FIA announces elimination qualifying and ‘Driver of the Day’ award

2016 F1 season

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The FIA has confirmed plans to overhaul F1’s qualifying procedure this year as part of a package to “deliver a faster, more spectacular” world championship.

The F1 Commission unanimously approved the qualifying proposal but it remains to be decided whether it will be implemented this year or next. The new structure will see drivers eliminated from qualifying at 90-second intervals during each session:


  • 16 minutes duration
  • After seven minutes, slowest driver eliminated
  • Slowest driver eliminated every 1 minute 30 seconds thereafter until the chequered flag when the final elimination occurs
  • Seven drivers eliminated, 15 progress to Q2


  • 15 minutes duration
  • After six minutes, slowest driver eliminated
  • Slowest driver eliminated every 1 minute 30 seconds thereafter until the chequered flag when the final elimination occurs
  • Seven drivers eliminated, eight progress to Q3


  • 14 minutes duration
  • After five minutes, slowest driver eliminated
  • Slowest driver eliminated every 1 minute 30 seconds thereafter until the chequered flag when the final elimination occurs
  • Two drivers left in final 1 minute 30 seconds

The FIA has also announced a new ‘Driver of the Day’ award which will be voted for by fans and presented to the driver “immediately following the conclusion of the race”.

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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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  • 124 comments on “FIA announces elimination qualifying and ‘Driver of the Day’ award”

    1. Don’t want to judge the changes until I’ve actually seen them, but potentially could be exciting!

      1. Maybe but imagine this:

        In Q1 you are Hamilton/Rosberg/Vettel or Raikkonen. Your car has encountered sudden problems at the start of qualifying. The engineers managed to fix the car just 6 minutes into the session. You go out to do your run. At that point, and ever since 2006, you are fine. Now, with those body of rules, you are in trouble…

        This means that, any problem to any of the cars in qualifying will cost the drivers and team, a lot… A huge punishment..

        1. @krichelle I don’t think it’s a big problem. If you have problem most likely your qualy is over anyway. Also how many times we actually see a car had a problem when qualy began and then the mechanics actually can fixed the problem and that car can go past Q1? Granted the qualy format change is unnecessary, but the new format is not bad on paper at least.

          1. @sonicslv what if your pirelli fails and you spend 3 minutes returning for a replacement?

            1. @strontium A tire failure usually ends that driver qualy too in this format. With the need to refueling (assuming they only fuel for 1 flying lap only) and a most likely floor damage even with current rules the driver most likely can’t recover from that.

        2. But why a problem now? They’ve had 3 practice sessions to get things right.
          My question is “Does the slowest driver include someone who hasn’t posted a time?” If it does, and there are two people that haven’t posted times, which one gets eliminated?

          1. Probably the one with a lower finishing position in P3? I am just assuming.

        3. Oh boo hoo. It’s motorsport, sometimes it’s not fair!!!

        4. But isn’t that the point. If the teams get it wrong, especially the big teams, it means a smaller outfit get the spot and spices things up.

          I’ve watched F1 for many years and have watched awful races and some great races. We’ve all seen the rules change from engines to aero but if we’re on here we’re more than casual fans. No matter what they do we’ll still watch because we can’t help ourselves.

          These changes aren’t aimed at us, they’re aimed at a generation that want instant gratification, want to be entertained constantly and can’t bear to sit down and work out the technicalities of a 72 lap race and admire the intricacies of racing.

          My first ever comment seems like a rant but I love the sport and always will….although the engines could scream a bit more!!

          1. I think new viewers will be turned away due to how complicated it is… How will the get gratification from something hard to understand?

            1. Slowest driver gets eliminated. What’s so complicated about that?

              There’ll probably be a clock on a screen counting down to the next elimination so everyone will be able to follow along.

      2. In my opinion, they’re focusing too much on elimination, and not enough on last-gasp-hail-mary type qualifying, which for me, is where the fun is.

        Under the old system, at the checkered flag for each session, you’ve got a large number of drivers still out on track trying to pull out that desperate lap– which sometimes works out fantastically, and sometimes ends poorly. But in the last 30 seconds, there’s a chance that the guy who’s been 10th all session will suddenly leap up into the top 3.

        Under the new system, in the last 90 seconds, you’ve got exactly two drivers on track.

