Could a new rule stop another Monaco qualifying row?

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The Monaco Grand Prix qualifying session is one of the most important of the year – and 12 months ago it was the scene of one of last season’s biggest controversies.

Lewis Hamilton was not amused when he was forced to abort his final flying lap ater team mate Nico Rosberg went off the track in front of him, bringing out the yellow flags. This was suspiciously convenient for Rosberg, as he had the fastest lap at the time and did not look likely to improve on his final run.

Rosberg kept his pole position following a stewards investigation, which ruled they “no evidence of any offence” could be found. But should F1’s rules go further to prevent drivers benefiting from their mistakes – whether accidental or intentional – in this way?

IndyCar uses a similar knockout qualifying session to F1 on the road and street courses which form the majority of its calendar. Its rules can be used to stop drivers from gaining an advantage in qualifying if they indirectly compromise another driver – regardless of whether they are deemed to have done so intentionally:

8.3.5 If a car causes a red condition [flag] in any segment or otherwise interferes with qualifications as determined by IndyCar, the car’s best two timed laps of the segment shall be disallowed.

8.3.6 If a car causes two red conditions in one or more segments or otherwise interferes with qualifications as determined by IndyCar, all segment times shall be voided, and the car shall not be permitted to participate in the remainder of qualifying.

8.3.7 If a car interferes with the qualifications attempt of another car, as determined by IndyCar: If the violation occurs during segment one or segment two, the car’s best two timed laps during that segment shall be disallowed, and the car shall not advance to the next segment. If the violation occurs during segment three, all segment three times shall be voided and the car shall not be permitted to participate in the reminder of qualifying.

IndyCar’s rules mean a driver in Rosberg’s situation last year would have no incentive to go off the track intentionally in an effort to disrupt his team mate: They would know that to do so would lead to them losing their best lap times or even being sent to the back of the grid.

Should F1 consider having a similar rule?


The narrow confines of Monaco – as well as new circuits like Singapore and, next year, Baku – present an invitation for drivers to manipulate things. There have been similar examples in the past – Michael Schumacher parking at Rascasse in 2006 and Nelson Piquet Jnr crashing to bring out the Safety Car for Fernando Alonso two years later.

It would only take a small addition to the rule book to take away this incentive and remove a potential point of controversy.


The Formula One rule book is tortuously complicated as it is. It does not need a further addition designed to prevent a scenario which does not occur very often anyway.

It would also be unfair to penalise a driver who made an honest mistake by removing their lap times. Having the threat of a penalty for making is mistake would lead drivers to take fewer risks in qualifying, making for less compelling on-track action.

I say

F1 already penalises drivers for directly impeding rivals during qualifying, whether or not they do so intentionally. The question here is whether a similar rule should also be applied to drivers who delay their rivals indirectly.

In 2006 and 2014 at Monaco the stewards had to rule on whether or not the driver in question made a genuine mistake or deliberately tried to engineer a yellow flag situation. This is a difficult call to make even with all the video angles and telemetry available today.

In some circumstances the current rules clearly give drivers an inducement to try the kind of stunt Schumacher was found guilty of in 2006, and which some believe Rosberg got away with last year. Adopting a version of IndyCar’s rule would fix that.

Yes, it would be hard on a driver who made a mistake to pay for it by losing one of their quickest lap times. But I don’t have a problem with that. This is supposed to be the pinnacle of motor racing; it’s not meant to be easy.

You say

Should F1 try to stop drivers from benefiting from causing a yellow flag during qualifying? Cast your vote below and have your say in the comments.

Should F1 introduce a rule to prevent drivers gaining an advantage from indirectly spoiling a rival's qualifying lap?

  • No opinion (3%)
  • Strongly disagree (21%)
  • Slightly disagree (14%)
  • Neither agree nor disagree (7%)
  • Slightly agree (25%)
  • Strongly agree (31%)

Total Voters: 398

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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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127 comments on “Could a new rule stop another Monaco qualifying row?”

  1. I suspect I’m in a minority, but I was always a fan of the single-lap solo qualifying. It was the one chance in the weekend to see *every* driver going flat-out, and seeing how both they and their car were performing. (Plus it prevented any of these shenanigans by its nature.)

    It did have the down side that the drivers potentially got different conditions for their qualifying lap (especially a problem in wet weather), but I thought that was an acceptable risk of the format.

    1. I have not experienced that format, but it sounds good. Although the different conditions are a real downside of that.

      1. @verstappengp @squaregoldfish So they should just do single-lap qualis in rFactor! :P

        1. i have experienced that, so boring!

    2. I generally agree, but in the current state, what would they show while the marussia’s were doing their laps…?

      1. We actually saw one in FP2! Suppose the fact that it had caused a red flag left them with no choice!!

    3. It’d be a wise decision to bring back this format. You can decide which driver goes first and who goes last (when track is the most rubbered) based on Friday practice lap times. This would spice up Fridays and prevent situation which occurred yesterday – drivers sitting in their garages during FP2. And as you say, we could get analysing every driver’s ultimate lap, which we can’d do that now.

    4. I didn’t see this format when it was in F1 but I absolutely LOVE Top Ten Shootouts in V8 Supercars. I think it would be good if F1 made the third period to be this format – a similar “top 10 shootout” type thing.

      1. i am in belief that Rosberg did not intentionally do what he did last year, it just does not make sence to do so when looking at it objectively, and i dont think Rosberg was stupid(or smart) enough to do it in, and to do it in such a neat way. it only looked suspicious on 2nd or 3rd viewing after hearing cries of conspiracy. hamilton wasnt fast enough anyway last year (like every year with him at monaco), so it made no difference – hamilton is no Ayrton Senna around Monaco. he wont beat rosberg by 1.5 seconds like Senna beat Prost.

