They might get new drivers a chance, or engineers or designers to try something new. Who knows in 6 years we will be all talking about Tonios race engineer (as an example) as a revelation who grew up from a humble HRT background to achieve.

        2. a team that cannot be within 107% should not be there.

          Why 107% and not 106%? Why not 105% or 104%?

          The rule is arbitrary nonsense. If a team doesn’t belong in F1 they’ll drop out anyway because they won’t be able to get the money together.

          But while they’re footing the enormous costs of competing in F1 it makes no sense to chuck them out on a Saturday afternoon for no good reason, depriving them of valuable testing time, exposure and income.

          There is no safety argument. This is F1 cutting its nose to spits its face.

          1. There is a safety-argument. The more cars on the track, the larger the chance of an accident. Please don’t forget that being 7 percent slower means you’ll be lapped every 14 laps. This may lead to unwanted situations like Webber’s crash in Valencia (although he was fighting for a position, but he was surprised by the huge speed-difference) and for example Alonso losing his second place to Button in Canada. So I would say that the “costs” of having these teams participating outweigh the “benefits”. Of course the rule is somewhat arbitrary, but in my opinion, it’s better than nothing.

            1. As I explained in the article I linked to above, the safety argument isn’t very convincing:

              The slowest qualifier for last year’s Le Mans 24 Hours was 29% slower than the pole sitter.

              The Circuit de la Sarthe is narrower than most F1 circuits and they race at night – so I’m not buying any claim that F1 drivers can’t cope with lapping cars that are 7% slower than them.

              Why F1 doesn’t need the 107% rule

            2. Makes you wonder, though, why Le Mans drivers don’t die like it’s Verdun 2.0. I mean you have cars there going at times of 125 % of the leading pace.

            3. If safety would be a concern, then what about testing and practice, where everyone is on track with different fuel loads and tyres. Testing new bits, possibly risky, and finding the absolute limit?

              Just nonsense or it should be against driving around on more used tyres in the race. Not to mention the differences we had with different fuel loads during races.

            4. I have seen races at the Nurburgring, where 3 Porsche GT3’s, a Viper and an M3 GTR were fighting for position, whilst overtaking an old Mini and an Opel Corsa (Vauxhaull Cavalier for the brits on here) on the longest straight of the northern loop.
              Those were top end differences of over 70 mph, if not more in the slipstream. And that at night, on the northern loop.

              This is a ridicolous rule. Lapping cars is part of a race. Especially when you’re not in a 20 lap sprint. The smoother a driver gets through traffic, the better.

              If a team manages to build a complete pub, and couldn’t even compete in F3 with it, yes… They shouldn’t race. But 107 % is – as Keith said – just a random, made up number, that serves no purpose other than giving those “slow” teams a chance to actually collect date to improve their cars.

          2. It’s 107% because it worked last time for avoiding mockeries of the system and reducing the risk of faster cars tripping over them (as opposed to merely lapping them) while still having space for a variety of abilities on the grid. Nothing more, nothing less.

            My preferred way of doing this would be to compare the F1 to GP2 (where it’s available). Any F1 car lapping slower than a GP2 car in qualifying without good reason would be asked to swap (the GP2 car would automatically score one point more than for a GP2 win to ensure it’s not disadvantaged in its championship). The GP2 team would get a taste of F1’s skill level at no extra cost, the F1 team would be in a place suited to its speed at that point (also at no extra cost) and grids stay full and competitive.

            1. GP2 Cars wouldn’t comply with F1’s technical regulations and an F1 car would have the same problem going to GP2.

              Very different engine and Aero regs for starters…

          3. It’s arbitrary – but this is F1, not the law. Nearly everything in F1 is arbitrary, from the dimensions to the weight and so on.

            Picking on one rule for that reason undermines your argument in a sport with a fast changing regulatory environment such as F1, plenty of things are arbitrary. If they don’t work as planned, they will be tweaked at an appropriate point.

        3. I completely agree. I cant believe that Bernie and the HRT sponsors put up with the fact that HRT have not even put a car on the track yet – that is ludicrous. The ‘pinnacle’ of motor sport – and it contains teams that can only put 1 car out for 1 installation lap in 3 hours of practise.
          I think the 107% rule is fair and should stay – either HRT treat F1 with respect or they can go home (and wait for customs to clear their stuff)…

          1. If HRT had unlimited opportunity to test and develop the car throughout the season then the rule is fair enough – they aren’t fast enough at the start then they make sure they bring it up to speed as soon as possible.