        Also, under the new system, you’re going to have 22 cars out on track, trying to find clean air for their runs for the first 5 minutes… It’s going to be chaos, and I expect a number of drivers will rack up penalty points all over the place for “impeding”… What’s Monaco going to be like? With 80 seconds total, you’ll have have more than 3 seconds between cars in the first 5 minutes.

        I’m also baffled as to how, if F1 is “too complicated for the fans to understand”, this is an improvement.

        1. I don’t buy this “F1 is too complicated for the fans” as being a problem with the sport, rather a problem with coverage of the sport – this may be an inconsequential splitting of hairs if the coverage is controlled by FOM, but it may actually be a valid criticism of, not the sport but a lack of progress in how BBC, Sky, ITV and soon C4 – in the UK have targeted their coverage at existing fans rather than trying something a bit different, a bit more friendly to the casual viewer.

          The reason I believe this, is because I follow other very complicated sports which catagorically do not have this problem. Let me focus on one just for a second and how they get over it- Rugby Union, a sport so complicated that world cup referees have out and out stated that they do not fully understand the rules around the scrum enough, and that they know they get it wrong. If the top tier referees can’t get it right consistantly enough for their own satisfaction, what hope do the newcomers to the sport have? Yet rugby has no problems with attracting new viewers, and the reason why I believe is because once a year, Rugby Union holds a competition in which the coverage is massively changed to deliberately be friendly to newcomers to the sport, and casual watchers – the six nations coverage is incredibly light, with high production values comparitively, and I believe it is this, showboat event which draws in a new audience – here is rugby light, there’s enough bite there to keep you intregued for several years, then you are fed into league rugby where you are watching familliar players in a lower budget, more hardcore coverage – what you learnt about the rules watching the 6 nations is assued knowledge now and the coverage teaches you the real technicalities of the sport.

          It’s the same in other technical sprots too – Tour de France for example, in fact, think of any sport currently rising in popularity, extranious factors not withstanding – countryman doing well or taught in schools – I bet you can name an event in that sport that is known about internationally by a high percentage of the population.

          Anyway, after giving a multi paragraph reply to your last line, my last line will be a reply to your multi paragraph point!

          I just feel that the new system may give rise to every driver getting their turn to have to pull that desperate lap out of the bag, and we as viewers get to watch each in turn, rather than trying to absorb them all at once!

      3. @williamjones I think you are right, maybe FIA need to try this out for a couple of GP and see how its going, before finalising on it.

    2. I try to imagine the feed in TV where in top there must be a lot of info… mainly there must be 2 countdowns? one for the full qual session time and a 2nd for the elimination that will reset every minute.

      1. @bluechris OMG! Information overload – we won’t know where to look!

        1. this constant push to move the goalposts is not doing F1 any good, when Bernie is gone most of F1 problems will follow him out.

          1. And your comment would make sense if Bernie ran the FIA

            1. And your comment would make sense if he wasn’t at every meeting where the FIA came up with genius ideas

            2. The problem is that many if not most of those commenting attributes ideas pushed for to the FIA, most of these forced upon F1 ideas are stirred up by Bernie the commercial rights holder of which as such he is supposed to have nothing to do with such matters, the last two examples, moving the goal posts in the qualifying format three weeks before the season starts, and after teams had already planned their strategies on the new tyres format forced on them, the teams agreed on this to avoid Bernie’s first chose of reversed grids. The second is the new for 2017 rules he was pushing for, all of these moves including the single tyre supplier and the degrading tyres were all of his making, as a result of his power and control struggles.

      2. 2 clocks.
        3 different types of tyres.
        3 quali sessions.
        20 different points of elimination during the hour.

        Drivers being eliminated without a second chance to set a second lap:

        In Q3, the first drivers are eliminated after 5m00, 6m30, 8m00, 9m30.

        Using Spa (longest track: >1m45 hot lap; around >2m00 outlap) as a worst case scenario, the slowest driver will be eliminated before completing his second hot lap.