    5. @squaregoldfish I loved that too. You always saw the pole position lap, something which the broadcast is very good at missing.

      And you could see EVERYONE, every car. It put great emphasis on qualifying, you could see the mistakes and the lines at every corner. It was great.

      It had its problems, notably the changing conditions during the session. But I really enjoyed that format.

    6. Peter Pegasus
      22nd May 2015, 14:30

      Rose-tinted glasses.
      Qualifying as is is the most thrilling version they have ever had.
      The mode you describe was very boring. The drivers pretty much have the same lines anyway, and even if they didn’t – you could hardly spot the differences,because each lap was about 90 seconds apart.

      1. totally agree, rose tinted specs etc

      2. Another agreement here. Single-file qualifying was awful. The 3-session format now is by far the best they’ve ever used.

    7. petebaldwin (@)
      22nd May 2015, 15:38

      It’s exciting in the same way penalties are in football but I wouldn’t want qualifying to be decided by this every week – it’s too random what conditions you’ll get.

    8. Mustavo Gaia
      22nd May 2015, 17:53

      I’ve seen the qualifying for the Allstar race in Nascar.
      I liked the pitstop part of it. In short, the qualifying time is the sum of opening a lap, doing a pitstop (4 tires mandatory), and closing another lap – going solo.
      I think F1 should try some of that. In some places, TV is not even showing Q1.
      Given how pre/pos pitstop time have become important in races, this set should reflect better the best team/driver combination.
      Friday, we could have a pre’qualifying, to determine the outing order on saturday. On saturday, we could have the final qualifying in some variation of the the special Nascar system.
      For saturday, I would prefer a 3-solo laps system, in which the driver completes a lap, makes a pitstop on the next, and completes another one. The qualifying is determine by the total time of the 3 laps.
      Apart from longer circuits like SPA, this would take 5 minutes for driver. The whole qualifying would take 90 minutes.

      1. Perhaps they should also have the drivers judged in their swimsuit and give a speech about how they wish to save the world, judged of course by a celebrity panel.

        1. “I just want to see all God’s little creatures get along. And everyone should love everyone else…and that’s what we’ll do when I’m elected poll winner for Ms Monaco 2015!”

    9. knoxploration
      22nd May 2015, 19:08

      That format was dull as dishwasher and near-universally despised at the time by fans. Please god don’t bring it back!

    10. Ala BTCC 1998 qualy format ;) dream days…

    11. I had wondered about a qualifying format like that too, with the order related to the previous race’s results, e.g. First place goes last, second places goes second to last, etc, or first place goes first, second place goes second, etc. I had thought of a shorter distance, e.g. just the first sector of the race track, or the first kilometre of the race track, or from the start line and around the first two corners, etc.
      The reason for this format is there is a complete difference in starting performance compared to racing performance, so you get this huge muddle of cars racing around the first corner, with slower accelerating cars trying to keep to “the racing line” while faster accelerating cars are trying to not have their race compromised.
      By putting cars in an order based on how they accelerate from a standing start, then the order of cars after “lights out” should remain roughly the same through to the end of the first sector / lap / round the first few corners, etc, after which the racing performance will come into play. This won’t stop the fastest cars from winning the race, all it does is make it more obvious that their place in front is based on performance, not on “chance”.
      One disadvantage I do see is there must be quite a lot of stress on various components inside the car at “lights out”, so having to do it twice could lead to some problems.

    12. Well, but what happens if it starts to rain? wich teams should start first their qualy? the actual system is more equal: everyone has the same chances to get the track in the same condition, or almost the same.

    13. F1 had that for awhile and I found it to be extremely boring.

    14. You say “I suspect I’m in a minority” — wrong! Qualifying is one driver, one car, one lap, one time. I can remember the days when you could use a totally different engine for qualifying — sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn’t. Schumacher got caught in 2006 under basic sportsmanship rules. Fair enough, although that was a “first”, and now anyone else caught the same way might not be too happy. F1 is now a highly regulated spectacle and for goodness sake we don’t need more “rules” to spice up the controversies, we need less rules to get back to racing.

  2. I seriously believe this is an overblown issue.

    The fact is, if drivers do cause an obstruction deliberately or through carelessness, they will get caught and punished accordingly (Schumacher 2006).

    Yes, in theory, Hamilton could have taken pole after Rosberg’s Mirabaeu off last year, but he also had 12 minutes – the same as any other driver – in which to set a pole time during that final qualifying session.

    We all know that the final minutes tend to be when the circuit is at its fastest, but the nature of Monaco means you can never, ever be sure that you’ll be able to get a clean lap in in those manic last minutes.

    The other factor is that while Monaco is the most important pole of the season, points are awarded for the race, not qualifying. Yes, overtaking is hard at Monaco, but with so many people calling on the ‘best drivers in the world’ to have to work harder to be able to overtake in the first place, surely we would all prefer a driver who feels he was denied a pole position like Hamilton last year take that position by force during the race…

    1. Also some good points @willwood.

    2. @willwood Maybe, just or Monaco they should just lengthen every Q sessins with 10 minutes. Only a heavy crash (which won’t be on purpose, ever I guess) would really interfere then.

      1. @xtwl Lengthening the session won’t do anything since the teams are trying to get out at last moment possible to get the best track evolution. Even if they made Q3 session 20 minutes or 1 hour, the top drivers will still get out at the last 2 minutes before the session ends (assuming no unusual weather or track temperature in play)

    3. All this because ‘blue eyed boy’ Lewis feels he was cheated during last year’s qualification.

      If we bring such rules, it would disrespect the position of the stewards.