            As it is, what chance have they got to seriously improve the car? The other teams will be getting faster too, and the only lack of respect is from the regulators effectively condemning the team to never be able to qualify for a race.

            It does more harm to the sport’s image for people to see those making the rules actively hindering a strugling competitor to pander to the big teams.

            1. as i said before they had the whole season of 2010 where they did not have to worry about the 107% rule. they are no longer new teams.

              i agree that introducing the 107% rule for safety reasons does not make sense, but I still believe we should have a rule of this type. Not because of safety, but just to maintain the quality of the comeptition. how many years should we wait until Virgin and HRT match the slowest team of the grid? 3? 4? 10? (not even talking about winning races – which is the whole point of participating in the sport)

              i do not think that the grid in 2009 was too small. of course the more cars the better, but not at any cost.

            2. how many years should we wait until Virgin and HRT match the slowest team of the grid? 3? 4? 10?

              At the moment, as long as it takes. Consider that before last year’s three new teams (who came in in unusual circumstances) we had only had two proper new teams arrive in F1 in a decade – and neither of them are still here.

              Until it becomes economically viable for new teams to raise money and enter F1 and replace teams that are dropping out, hastening their demise with unnecessary rules like this is a dreadful idea.

              Furthermore I think the idea that the teams at the back of the grid are doing any real harm to F1 is vastly overstated.

            3. My argument is not to do with ‘new’ teams; it is that you cannot have a rule removing teams from races alongside rules which effectively prevent them from being able to raise funds through sponsorship (because the team gets no television coverage due to being unable to race), or test and develop their car, and are therefore unable to avoid contravening the former rule.

              It just makes the sport look like it hasn’t got a clue what it wants or how to achieve it.

              Either have the 107% rule and allow customer cars or in season testing, or remove the 107% rule. If these were options available to HRT then nobody should have any sympathy if they cannot qualify for a race.

            4. Exactly Rob.

              The point was for quite a lot of the off season, they were discussing with Toyota using an updated version of the unused toyota challenger. The finances were clearly not paid and they had to go back to the drawing board.

              So they have done exactly what lotus struggled to do in their Yr1, put a car together as quickly as possible.

          2. Have you any idea what is involved in putting together an F1 car, and team from scratch?

            This isnt buy chassis off the shelf racing.

            I’ve been watching F1 for about 25 years, and there have been worse backmarkers than HRT.

            I’d love to see their car be decent and make it into.

            1. the argument that the lack of testing is the reason for HRTs problems is ridiculous.

              they didnt even take advantage of pre-season testing! they didnt even run a single Km. so letting them test in-season is not the solution.

              their problem is a lack of money.

              they had an entire season to get sponsors and still have none.

              what else do they want?

            2. Quite – previous backmarkers have had cars that were unable to remain in one piece for an entire race, or were potentially lethal for the drivers. A read through is enough to see some relative horror stories.

              vjanik – ‘having a whole season to get sponsors’ is irrelevant; most teams change various sponsors year-on-year (the title sponsors and manufacturing partners are different), and if nobody is biting what are HRT supposed to do? Give space away for free?

              They did not take advantage of pre-season testing because they did not have a car to test! They have a car now – if you look closely at the end of FP2 you could even see it moving (although maybe Liuzzi had his feet through the bottom powering it Flinstones-style) – in time for the first race, which is what their contractual obligation was.

              Whatever your personal beef is with HRT, the 107% rule is not really related to it.

      5. You’re right. It’s a completely unnecessary rule and with limited testing it’s ridiculously unfair. If the team is not allowed to race, they should at least get one additional day of practice, so they can work on their problems.

        With current regulations Virgin and HRT might not only be at risk of not qualifying, but also at risk of dropping out of the sport.

      6. I’ll join the chorus of agreement.

        I don’t mind if they evaluate a team’s entry at season’s end, factoring in the 107% rule. But to rob them of what little money they can get when they can’t make the cut in modern F1 is just cruel.

        1. to be honest. how many accidents are there with backmarkers?? 1 freak one last year with webber and massa clipping his font wing on a hispania in spain. if bacmarkers really were unsafe then there would be many more accidents. think about it. the world best overtaking move wouldny have been so good without a backmarker

          1. Great point…

            Vettel managed to drive into Button at Spa, and there were other incidents of top drivers doing the same.