        Given that these Pirelli’s can only do one fast lap before decreasing substantially in performance, if the slowest drivers wanted to do two runs they would need:

        Outlap and find space on track: 2m00
        Hot lap: 1m45
        In lap: 1m50
        Pit dwell time (with a race-style tyre change): 25s
        Second outlap and find space on track: 2m00
        Hot lap: 1m45
        Total Time: 9m45

        We could be left with a situation where they are drivers in the bottom 4 of Q3 who are sat in the garage with a spare set of tyres but no reason to go back out because they won’t have the time to do an outlap and complete a hot lap before they are due to be eliminated!

        Drivers being eliminated DURING a hot lap:

        Imagine, after the first run of Q3 at Monza, the top 3 is Hamilton (1:23.1), Vettel (1:23.6) and Rosberg (1:23.7). Vettel comes out early for his second run as he fears Rosberg’s second lap may demote him to third and eliminate him. Hamilton sits tight as he knows his first run is good enough for a top two place so he can afford to set his second lap at the last second.

        Rosberg has to come out early for his second run otherwise he will be eliminated. He crosses the line to start his hot lap with 2:50 left on the Q3 clock. Purple first sector; purple second sector; purple third sector. 1:22.8. Provisional pole position! Except Rosberg crossed the line with 1:27 left in the session and therefore was technically eliminated at the 1:30 mark. Vettel’s second time wasn’t good enough for pole (1:23.3), so without even having to set a second hot lap, Lewis is called into the box from his outlap and spends the final seconds of Q3 coiffing his hair ready for the post-quali conference.

        Fastest Quali Lap: 1:22.8 – Rosberg (null)
        Pole Lap: 1:23.1 – Hamilton
        Top 3: Hamilton (1:23.1), Vettel (1:23.3), Rosberg (1:23.7)

        Modern F1 at its finest.

        1. Well I kind of agree with you, but at the same time at the current format, a driver could still set the pole, but be 2 or 3 seconds after the checkered flag, just like your example. They just had to calculate everything, and so this almost never happened. So I think they will be able to make sure that they finish each lap before the elimination period.

          Of course, this format is MUCH less forgiving, but I think that this is the point. A fast driver further down the grid is guaranteed to offer some good moves and highlights.

          1. Well I kind of agree with you, but at the same time at the current format, a driver could still set the pole, but be 2 or 3 seconds after the checkered flag, just like your example.

            That’s not true. Under the 2015 rules, a lap is valid if you START a lap before the session end, the lap counts.

            With these new rules, you are judged by when you FINISH the lap. So if I’m in 3rd place of Q3, I’m due to be eliminated at the 1:30 mark. I leave my garage with 5 minutes left in Q3, I start my hot lap with exactly 3:00 left.

            In this situation, if I did a 1:29.0 hot lap, the lap would count (crossing the finish line with 1:31 left, valid). However, if I did a 1:31.0 hot lap, the lap would not count (crossing the finish line with 1:29 left, invalid). This is quite stupid.

            1. @kodongo Nothing said that the time limit is not for starting the lap like current rules. Of course when the elimination mark hit we don’t get instant answer of who eliminated, but the wait is at max 2 min. Also even if the time limit is for completing the lap, then the drivers should always try their best all the time, which is the goal of the new format.

    3. LotsOfControl (@for-unlawful-carnal-knowledge)
      24th February 2016, 12:25

      Not a bad idea. Let’s see how it works.

    4. I think I like. I have to wait and see

    5. I’m not going to judge the new qualifying system until we’ve seen it in action, but I like the driver of the day award idea.

      Btw, for some reason when I initially read the title, I thought that FIA had got rid of qualifying altogether.

      1. When I initially read the title I had to check the date. For a brief moment I thought I’d lost a month of my life.

    6. The new qualifying procedure sounds promising to me. I am going to give it a chance before talking it down. Yes, that will not solve any of F1’s greatest problems but maybe the current format really needs some refreshing so the changes are not wrong per se.

      As for the driver of the day award, it has worked great on F1 Fanatic so in theory it should work here as well. However, its success will depend on how the voting is organised; it should not turn into “favourite driver” award. Also, I am not sure if voting should be done ‘immediately’ after the race. F1 Fanatic’s “Monday vote” allows you to analyse the race and notice great performances missed by TV cameras so maybe F1 should not try to reinvent the wheel.