      As in Football, the referee’s words are final. The stewards had time to look at the data and concluded that it was not intentional.

      Let’s move on please.

      1. All this because ‘blue eyed boy’ Lewis feels he was ……..

        This already disqualifies your response, as being biased.

        Stick to the point in discussion, and not on any one individual.

        Just saying!

        1. This has happened in the 2006 season and the person guilty was punished. Nothing further was done about it and Monaco kept happening like it always has.

          Why the sudden change of mind then when the suspect was found to be innocent last year? It reeks of bias towards Hamilton, if I may, to see a wrong when there was none.

          If stewards decision was final in Schumacher’s case, why is it not in Rosberg’s? Or is it only when it suits certain set of people?

          1. Yeah, it pretty much sounds like that. Lewis was really quick in crying foul last year, leading a lot of people to believe he had reason to do so, when in reality Rosberg’s slip-out was almost as convenient for him (in a twisted way), as he had been off the pace in his first attempt, and continued to be off the pace in his second attempt up to the yellow flags. So, if he wasn’t going to beat Rosberg on the track, at least he had a Chance to capitalize on the incident in the media.

            I think the rules are sufficient.

    4. The fact is, if drivers do cause an obstruction deliberately or through carelessness, they will get caught and punished accordingly (Schumacher 2006).

      … Except that while we don’t know if Rosberg did it on purpose, it was certainly convenient, and it shouldn’t have been.

      Yes, overtaking is hard at Monaco, but with so many people calling on the ‘best drivers in the world’ to have to work harder to be able to overtake in the first place, surely we would all prefer a driver who feels he was denied a pole position like Hamilton last year take that position by force during the race…

      … Except the only overtaking that happens in Monaco are strategy overtakes, which are much more down to the team than the driver, or when there is a massive difference between car speeds.

      Should it be like that? No, but wishful thinking wont change that.

      There is absolutely no reason to not have a rule like this. It’s actually one of the few rule changes that won’t really complicate things in most cases, but still make things much more fair.

    5. @willwood I don’t think this is overblown issue. The benefit for tracks like Monaco is very real and Rosberg whether is deliberate or not, is showing how to do it and escape with pure benefit for him. Imagine if this kind of “accident” starts happening frequently, you wont be able to tell who really deliberate or just genuinely pushing it too far anymore. Also the worst condition is when it become the “I do it because if I don’t someone else will and he get that benefit instead of me” and “yes, it is cheating, but everyone does/will do it too” situation.

    6. The fact is, if drivers do cause an obstruction deliberately or through carelessness, they will get caught and punished accordingly

      Piquet/Renault and Singapore 2008 springs to mind immediately. No initial repercussions and even after they were found guilty they kept their victory and got fined a total of £0.

      Also, everyone forgets it was the second time in three Q3’s that Rosberg brought out the yellow flag at the end of quali. In the wet Q3 in China, he spun chasing Lewis’ pole time and in the process impeded Riccairdo’s final lap. If there are no repercussions, the rule will be ruthlessly exploited.

      ‘best drivers in the world’

      Logically, the best drivers in the world should be held to the highest standards in the world, no? Rather than “Yeah, it was a bit dodgy but let them sort it out on track”.

      1. @kodongo So why isn’t Flavio in the grid then? He and Symonds were punished as they were the masterminds of that project.

        There are going to be these mistakes/accidents caused by other drivers in any qualifying as they are pushing the limits of the car. On any track where it offers an advantage when running late, this could spell trouble for the late runners.

        It is a risk that the drivers take in order to gain more speed from the track. Most times it does work out and sometimes it doesn’t. That’s a calculated gamble that one takes and they should understand the risks involved.

        Rosberg was cleared of any wrongdoing with the available evidence on that date. If something resurfaces, action might be taken accordingly as was the case with Flavio/Symonds.

        1. i do wonder how people forget Ted Kravitz talked with people in every paddock after Rosberg’s maneuver. Kravitz reported that, to a person, everyone he spoke with said Rosberg knew what he was doing.

          Additionally, Grosjean broke too late at Mirabeau during P1 Thursday and never came close to entering the run off. A fact duly commented on, even by Johnny Herbert.

          Then again, it’s well apparent that facts and the perceptions of people who would know best never get in the way of detractors.

          1. I ‘knew’ that Rosberg didn’t do it intentionally. Does it matter?

            If you have facts pointing out Rosberg was in the wrong, give it to FIA. Else its a waste of time talking about it.

            The Stewards have worked with the data available to them and concluded it was not an intentional stunt. I believe them more than anyone Ted Kravitz of Sky Sports operating from Britain says they told him.

      2. If there are no repercussions, the rule will be ruthlessly exploited.

        There are already repercussions for drivers deemed to have impeded others in qualifying. The rule is not currently “ruthlessly exploited”, which is why there is only one dubious example to cite in favor of a rule change.

        1. How do you know “there is only one dubious example” ,there may only be one obviously dubious example but we don’t know how many less obvious examples there may have been, and not necessarily all of them involving pole position or team-mates ?

    7. Agreed. The proposed rule change is silly. It could lead to the driver who sets the fastest lap early in Q3 retiring in the pits rather than risking being dropped to P10 or even to the pit lane if he happens to inadvertently go off track or somehow cause a yellow flag.

    8. petebaldwin (@)
      22nd May 2015, 15:39

      @willwood – I agree – it’s one of the things that makes Monaco a bit different and adds another challenge because it’s likely you won’t have a clean lap every time. You have to get your laps in early rather than running to strictly to an optimum programme.