      7. If it was something like 110% this might be better… but I agree that there should be a limit.

      8. It’s also a huge deterrent to any future potential F1 teams. Would you invest the kind of money it takes to start a team from scratch, with no guarantee you’d even be allowed to race? I know I wouldn’t. Let’s not forget that all of last years new teams entered the sport without that rule on the books. Would they have invested in F1 had that rule been in place? Doubtful. In fact the 107% rule may have been a big reason that there haven’t been more new teams in the past two decades. The 107% rule was on the books from 1996-2002, and in that time there were only 3 new teams started from scratch, one was Lola who failed to qualify and quit after 1 non-race, one was Toyota who had Toyota money backing them, and the last was Stewart, who grew out of a successful Formula 3000 team. And even they had in season testing. Now you have no in season testing, and yet still expect teams to be on pace instantly. Absolutely ridiculous.

    6. ” Lotus were well off the midfield pace. Mike Gascoyne said on Twitter they were struggling to use the tyres well. ”

      Aggressive marketing BS is one thing, performance and realistic chances of achieving overambitious goals is another. I was talking about it for several months – Lotus WERE NOT able to catch up with midfield this year. Further through the season the gap will increase.

      1. Agree. i remember they were so bullish about the prospect of their battle against Williams in 2011, now look where are they now?!

        ps : eat that Tony “The good will always win” Fernandes

    7. Peter Sauber, ever the talent spotter, picked the faster and more deserving Latin American rookie :)

      1. Agree,first I thought it was a mistake having two very young driver but after seeing practice I think he have one of the deadly combination on the grid.

      2. plus money. perfect! :)

      3. Yeah, especially considering that the Williams appears to be a faster car than the Sauber. Look where Barrichello is, then look where Maldonado is…

    8. The longest stint comparison is nice! Although you don’t know exactly what’s going on in terms of fuel loads, DRS, KERS, tyres and such, it does provide some insight.

      That, and it’s a great toy!
      *Oh look at Kobayashi compared to Massa, he’s faster on only one lap less fuell*

    9. HRT was on track probably to search for the missing damper which was drop on the track from Spain using a missile.

    10. Formula 1 drivers will now be banned from using the moveable rear wing when track conditions are wet in practice and qualifying.

    11. This “stint lap” column is grate! love the new choices, makes for great reading and interpretation. Thanks Keith

    12. I don’t know why but I find humor in the fact that Virgin have forgone a wind tunnel and area really suffering because of it….

    13. James Williams
      25th March 2011, 11:58

      Four drivers that aren’t noticeable in the race anyway. Don’t need them!

    14. So the time to qualify not supposed be not slower than Jason Batton (1’25,854) then 6,00978 secundes.

      1. No Matt,
        That will be in the time set in Q1(first session of qualifying) and at that session the top teams rarely use the soft tyre. So the smaller teams can use theirs to try make up time.

    15. A question for the people that came here a couple years ago:
      Where there always people crying about how Minardi and Jordan didn’t deserver a spot in the sport because they had absolutely no chance of winning and were trailing the pack?

      I think people are spoiled because the racing is so close since 2009.

      1. No, they weren’t complaining about it. Largely because those teams had been around for some time. Jordan was, at one point, a championship contender, if only very breifly, and they had a real sense of humour (particularly in the time of the snake designs and their tobacco rebranding, such as renamed Benson & Hedges to Bitten & Hisses).

        Minardi, on the other hand, had been in the sport for over twenty years, and they had a lot of respect inside the paddock and out. It was just an established part of racing that they were there and they were usually last. They also developed a reputation as a finder of new talent; a lot of drivers got their start with Minardi, including Fisichella, Alonso, Davidson and Webber. Of course, they also had the likes of Yoong, Kiesa, Baumgartner and Mazzacane, but they were older than most of the other teams at the time and deserving of respect. They survived when they probably shouldn’t have. Giancarlo Minardi was a man who truly did love the sport and happily threw millions of dollars at it every year, even if the team only scored 38 points in over two decades of racing.

        1. Good point PM.

          Those teams got their respectability after some time in the sport and thats my point.

          I think those expecting HRT or Lotus or Virgin to come into F1, with no real infrastructure and suddenly get within 2-3 seconds of the leaders are living in cloud cuckoo land.

      2. The only year Jordan would have struggled with the 107% rule was in 2005 when they were known to be in an unusual amount of short-term turmoil. Even then it was only Monaco that the percentage was outright exceeded (by a whopping 3 percentage points, as it happened – disqualifying them from that race would probably have been an act of mercy, and I was supporting them…)

        Minardi struggled with it more often, but even they tended to break it occasionally rather than frequently (at least since 1996 – gaps were usually larger before the original 107% regulation came into force).