      1. @girts As you said, a monday vote is usually better for reflexion and will provide more deserved award but it is best is the award is part of the closing ceremony. And as it is voted by fans, popularity will be taken into account but it’s part of the game and hopefully it will be as Driver of the Week end in here, some biased vote but generally good. However it would be best if vote were permitted during a given time windows (at the end and after the race). If it is opened during the whole race, there are chances drivers performing well at the beginning of the race will get the award (for instance Button probably wouldn’t receive it for Canada 2011).

        I have mixed thoughts about qualifying. As said it is refreshing and doesn’t seem bad as such but I’m afraid it will cause lots of impeding incidents and I don’t know how they will handle those. Can be very exciting for the final shout-out, specially for the final versus battle with 2 drivers left.

        1. @jeanrien Yeah, Driver of the Day award should not awarded right after the race, but rather the poll is opened after the race and the award itself could be presented at night, broadcasted exclusively from F1 official site and YouTube for example.

          1. Yet another event drivers have to attend ? Not going to happen.
            Anyway if they open votes after 95% race completion and let it open until 20 min after the race, it should allow for most potential voters to send their vote and they could have the ceremony right after the podium/press conference. I guess it’s the best way to organize it to have a proper winner and still have coverage of the event.

    7. How will we vote when F1 is so anti social media!?

      I say the F1 Fanatic poll should be the offical one :-)

        1. OmarRoncal - Go Seb!!! (@)
          24th February 2016, 17:10

          @keithcollantine is it still time to implement your DOTW poll as “your best 3” so I choose for example Vet 3 – Ham 2 and Ric 1point? I disagree when people in the comments say “the best one is Ros, but because everyone will vote for him, I go for Sainz”. Many users, me included, proposed this last year, but you said there were technical problems to implement it. Are we still on time?

      1. +1

        Great idea

      2. If it is on the F1 site, you will probably have to pay to vote!

    8. Big changes very near to the start of the season. Not really up for it. Will see it before judging it though.

      1. So messy. Maybe it’s good, but I don’t think qual was a big problem…

    9. Can’t help but think the most popular drivers will get the prize each race.

      1. In that case Kimi will win each race day, being that he is regarded as the most popular GP driver according to a certain survey.

      2. Yes. After Haryanto wins the first four consecutive DOTR awards they’ll have to re-jig the voting :-)

      3. I think the majority of people that are interested enough in f1 to vote are going to be intelligent enough to see who actually performed well. I don’t think the vote would be dominated by fanboy like bias. It’s not like a driver gains anything from winning the Dotd award.

      4. I’m hoping that Formula 1 will nominate 3 drivers for the poll. If it’s open, we’ll just see Kimi winning it every week…

    10. ‘driver of the day award’ could create some interesting moments on the podium… imagine the winner takes the top step with a dirty move and the second place man gets driver of the day, could be some atmosphere :-D

    11. I’m ambivalent. I don’t think it needed fixing but IF this works it will be an improvement I think do to the added pressure of time. We’ll see.

    12. FlyingLobster27
      24th February 2016, 12:37

      What’s more exciting than NASCAR’s Chase for the Cup? F1’s 21 Chases for Pole!

    13. Pat Ruadh (@fullcoursecaution)
      24th February 2016, 12:38

      I dont see the reason for split sessions anymore if this elimination format is adopted.

      Say the elimination were to start 20 minutes in, after this its only really drivers who are at risk of dropping out will be on-track, nagating the need for a forced 5 minute break.

      I like this format, i think it could be exiting, but the current proposal which keeps split-sessions is a jack-of-all-trades approach, which (as so often is the case in F1) is more complicated than it needs to be.

      1. @fullcoursecaution I guess the break is to force top teams to run several times or they would just set an early lap killing everything then rest until there are only 10 or so cars left. This could be a good idea to avoid too many impedings as long as the team at risk of dropping are running and keep the viewers entertained.

        1. Pat Ruadh (@fullcoursecaution)
          24th February 2016, 12:51

          I guess that could be why @jeanrien but as you say so long as there are people battling on the bubble it shouldn’t really matter if the Mercs only do two runs.

          Hopefully they’ll revisit the specifics.

      2. The cynic in me says the breaks are for commercial packages for many nation’s rights holders.

        Trying to cram two clocks and the present driver elimination list into the picture in picture on side by side with NBC Sports should be thoroughly eye-squintingly fun this year.