      1. I slightly disagreed to a rule for similar reasons to @willwood and would add, I’m not sure I want to see that connotation of guilt that comes with a penalty for doing something unintentional. And yes F1 is hard, or, can be cruel, being what it is, so put in a banker, especially at Monaco.

        I think it is possible that the most NR was guilty of was overcooking it knowing he had a solid banker in play. Supporting that, he was not found to have done anything suspicious in the stewards eyes or they would have instigated an already available penalty on him. For the sake of the racing, I think I’d prefer drivers encouraged to reach further, rather than fear going to the back of the pack and going in the books as being guilty of something at the same time, and thus holding back. No more holding back. We have enough of that.

        1. I think it is possible that the most NR was guilty of was overcooking it knowing he had a solid banker in play.

          That is almost as bad as doing it on purpose. “Oh, no risk to me, I can be reckless now, it might even help me”.

          1. Not ‘I can be wreckless’ but rather ‘I can just go for it’. He was never going to want to crash his car. Going for it knowing that a little lockup and the loss of a few tenths would matter less due to him having already earned a strong position with a banker lap.

  3. Slightly agree. In Hamilton’s case last year I’d have been absolutely fuming, so why not prevent that? I do see the opposite argument, but drivers are penalised for colliding with other drivers so why not penalise them for stopping them like that?

    1. yes, I think its stupid to have the automatic penalty in those cases (colliding) too. Every situation should be judged on its own merits IMO @strontium.

    2. petebaldwin (@)
      22nd May 2015, 15:44

      @strontium – This would just be yet another example of F1 making knee-jerk reactions following one example of a highly unusual event….

      This rule might work in a positive way once or twice every decade. How many times would it punish someone who has already got their lap in early and then had a mechanical issue and stopped on the side of the track?

      1. @petebaldwin Very true, but drivers get punished for mechanical issues regularly. 5 places for a gearbox, 20 places for some power unit components, etc. so this is not vastly different.

  4. I voted no opinion.

    On the one hand I can see and understand both that there is an incentive as well as opportunity to cheat, but on the other hand I thoroughly dislike automatic penalties for things like this. I firmly believe in a system were a judge / panel of judges/stewards look at each case and decide based on the evidence before them, the specifics of the situation and surely also the previous behaviour of the driver.
    I just don’t think its as frequent a thing, nor as big an incentive to commit the offence. Schumacher gained nothing from doing it, arguably Rosberg (regardless of doing this on purpose or not) only lost fans and probably support/goodwill within his team, which after Spa clearly hurt him in his battle with Hamilton.

    I know that F1 stewards have a far from good reputation to decide the right thing, but giving automatic penalties is not being fair. Its just making things “easy”. Its exactly why good judges also are against being tied down to following penalty tables.
    It would feel like the guy who got a penalty for giving his bike to another rider from a different team “because those are the rules” after the cyclists themselves were first hailed for “gentlemanly behaviour” all over the media.

    Thinking about it, I should probably have voted “strongly disagree”

    1. @bascb, those are good arguments, and I feel somewhat the same. Still, from what actually happened last year, it was very convenient for Rosberg (sure Schumacher got cought because it was so blatant, but ROS did gain from it by winning the race, and by unsettling HAM due to it, initially).

      But, imagine Q3 in Austria last year. Would HAM get penalty? He didn’t set a time. Imagine he had been able to set a time afterwards – a superb last ditch pole, for example, would it have been good to see him put back to 9th? I am not so sure. This risks making mistakes even worse than they already are.

      I voted slightly against, as i don’t really want more rules, and I see only very occasional need or effect for this one, so it is just not worth it, in my opinion.

    2. @bascb

      I agree with you. I’d add as well that having an automatic penalty for causing flags whcih disadvantage another driver would, firstly, discourage drivers from pushing to the absolute limit in case they make a genuine error and get penalised for it. Secondly, it’d result in just about every session being followed by teams running to the stewards to claim that their driver was disadvantaged, even more so than they do already. The last thing we want is for the excellent, exciting qualifying sessions we enjoy now, to be ruined by swathes of penalties.

    3. That’s easy: Strip the times,_unless_ there is good evidence that it was no fault of the driver, or had no consequences for anyone else.

      (and I might as well take this now: this is not guilty until proven innocent, first of all it is not a court of law, second it is not about being guilty, it is about not screwing things up for others)

    4. Au contraire, Rosberg gained a fan in me! Sublime move. His smirk during the interview? Priceless! Doing whatever it takes to win, that’s what sport it about, including a well manufactured ‘dive’ and getting away with it (like in football). Hamilton knew exactly what happened, but it’s all in the game, also politically: to call Nico out on it without solid proof would ruin his own reputation. He mentioned that he just should have set the pole lap earlier (to prevent Nico from pulling this off). These controversies spice things up and I wouldn’t want to miss them.

  5. mattshaw85 (@)
    22nd May 2015, 11:57

    More rules = a bad thing for me.

    Also how many times does this actually happen?

    I don’t believe it’s fair to remove lap times of someone for causing a yellow by accident, and when it’s not an accident the driver will be punished (Schumacher). In the case of Rosberg last year it seemingly wasn’t a clear cut case, and couldn’t be proven.

    The best thing they could if this really is an issue is add time to the session if a yellow is thrown.

    1. petebaldwin (@)
      22nd May 2015, 15:52

      @mattshaw85 – That’s a better solution – any cars who pass through a yellow flag and then continue to pass the chequered flag on that lap are allowed to complete an additional lap. Therefore there is no benefit to cars who aren’t held up, it ensures that where there’s a yellow, cars lift sufficiently as they will get an additional lap anyway.