        The indications are that Virgin, at least, will be struggling to meet the requirements for at least six races, and quite likely all season. At this point I’m not sure any percentage would save Hispania from itself.

    16. Okay, let’s try this again:

      Without naming names or assuming anyone is any more capable of doing something than anyone else, let’s consider this for a moment:

      Is it conceivable that a team would use soft tyres in Q1 to set a fast lap time and deliberately eliminate backmarkers from the race under the 107% rule in the name of thinning out the field and making it less likely that they will encounter a slow car?

      1. No because I can’t see why any team would be more worried about backmarkers than any of their immediate rivals.

        1. Well, I’m just thinking – Alonso got held up by a Hispania at the Canadian Grand Prix last year. It was only briefly, and after finding a decent replay of it, it looks like Alonso went right to slip around the car, but the Hispania (I think it was Chandhok) also went right to give Alonso the racing line. It only lasted a second, but it was enough for Button to pounce. And while it was hardly an intentional block by the Hispania, it triggered one of the Horse Whisperer’s angry rants, demanding that the new teams be kicked out of the sport. Arguably, it was one of a few little moments that could have given Alonso a third championship had it played out differently.

          So I’m wondering: if it comes down to a race like Abu Dhabi and there is a championship on the line … could a team burn a pair of soft tyres on a driver who is not in the championship quest for the sake of setting a Q1 time that will thin out the field and reduce the chances of the championship contender being held up?

          1. The teams might think that it could equally work in their favour. If it happened to Alonso last year it could happen to Hamilton this year.

      2. While technically possible, I cannot for the life see why anyone would want to do that.

        It would mean ruining a set of tyres for one of their cars, possibly boht, as it might force other front runners to do a lap on softs as well for the sole benefit of not having to pass backmarkers under blue flags.

        The benefit is just so much less than what you give up for it.

      3. I can see teams deliberately using soft tyres, but only if they were worried about their own ability to make Q2, not to disqualify other people. If we end up with a very close pack among the established teams, this effect could cause an unexpectedly large number of DNQs. However, the pattern of performance so far suggests to me that the likes of Red Bull and Ferrari might prefer to do a time on hard tyres, perhaps “curing” a soft set on their banker lap to enable it to go further in the race. Therefore the Q1 target time probably won’t be the fastest the F1 grid can muster.

        1. Of course, this assumes Hispania meets the stewards halfway and gets both of its cars to complete one or more timed laps.

      4. But why wouldn’t the slower teams use the soft tyre?

    17. I have no problem with the 107% rule. Not F1’s fault if a team can’t even turn up for any test session and not even complete a lap in FP1 and FP2. They are a joke, and I hope they don’t qualify. The slot should be given to a team like Pro Drive who I’m sure would approach F1 with a better attitude.

      1. No, no and no. Prodrive had their shot and failed to even show up. HRT, merely by managing to sustain an F1 effort for at least a whole year, is leagues better than Prodrive ever was.

        1. In recent times they didn’t even get past the bidding process because they didn’t want to use Cossie engines. That’s the reason they didn’t get in, it didn’t fit with whatever deal Bernie had done with Cossie.

          1. I think it’s Prodrive who need to adopt a better attitude not HRT. Provide got themselves an entry into the 2008 grid and they failed to show up then. If Prodrive can’t even show up, then I can’t see them doing any better than HRT.

          2. prodrive got there chance they were so reluctant to design there own car and wanted to use mclaren customer car which is against regulations ,trying to use customer car from fellow competitor showed how much they were interested in formula 1. you can’t have instant success in f1 which prodrive where trying to do .In that respect are trying no matter how pathetic they look they are better than prodrive in that respect

      2. I completely agree with AA.

    18. i think that if Virgin or HRT do not make it tomorrow, they will be given an exception and race anyway.

      1. I think so too – Melbourne stewards tended to be generous compared to their counterparts elsewhere in the original running of the 107% regulation. The only times they DNQd anyone were the Fortis of 1996 and the hopeless Lolas the following year. The former struggled to qualify for any other race and the latter went bust before the next race.

        Apart from that, they’ve let everyone in regardless of time, probably because they know they’re the first race and that everyone’s particularly keen to see a full grid when it’s the first race. Later, when people have got fed up of underperformance and/or incompetence, then other stewarding committees pounce as they see fit.