        1. Not cynical at all– According to Adam Cooper, that’s exactly why it’s not just one session.

      3. I believe it has connection with tv ad.

    14. Driver of the day seems like a good idea, I’m guessing they will do it using social media, if you have to go to a website to vote I doubt it will work.

      The new qually just doesn’t add up to me, more cars on track? would seem like a good thing until drivers start getting blocked because even if they aren’t on a hot lap they wont want to back off and let the guy through because of 90 second cut off and then eliminated and the driver who blocked them is given a penalty, then there is fuel, we will no longer see real low fuel runs because the cars will need to be on track pretty much all through the session to ensure they aren’t caught out, which means more fuel in the car. Then the tyres, Pirelli tyres now can’t cope with more than 2 flying laps at best, its normally one. They will use more life out of the tyres that they have to carry into the race and pitting during qually now will be a big risk of being caught out, especially at tracks like Spa. Not to mention the commentators having to try and explain what is going on.

      Maybe it will work, I don’t know but it just seems a mess of an idea at the moment, trying to fix something that wasn’t really broken to start with.

      1. Pat Ruadh (@fullcoursecaution)
        24th February 2016, 12:55

        No all the runs would be low fuel. Times don’t reset after 90 seconds. Only at the end of each session.

        Hamilton for instance only needs to set one lap at the start of each session, and Q3 would be the only time he is under pressure and needs to do more than one run.

        1. @fullcoursecaution They couldn’t be, Hamilton or any other driver in top team couldn’t set a lap then go and sit in garage anymore, because if the track suddenly improves they wouldn’t have time to get out of the garage and around the lap and start a flying lap before the 90 sec countdown was over so they would be eliminated. So means they would need to stay out of track which means they would need to carry enough fuel for X amount of hot laps and then X amount of circling laps.

          1. Pat Ruadh (@fullcoursecaution)
            24th February 2016, 15:05

            It’s only in mixed weather conditions that tracks ‘suddenly improve’ to the degree needed for what you have described. Force India arent going to find a second and a half because there’s 4 minutes more rubber down and that track has heated a few degrees. As long as the sky is blue, Lewis can go get himself a can of monster in the knowledge his clean lap buys him a place in q2.

    15. Does the timing board reset every 90 secounds or can top drivers still set fast time and sitout remainder of session.

      1. Too many tracks have lap times over 90 seconds, that this would not be feasable. It sounds like, its just whoever is slowest when the 90 seconds are up will get eliminated regardless of when the time was set.

        So yes, a top driver can set an early fast lap and sit the remainder of the session.

    16. the qualification format was almost the only thing that didn’t need to change in F1…

      1. I second that.

        What I do not know @kiethcollantine is if they also approved the ballast system they proposed whereby a driver has extra time added to qualifying time if he was leading the championship.

      2. Absolutely, if it aint broke…

      3. @dr-jekyll

        Agree completely. I just don’t get it. Quali is generally the most exciting part of the race weekend, and the existing format was moderately exciting, straight forward and logical in a racing sense.

        As you said, it was one of the only things Formula 1 had done right. The challenge was to make Sunday racing exciting, so as expected, the d0nkeys in the FIA to change the quali format

        I’m fine with the Driver of the Day award though

      4. +1 Why change it if it isnt broke?
        I dont think i have read or heard any complaints regarding the quali format.

    17. They change something that didn’t needed changing in the first place.

      1. But hey… at least they simplified the qualifying format, right? I mean, everyone’s been complaining F1 is too complicated, so any changes they make would be easier to explain to someone than the previous system, naturally….

        Oh… wait…. never mind.

        Rules by committee are always crap.

    18. On one hand, I want to respond with “meh”

      On the other hand, I want to respond with “stupid”

    19. It’ll be interesting to see the Driver of the Day compared to the Driver of the Weekend on here, although I suppose qualifying can influence the vote a lot, whereas this new vote is just the race.

      Driver of the Day could turn out more of a popularity contest though, unlike DotW which is quite accurate.

    20. Driver of the day award is a great thing IMO. Let’s people have a place to shine even if they are not on the podium. Great way to reward recovery drives or when Verstappen overtakes someone.

      1. They should rename it to “European Driver of the Day”, since for the vast majority of races, the only sane way to watch F1 in North / South America is to DVR it.