      1. @mattshaw85 @petebaldwin – I’m against adding this rule but the option you describe doesn’t really level things out. The drivers who have to lift for another lap may have already taken the best life out of the tires and may have exhausted too much of their ERS charge for another lap.

        I say leave it as is. Cheaters will be caught if it can be proven or not if the evidence is not there. Zero tolerance policies are rarely beneficial and can easily harm those with no malicious intent. The risks of qualifying last are well known (rain, crashes, red/yellow flags) and are part of the strategy.

        And separately, in response to comments above about how great single lap qualifying is/would be.. No. It was dumb. Not only was that the epitome of different conditions and uneven circumstances, but it was similar to a zero tolerance policy in that any mistake ruined your lap and you had no chance to change tires and try again.

        1. petebaldwin (@)
          22nd May 2015, 18:31

          @hobo – personally, I’d also leave it as it is but I’d much prefer any drivers who lose out to be given a chance over drivers being heavily punished with laps cancelled for simple mistakes or mechanical issues.

          1. @petebaldwin – I can agree with that. I’d just rather see neither.

  6. Imagine applying the rules above at a wet Spa or Suzuka qualifying session… there may be more drivers without a counting lap than drivers filtered out in a Q1 or Q2.

  7. why not just stop the clock when the yellows come out, and then add 2 minutes to the clock when the track is safe again. That way everyone will be able to get another lap in.

    1. Possibly, although the best of their tyres will have potentially have been used so some loss is still incurred.

      1. @squaregoldfish but no doubt this loss is nowhere near as bad as having what we got last year.

        I really like this idea!

    2. That is a very logical solution. So logically, FIA will never implement it :)

    3. petebaldwin (@)
      22nd May 2015, 15:55

      As I said somewhere above – I think this is the best solution with a few tweaks. I’d simply say anyone who passes a yellow and the chequered flag on the same lap can continue to complete one additional lap. Simply adding time would allow cars who hadn’t been held up to get another lap in.

      Obviously this still isn’t 100% fair when you consider the potential of a drying track etc but I suppose in normal situations, you’d be on 1 lap older tyres so it would balance out….

      1. Jean-Christophe
        22nd May 2015, 23:03

        Is it that fair ? Say a driver realises that he’s late on the time needed to get pole, through Q1 or Q3 and decides to cause a yellow then betters the target time on the following run ? Who loses out ?

  8. Fikri Harish (@)
    22nd May 2015, 12:17

    We definitely don’t need another overblown knee-jerk reaction to an isolated incident.

    The stewards ruled it was not intentional and I’d rather give Rosberg the benefit of the doubt than go all cynic on him.

  9. This is the best quali format F1 has had. The 12 laps quali meant no cars on track for 40 minutes, the single lap meant you paid loads to go and watch it then see a warm up lap fast lap and cool down lap for each car meaning you have 5 minutes in a whole day to watch each car, not great value for money.

    Quali is not broken and should not be altered except for forcing the top 10 to start on tyres they did fastest q2 time on. Why should someine get a strategic advantage by being just to slow for top 10 and starting 11th?

    The times drivers pulled a Schumacher stunt can be counted on one hand why alter one of the few things F1 got right in recent times to attempt to make quali watertight against a minority incident?

    Last year the evidence was circumstantial and unproven unlike Schumacher. Despite an in depth investigation finding nothing wrong we have people looking to fiddle with things aiming for an impossible perfection be ause they made their minds up about the incident. There was a red flag late in GP2 quali yesterday which cist some drivers it happens but nothing said about that. Penalties for honest mistakes will result in drivers holding back for fear of a mistake especially at Monaco. Someone lower down may risk throwing caution to the wind and get higher up the grid than their skill would normally allow just because a penalty will not be the end of the world as they have no chance of a title.

  10. I would suggest having a different qualifying set-up only for Monaco. Keep the normal Q1 and Q2 but in Q3 have each driver go out one by one to set their fastest lap time. More specifically, stagger how they can leave the pit lane. So the slowest 3 from Q2 get sent out a sector apart, they do their 1 flying lap each then come back in. The same happens for the 5-7th place cars from Q2. Similar again for the third and fourth placed cars from Q2 and finally for the top 2 from Q2. This would be quite an exciting spectacle. Also, this gets rid of the problem of traffic and drivers (deliberately or not) making mistakes because they know it’s their one chance to get pole and that they have minimal traffic ahead of them. I understand that this would take a bit longer than the current system but I think it would be very exciting.

    1. staggered Monaco quali does not allow for track evolution which is large here. A wet drying track means by luck of the draw you could end on pole as the track gets faster by seconds every minute see Silverstone last year. Compromise has to be made no solution is perfect but current quali is for me the best system F1 has ever had but of course it can never be perfect.

      Everyone always wants something changed this is a problem,the strategy group recently listened to what changes people had put forward and chose them all. There is no direction. Changes to anything need to be made one at a time to see the effects of a change.

  11. No. If it happened to anyone else except Hamilton we wouldn’t be having this conversation.

    1. Exactly. It took many many comments to find this one. Lewis had the same amount of time to set his lap. He didn’t get the job done. End of discussion.

      1. Even Lewis said the same. He needed his first timed lap in Q3 to be quicker than Nico’s. It was only 2nd quickest, so that’s where he started.

    2. @glennb @rodrrico As referenced in the article, it also happened to Alonso.

      1. @keithcollantine It would apply if this was discussed in 2006/07. Especially since Schumacher was punished for his troubles. There should have been some measure taken at that point.