    19. Very interesting – Perez grabbed the headline time for Sauber but compare his times to Kobayashi’s. Perez is all over the place while Kobayashi is very very consistent.

      Top 10 every race I hope. What an exciting driver pairing.

      1. I think so too. They should be a great pairing for Sauber.

    20. The 107% rule is stupid for many reasons.
      One: There are not too many teams battling for race track real estate.

      Two: Why not have it for both qualifying and the race. Quite often we see cars with broken exhausts and other bits nursing thier way to the finish, more often than not they are outside the 107% rule, despite even taking into consideration that the faster cars have even turned down their engines.

      Three: The introduction of less durable tyres will create instances where the performance differencial between cars of the same ability, is greater than the performance differencial between the fastest teams and the slowest, thus introducing the same safety issues that forced the intrduction of the 107% rule.

      What one wouldhave xpected of the FIA, was the gradual introduction in steps of minimum performance levels for new teams. Lest we forget, these new teams are starting from scratch. Even with experienced technical hands, it is a very overwhelming scenario aiming for a constantly shifting target coupled with arbitrary rules or regulations.

      1. The race has a 111.1% rule – anyone who hasn’t completed more than 90% of the race is unclassified.

        1. Well, then we should make that a limit. I mean, 111 % are easily achieveable for any F1 attempt that can be taken seriously. Virgin at this moment would beat 111 % by three seconds.

        2. I agree with all of this

        3. 111.1% seams to be a much more justifiable % as it expects you to be able to complete the race. Also with the new tires having the possibility to drop off like we saw in Barcelona there is a situation where a back-maker’s glory lap in the closing seconds of Q3 could be spoiled. So now we have a situation similar to when qualification tires existed where drivers wouldn’t back off even when it was dangerous for fear of losing the lap.

    21. Do you have a list of the differences between DRS/non-DRS in terms of straightline speed for all the cars Keith?

    22. No worries.HRT will do wonders with their DRS which is totally different from every other team.Driver Rotation System that is.

    23. Can’t that 107% rule just go to hell? I see the point of it. If what you want is to kill the new teams. It is not like they are going to try even harder to get better just because they risk not making it to the race. They are going at full steam all ready, why not give them some time and let them get up to speed. Instead of killing them off like this. If they don’t want them, why invite them to come and play in the first place?
      What difference is it going to make anyway? 24 cars or 23, 22.. What effect will it have? I just don’t see how it is there to do anything but harm the new teams.

    24. How is the 107% rule calculated? My math skills are not the best!! :D I’m completely agaisnt the rule as well!! Lets take HRT. Those guys were up all night Thursday night trying to get the cars ready and to see them fail to qualify would be an insult to them. Some of the staff of the smaller teams are the hardest working people in the paddock!!

      1. Multiply the fastest time in Q1 by 1.07.

      2. “Those guys were up all night Thursday night trying to get the cars ready and to see them fail to qualify would be an insult to them.” Maybe if they’d been at some of the tests this wouldn’t have happened. I’d put £50 on HRT not being here at the end of the season.

        1. There’s probably not to many that would bet against that.

    25. Didnt see this posted elsewhere yet – from the pics it looks a lot like HRT are running their front nose assembly from 2010. If they’re running old kit, due to lack of funds or whatever, then they deffo are not going to qualify!

    26. But first convert the time to seconds so your mind doesn’t grind to a halt.

    27. I can’t see any one falling foul of this rule tomorrow. That’s not to say there won’t be anyone 107% behind…

    28. With all the yearly stupid rule changes, F1 is not sport. It is a playground for the rich. When viewing figures fall to zero as people get fed up, then and only then will F1 recover. Yes the die hard fans will remain but you won’t get new people to watch nonsense. F1 is pro-wrestling on wheels. They’ll do anything for the show. ‘Bring on the sprinklers Bernie!’

    29. I got a feeling that Sergio Perez isn’t that bad as I thought, it would be great to see him beat Petrov or Maldonado. Even though practice times don’t tell that much. Go Sauber!

    30. US Williams Fan
      25th March 2011, 23:41

      ruins my chances in the predictions! wish i read this before i made my choices….. there goes 4 of my top 5… including pole position! :)

    31. Aparently if a team gets the permission of all the other teams then they can race if they have qualified outside the 107% but looking at the HRT car it actually looks like a safety hazard at the minute. As much as I’d love to see them compete they simply don’t have the milege on the cars to be able to drive them confidently.

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