        By the time I see most races, the race is over, and the driver of the day will have already been voted, selected, and awarded.

        1. Good point. And at half the races, in the UK it’ll be “Sky subscribers’ driver of the day”. That’s the way to increase fan involvement in the sport: make the majority of your audience feel like second-class citizens. Well done, guys. Brilliant idea.

          (A rather evil thought occurs: we could vote for random backmarkers without seeing the race…)

    21. The new qualifying produces more drivers on the track at the same time and more pressure to achieve a decent time very early. Each driver should have only one good shot to achieve this per session. More chaos, more complains, more investigations, more bad luck for individuals, more drama, more spectacle. Could be, that the qualifyings will be more exciting than the races. On the surface it’s an improvement, just for the thrills. Nonetheless, the arcade-style rule-changes leave a bad taste in my mouth. It artificially increases the randomness of the results. I am not sure if I like this direction.

      1. For the first few minutes, yes– but for the last few minutes of each session, there will be fewer drivers on track than under the current rules.

    22. The only change I would make to qualifying would be to say you need to have been on track within 5 / 7 minutes otherwise you are disqualified form qualy and start at the back.

      I see a potential in this new format, but not sure the execution is the best.

    23. There’s a few things wrong with the proposed qualifying change.

      For starters your going to end Q3 with only 2 cars on a lap & in a situation where its rained & the track is drying your also losing that last minute dash for the line where its last guy over the line who has the best shot at pole & you have the pole time changing a dozen times.

      Your also opening the door to more blocking penalty’s because unlike the current system drivers are going to be far less willing to back off & let someone by them because that will just compromise them & could put them at risk of been eliminated so its likely the elimination will come down purely to who gets a clean lap (Especially at places like Monaco).

      The other issue is that towards the end of each segment you currently have most (if not all) cars on track, Now your going to have less cars & therefore less interest towards the end of each segment & as I mentioned earlier towards the end of Q3 there are going to be hardly anyone on track which removes a lot of the fun & tension from the end of Q3.

      The biggest problem however is the tyres. Right now you get 1 or 2 really hot laps from the tyres before the deg really starts to kick in so under this elimination system how many sets of tyres are teams going to need to go through in qualifying?

      1. towards the end of each segment you currently have most (if not all) cars on track, Now your going to have less cars & therefore less interest towards the end of each segment & as I mentioned earlier towards the end of Q3 there are going to be hardly anyone on track which removes a lot of the fun & tension from the end of Q3.

        The biggest problem however is the tyres. Right now you get 1 or 2 really hot laps from the tyres before the deg really starts to kick in so under this elimination system how many sets of tyres are teams going to need to go through in qualifying?

        1. Hmmm, laptop problems! I was going to say that less cars means more time following each one, instead of seeing the pole man exiting the final corner and crossing the line. And the tyres will be the same: get the best time out of a set then pit and hope nobody beats it.

      2. FlyingLobster27
        24th February 2016, 13:26

        I don’t just anticipate more gamesmanship @gt-racer, I expect more gamesmanship, especially in Q3. Eliminated cars still have to get back to the pits – an opportunity to settle a personal vendetta or implement a team order. It doesn’t have to be crass impeding, a crafty mistake to bring out a local yellow will be fine (remind you of anyone?).
        The thing with games is, once someone starts playing them, everyone else follows, like in this incident at the 2013 WTCC round at the Salzburgring, and the more opportunities there are to play them, the more often they are actually played (e.g. the NASCAR Chase).

    24. Driver of the day award :D I like, does it give 1 point?

    25. I fear that the new qualifying format will only encourage those in slower cars to set more laps, thus using more tyres and therefore putting them at a disadvantage in the race. At the end of the day, it still seems highly likely that the quickest cars will end up at the front. It’s a flawed system, it didn’t need to be changed anyway (they definitely found the right balance after they changed the top 10 starting tyre to their Q2 set) and I really do hope the WMSC throws it out. I also do not understand in any way how this makes the cars either “faster” or more “spectacular”.

      As for a driver of the day, a poll for driver of the weekend on an independent site with relatively independent viewership is fine, but this proposal? It will be nothing more than a popularity contest, and it’s hardly worked in other series where such things exist.