        But since Rosberg was not found guilty, talking about this now seems a little out of place. As I mentioned earlier, running late on an improving track has its advantages and any driver taking that option must also face the possibility of a yellow flag, be it intentional or a genuine mistake.

    3. I agree. I have been reading my normal F1 websites this morning. Only 1 seems to still be beating this dead horse.

      What if Ham made a mistake in Q while in P1 and blocked the track this year? I’d love it. I’m not saying he should be punished, actually would hope he wasn’t. Maybe it would be the end of this.

  12. Strongly agree.

    More rules isn’t bad, since we never supposed to remember them all. Obscure rules like this is always meant to handle unusual situation and so there are good guidance on what permitted and what the consequences for breaking them, so from that side I don’t think it will be a problem.

    However that being said, the hardest part is not about giving the penalty, but to judge whether its really intentional or not. From the examples mentioned in the article, Michael Schumacher case is the most blatant one, while Nelson Piquet is only known because he’s leaking it to the public. If he never speaks up probably no one will even suspect there’s a foul play in Singapore 2008. Likewise, I think there will be people who believes Rosberg is cheating as there will be people who believes its genuine mistake. We may never know the truth until Rosberg talk about it himself probably many years later after he retired.

    All that being said, rather than focused on what penalty should be given to the impeding (cheating) driver, I think we need a rule to compensate the compromised drivers. My proposal for the penalty is whether to keep giving same grid drop penalty as usual or delete the time and make him start from the back of the grid.Deleting the time send a message that F1 never tolerate cheaters and its easy to understand for the casuals but it seems way too harsh for the not so clean cut case like Rosberg last year. For the compensation I think for every driver that the run compromised or aborted, the qualification session can be extended only for those driver, with the same order they on track when the incident happened, and they’re entitled for refueling and new fresh tires with the same type they was running before. Track separation should be controlled by race director (maybe 15-20 seconds gap between pit release) to keep this extra session quick (probably only for 1-5 cars as in the case of Schumacher and Rosberg incident). This compensation rules may look too confusing for some people, but the idea is its in there as deterrent and telling future cheaters that no one except him will ever get compromised, especially in special track condition like Monaco. Casual fans don’t even need to be aware of this rules exists just like they never aware of the detailed rules on how to make F1 car, and hopefully it never had to be evoked on race day.

  13. The problem with a blanket rule like this is what happens if a driver goes off through no mistake of his own?
    And what if he has to stop on track due to a technical issue?

    Incidents as controversial as Monaco 2006/2014 are a rarity so I don’t believe its something that needs addressing. If it was something we were seeing more often I’d agree something should be done, But as is I think things are fine as they are.

  14. I don’t really see the point of penalizing errors even more. Intentional or not, the driver doing such thing is missing an opportunity to improve his lap, so that’s enough of a penalty.

    Indycar’s system is extreme. You crash at Monaco and you get your times deleted? heck no…. how fair is that?

    1. I’m thinking back to Japan 2012 qualifying. Raikkonen spun at Spoon, bringing out a yellow flag and causing Alonso to abort his lap. I don’t think it would have been fair to delete all of Raikkonen’s qualifying times.

      Rosberg’s incident appear suspicious and was investigated, but it couldn’t be proven that he had intentionally gone off.

    2. You crash at Monaco, and destroy things for others in the process, then you get a kick in the ass for being a moron. Sounds fair to me.

  15. Having the threat of a penalty for making is mistake would lead drivers to take fewer risks in qualifying, making for less compelling on-track action.

    Perhaps. Or perhaps you’ll have the top drivers being slightly more careful, and someone as bit further down the order trying a full on banzai attack as they’ve got less to lose. This would upset the “traditional” order and result in more exciting racing, at least at the start.

  16. You crash out = lose previous times. Simple. How to prevent such “unfairness”? Do not crash or make convenient mistakes. Simple.

    1. You’ll get more risk averse driving though, the exact opposite of what we want as fans… right?

  17. Michael Brown
    22nd May 2015, 13:39

    Such a rule is unnecessary, as in both cases presented, the stewards looked at each incident and made decisions. Schumacher was penalized, Rosberg wasn’t. I know people aren’t happy with the decision on Rosberg, but I trust that the stewards thoroughly investigated that incident.

  18. Not more rules if my stance.

    Rosberg and Schumacher damaged both their own integrity and legacy which is punishment enough in such circumstances.

    1. ColdFly F1 (@)
      22nd May 2015, 14:53

      @john-h, there should be a ‘rule’ in F1, for every new rule they have to abolish 2 existing rules!

      1. Perfect answer…

  19. Strongly disagree. Yet another unnecessary rule. As you rightly said Keith, qualifying should be all about finding the limit not being scared of a penalty. This rule will create more harm than good and for what? Even without the rule such situations occur only rarely, even at Monaco

    I say it should stay as it is: a case-by-case review of the stewards. Over-regulation never works IMO in any field be it politics, economy or motorsport

  20. The problem was that the stewards (Warwick) bottled it. That’s the problem that needs solving. It was the same at Spa. They had the data, which in Monaco was the tyre load data according to Mark Hughes, but carefully avoided looking at it.

    There are some stewards who’d have given it and some who wouldn’t. It’s an old problem, as we’ve all seen through the years. Just because someone is important/famous/amiable doesn’t make them suitable for making objective judgments in tricky situations.

    1. I bet if it was the other way around “Warwick” would not be saying this “I have been around a long time and seen people try to pull the wool over my eyes. Did I have doubts in my mind, of course I did. But he gave me the answers I needed. I know there are conspiracy theories but you will not find a more honest driver in grand prix racing than Nico.

  21. I know that in V8 Supercars, if you cause a red flag in qualifying, you’re sent to the back of the grid. Everyone accepts it there seemingly(?).

    I would introduce that to F1, and alongside “causing significant disruption to competitors by causing a yellow flag to be deployed” with the penalty of having to start 10th if caused in Q3, and to be the last car of the Q2/1 field if caused in Q2/1. In effect, disqualifying a competitor from the section of qualifying they’re in. That way, Rosberg would likely have been penalised last year, yet still be acknowledged to have made a genuine error in the stewards’ eyes without having to be draconian to him about it.

  22. You should not gain an advantage by spinning or crashing your car. If you spin or crash then all your times should be stripped away if you impede any other driver. If you affect nobody then you get away with it. Anything else encourages cheating.

  23. Except Rosberg didn’t cause a red flag, he caused a yellow– And no evidence was found that he did it deliberately, so the rules as written in the IndyCar rulebook wouldn’t have made a difference.

    Now, if they said you lost your fastest sector time for whichever sector you caused a yellow in, I’d probably go with that, but it would add a level of (usually) unnecessary complication to qualifying.

    1. Obviously it’s not just a question of how the rules are written but how they are implemented. F1 currently operates a situation where qualifying continues even in a situation where now drivers can improve their times because of a late yellow flag. In which situation one could argue they might as well throw a red flag.

      Or just change the rules to make it apply to yellow flags. Either way it’s a technicality and not the substance of the matter.

      1. @keithcollantine If they throw red-flags like now, and the rule only applies to red-flags, such a rule would nearly never fire. If they begin to throw red-flags at every incident or apply the rule on yellow flags, there´s a bunch of qualifying sessions (especially when it was wet, or just a slippery bit of moisture) where we have more drivers without a time set then there are drivers going out of Q1 or Q2. There is no good way to implement it.

  24. In every flags, safety cars,… situations in Qualy or in the Race, some will benefit and some won’t.

    If we make a decision like the article is suggesting, we’ll also need to look at Drivers losing out strategically with a Safety Car in the Race or such occassions.

    F1 fans are always whining about trivial rules made to handle rare/isolated events. But at the same times they also propose equally minutiate ideas about how F1 should be ran.

  25. I strongly disagree. One of the few good things left in the current F1 rule book is the qualification format. It’s often more entertaining than the race itself, nowadays. And the luck element is a part of the game.

  26. Making this a “strict liability” situation is overkill. This kind of approach is only appropriate where the actor has ultimate control over a situation and where you want him to use all possible means to abate the ill. In this case, a driver cannot control if his car dies on track and he should not be dissuaded from driving 11/10ths to win pole risking a spin. Honestly I think the reason IndyCar feels it must have this rule is because of the lower caliber of drivers there–they tend to mess up more on track and need some strong encouragement to just get a clean lap.

  27. The IRL comparison represents comparing apples with bananas; IndyCar does not have a circuit as tight and as track position dependent as Monaco, so such a regulation can be put in place without much fear of making drivers back-off for fear of penalties. What the Monaco Grand Prix does not need is a further penalty beyond the penalty of ruining a lap or crashing.

    In my opinion, both the 2006 and 2014 incidents have the capacity to be deliberate, but so many similar incidents that have ruined laps that were simply innocent errors. In 2011, Hamilton could have been on pole. He was not, not because Perez crashed, but because McLaren didn’t chose to do a banker lap. Similarly Lewis exposed himself to the Rosberg incident by not being fastest in the first run.

    Be fast all the time and expect the unexpected. That is the Monaco challenge.

    1. Similarly Lewis exposed himself to the Rosberg incident by not being fastest in the first run.

      Well the first run is a banker @countrygent. That means an element of safety, it’s not normally the absolute flat out fastest they can go. Nobody wants to end up 10th on the grid with two mistakes.

      But if being faster earns you the option to go first next time AND the default pole, then a higher level of risk makes sense – if your plan is not to run last to enjoy the last fraction of evolution, but to nix both second runs.

      This is why Merc have changed the rules now.

      1. @lockup But the fact is the first run of Q3 in Monaco has been historically driven as a final qualifying lap. Vettel claimed pole in 2011 with his first run (a lap on which he suffered a substantial lock-up at Mirabeau – the drivers simply don’t drive it as a “mere banker”) before Perez’s accident. Pole contenders always use two sets of new option in Monaco Q3.

        Since most drivers try to go beyond the limit in their final run, since track position is so precious, it is not unusual for drivers not to improve in the final run, and of course, it is not unusual for there to be a yellow flag. Thursday, FP3, Q1 and Q2: that is the times for “bankers”, Q3 is time to deliver: a pole lap set on the first run counts just as much as one set on the second.

        1. I’m not sure we’re disagreeing @countrygent. They do often have to depend on their banker I agree. It’s a small difference – on the limit vs right on the limit. I just see a motive for a bit of extra risk last year, is all.

  28. One would prefer to promote the principles of good sportsmanship rather than introduce yet another tiresome rule.

    The more rules, the more cheats….

  29. What qualifying needs is a better spec of tyre that isn’t so sensitive to track temperature. Bigger window of opportunity, more sustained action, more clear laps, happy drivers and happy fans.

    The rules are fine, if the stewards have the ability to investigate and penalise unforeseen events. No need for yet another F1 regulation banning something – there’s already one for everything from six wheels to piddling combinations of events that’ll never happen again.

  30. What I find interesting about both incidents in Monaco and Spa was that the supposed culprit was investigated and found innocent but some people didn’t like it. In both incidents, Lewis immediately blames Nico; that is a tactic in itself. What would have happened if lets say a Williams driver was involved?