      1. Craig Woollard (@craig-o)
        As for a driver of the day, a poll for driver of the weekend on an independent site with relatively independent viewership is fine, but this proposal? It will be nothing more than a popularity contest, and it’s hardly worked in other series where such things exist.

        Yes, a popularity contest, and together with driver having favorite numbers, fixed helmet colors, it’s getting awfully childish..

    26. I’m not so sure about the qualifying changes. They may work brilliantly, but they certainly penalise those who have had incidents – you won’t have 15 minutes to get a car out on track, you’ll have 5. It also means that everyone needs to get out in the first 5 minutes of each session. This looks better than the track being empty for long periods, but it could lead to confusion and inadvertent (or not so inadvertent) blocking.

      The strategy decisions will be tricky for all but the very fastest. This is potentially a good thing. As noted above, drivers could go through a lot of tyres doing this – indeed I’ll stick my neck out and predict that they will have to be allowed extra sets in order to make this elimination system work.

    27. Ted Kravitz on sky news earlier on-

      The response we are getting from the viewers and the fans is that ‘qualifying wasn’t broken so why fix it?’ The message we are also getting from our viewers and the fans here at the circuit is that all this fiddling around on the edges with gimmickry is that it shows that Formula 1 bosses are fundamentally out of touch with what the real fans want – which is good, close racing on a Sunday. They don’t want this. It’s more gimmickry and it’s too complicated for the armchair fans to understand.

      Sure, it will be interesting and it will jumble up the grid. But that is no good if, when you go racing, the front-wings are so complicated that anyone following anyone else on the track will lose 50% of their downforce. And fundamentally that is what is wrong with F1 at the moment.

      I wonder whether the F1 bosses on the Commission pay attention to how F1 cars produce quick qualifying times. The best times are set when the tyre is on its first or second hot lap. After that, the best performance of the tyre is gone and the lap times don’t improve.So the reality is that teams will not just go out onto the track and keep going round and round to set quicker times. They’ll go out, set what they hope is the quickest time on a fresh tyre, come back in, and let the slower cars get dropped one by one as the session progresses.
      The other thing that will upset the drivers and engineers who actually have to work with these new rules is they were dreamt up and imposed after all the other rule changes we’ve had, especially the ones about tyre usage.
      If you know now during qualifying that you’re going to have to be on track for quite a few laps, you might have chosen a different tyre allocation from Pirelli than you had when you were dealing with the old qualifying rules. Talk about moving the goal posts.

      1. Spot on from Ted.

        Stupid rule changes at the last minute. I find it hard following this sport i’m an an avid viewer

      2. Thanks for posting that @gt-racer. Let’s hope that if this really goes through, it lasts even shorter than the first iteration of race-fuel qualifying did.

    28. There’s no way this is going to fail spectacularly. Not at all…

    29. (Didn’t read through all the comments, not sure if this has come up yet)
      So this brings up the same problem that the first version of the 2006 (?) qualifying format had: When the timer reaches zero, that’s it. No more racing to the flag, if you happen to be the slowest and you are just exiting the last turn as the 1min30s timer runs out, you are out of the session even though you might be doing a lap that would be good for pole. Sure, it might bring up some surprises at first, but overall I’d like to see drivers complete their laps.

    30. Oh, good God why!?!? Of all the things that need an overhaul in F1, Qualifying was NOT one of them. I loved the previous format and can see absolutely no reason to change it. This new format does nothing but add an artificially frantic air to an already tense event by forcing more cars onto the track at the same time, all trying to push hard at the same time to beat the axe. I’m seeing more shunts, more penalties, more protests, in short…more artificiality in the whole event. Sure it will shake things up, but qualy was never the problem, processional races, artificial passing, and self-destructing tires were (among other things).
      And, before you ask, “reverse grids” is an absolutely horrible idea.
      “Dirver of the Day” is fine, but it should be for bragging rights only, no points; and please don’t turn it into a Formula-e “fanboost” style gimmick.

    31. The people that run and control this sport are idiots. If they had a minimal understanding of how F1’s fans have been feeling over the last few years, they would know that another unnecessary change to the regulations dreamt up on the back of an envelope without proper analysis was not the way to go.

    32. A red flag could cause some gnashing of teeth, if it comes during the elimination periods. The next 3 or 4 cars eliminated will be fixed there and then because there won’t be time to set another lap.