    1. @mim5 The Spa incident is irrelevant to this.

      1. @keithcollantine maybe when talking about rule changes.

        1. @mim5 Which is what the article is about.

          1. @keithcollantine I know but both incidents seem to go together as they proved to be flashpoints in the season

          2. @mim5 The article isn’t about “flashpoints in the season”, it’s about the qualifying rules.

      2. @keithcollantine, its about 1 flashpoint and how you would like it to be used to add to a new regulation and I only used Spa as another example to show how Lewis is always first on the radio to blame the other guy, basically turning the team against Rosberg even before any investigations have taken place.

    2. In both incidents there was evidence that the stewards simply wimped out. All the other drivers thought Monaco was deliberate and Mercedes themselves fined Rosberg for Spa. Spa wasn’t investigated btw.

      A Williams driver would not have been involved; you may as well say ‘what would have happened if Jenson had been in the other car’ or pretty much any other driver – the incidents wouldn’t have happened.

      1. @lockup what evidence are you talking about? And when you say all other drivers, who exactly do you mean. Also I wonder who deemed The incident in Spa a racing incident surely it wasn’t Mercedes. And yes obviously Mercedes fined Rosberg. The way Toto and Niki came out after the race it was obvious who they wanted to win the championship.

        1. @mim5 Look at the comments under

          Where Mark Hughes says:

          I was told they looked at the standard brake, throttle and steering traces, but not the tyre load data. Had they done, I’m pretty sure they’d have found an inconsistency between what the tyres could take (as seen on previous run) and how much steering input was made. As DC said, he appeared to be sawing at the wheel even when the car was clearly planted to the road. That is very much what it looked like from front-on – with the car simply following his steering inputs. It’s was as if he’d expected that sawing to create a twitch and when it didn’t and he found himself arriving at the turn-in point with the car slowed and stable, he then locked up, ensuring he couldn’t make the turn. It’s the locking up of the wheels at a point where the car is easily slow enough to make the turn that gives it away

          I mean virtually all the others drivers as Hughes says there too.

          Why wouldn’t Mercedes want their German driver to win the championship? Why would they prefer Lewis? Maybe, you know, they’re both ex-racers and sportsmen.

          1. @lockup maybe your right the other drivers would probably do the same.
            But ultimately Lewis has moved on from it and I guess so should we.

          2. lol @mim5 ,spoken like a true Rosber fan! I didn’t say the other drivers would do the same. Even Schuey never did anything so premeditated. As for moving on, well I was trying to buy into Nico’s charm offensive up until he did Sepang Q3 this year …

          3. @lockup in this article it says Schumacher did do something similar to Rosberg by parking his car on track possibly more premeditated to Rosbergs. Regarding Malaysia Rosberg wasn’t on a quick lap and when Hamilton did catch up I believe there was a bit of confusion as to who would use the inside line as the straight was not that long at all. Hamilton did take the inside line and afterwards Hamilton said it didn’t matter to him.
            And as a Hamilton fan you should follow your favourite drivers lead and move on!

          4. I don’t think Lewis has moved on @mim5. I just watched him mention yellow flags in the bullpen! Lots of people haven’t moved on, there have been little jokes about it on Sky all weekend. I’m a strong believer in justice so I’m loving it obviously :)

            As for Rascassegate okay MS deliberately locked up into the corner but there’s nothing to suggest he planned the whole session around a cheat.

            In Sepang Lewis had just set a purple sector. DC on BBC was forecasting a bit of impeding before the previous corner, and we heard no support from the team about NR not being told did we? The car on the hot lap obviously needs the outside line.

            Feel free to move on, of course :)

          5. @lockup I have moved on, and Hamilton complaining about yellows isn’t something new considering this is Monaco, Button for instance didn’t get into Q3 because of yellows.

          6. Oh okay @mim5. You started this conversation, saying basically Nico was innocent and Lewis was at fault for blaming him. But if you’ve accepted the evidence and moved on now that’s cool.

  31. I am in favor of the rule. I can’t see how it is fair for someone to benefit from their mistake. It doesn’t matter whether or not it is deliberate. If a genuine mistake, it means you are good enough to do a clean lap at that speed and therefore should not impede a driver who can. I don’t think it will prevent good drivers from pushing harder. In Austria, Hamilton made and error on his first lap and it was disallowed. He went harder on his second lap and he came off worse. That is what good drivers do. In Monaco, Rosberg was down on his previous lap time. How did he expect to make up that deficit then improve his time? he knew he couldn’t. He was not driving good enough on the lap and she should not have benefited from it.

  32. I slightly agree, all temptation to cheat must be removed but the Indycar penalties are rather severe, I would prefer something like a 0.2 second penalty being automatically applied but open to appeal if the team can convince the stewards it was entirely accidental, in other words reverse the burden of proof, so mechanical failures, punctures etc would not further penalise a team but a reckless do-or-die spin would.

  33. @keithcollantine, surely the option neither agree or disagree makes the option no opinion redundant, if there is a difference it must be very subtle and I would love an explanation of this difference ?

    1. I guess the first is along “I care, but I can’t find out what’s the best of the two” while no opinion is “I really don’t care”. To me, that is two very different things.

  34. Sometimes it’s impossible to have a suitable rule for every eventuality. I think this is one of those times. I’ve read nothing so far I like as a solution, maybe there just isn’t a fair one.

  35. Q1 with 10 cars. One of each team, q2 the other 10 cars and q3 with the best 5 cars from.each session. 15 min each.

  36. So second year in a row, Rosberg screws up and destroys a competitors qualifying and his penalty….beggar all. so wrong.

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