      Other than that, it doesn’t seem like a terrible idea. Although as others have said, it’s not really the qualifying that was broken…

    33. Driver of the day
      Fan voted and delivered immediately after the race
      Looks like Bernie will have to learn how to use a computer after all…

    34. Driver of the day seems like a neat solution to the fan boost in formula E. It’s ultimately meaningless, but it does engage the fans and gives recognition to potentially someone who isn’t the winner.

      New quali is another solution to a nonexistent problem, though. It adds more unneeded complexity to the quali format that is already solid and exciting.

    35. On paper, I think I like it, but to sum up some previous comments, I can see the following problems:

      1) How would this work with a red flag? This situation is pretty likely, especially in Q1 when 22 cars are likely to be squabbling over the same piece of track.

      2) There is the potential that the fastest lap does not get pole position. This would happen if, for example, the third place driver sets his fastest lap just too late and is knocked out.

      3) How will this work with tracks with a lap longer than 90 seconds?

      1. The tyres will still only have peak performance for one lap so the drivers will not be able to improve their times after one flying lap (2 at most) on each set, and teams will still need to save tyres for the race.

        Teams have already chosen their tyre allocations for the first few races, they might have made different choices if they knew that the qualifying format would be different.

    36. Yet again F1 is looking in the wrong places. Qualifying is not what needs to be fixed at the moment. The current system isn’t perfect but it works pretty well (when compared to some of the systems tried over the years), so what do they do? Meddle with it and make it more complicated!
      They complain that “mainstream viewers” can’t follow the sport and then introduce this and the more complicated tyres regs. Really can’t see that helping bring in new viewers.

      As for Driver of the Day, I really can’t see the drivers caring about that at all. Just like the Pole Position trophy.

    37. Fudge Ahmed (@)
      24th February 2016, 16:36

      I like it. I hope the eliminated driver gets a countdown timer and a loud American man to scream “ELIMINATED!” as an animated blood spattered X is drawn over their face and image hurtled off screen in a phantom zone style cube, perhaps the driver image could change to a sad face whilst this happens.

      1. LMAO, its almost that stupid

      2. Ahahahah, it kinda only makes sense to do it that way! :)
        Which tells you how actually stupid the whole new format is! :)

    38. Yet they don’t realise overcomplicated rules is what is putting so many people off…

    39. The thing which annoys me is that i think the old rules gave everybody a fighting chance, which was important for the middle and end of the pack. You go out on a harder compound, check if the setup is still good. If it is, you keep it, if not, you try and change it and then you give it your all with the softer compound. We know that at the end of q1, q2 and q3 everybody did their flying lap and had they same amount of time to prepare. Now it starts to look more like a game of chance then a game of skill.

    40. You know what? This quali format could actually be a good thing. Even if it’s introduction does seem a bit rushed, and shoehorned into this season.

      Something about the qualifying session’s we’ve had over the last 2 or 3 seasons has grown a bit dull in my opinion. It has lacked the intensity a qualifying session should. Anything that get the cars out from the get-go rather than sitting in till the last minute is a good thing.

      1. But there will be fewer cars on track at the end of each part of the session, and those cars will probably not be improving their times as they will have used up the best of their tyres surviving to that point and will be reluctant to use more than two sets of tyres in any one segment as to do so would harm their chances in the race.

        Watching just two cars on the track at the end of Q3 is unlikely to be as exciting as watching 10 drivers all pushing as hard as they can on their last flying lap when the track is at it’s fastest.

    41. Initially this sounds exciting, but then I’m not so sure as it removes most of the strategy element that was left in qualifying. The ‘waiting to go when the track rubbers in’. The ‘who is trying one or two runs’.

      With the new system we can guarantee that all cars will go out on track at the start of each session. You have to, otherwise you’ll not be able to get round, find space and set a competitive time before all this elimination starts.
      If that’s the case would any driver really have time to set one lap, realise it isn’t quick enough, come back in grab some new boots and head out for another go? If they do, then so would everyone else who messed up their first attempt.

      Due to this extra crowding we will hear more “Driver X blocked me on my fastest lap” etc… and more steward enquiries and potentially more grid shuffles. So at the end of it all, I’m sure I will still have no idea what the grid is for the race until a few hours after qualifying because of penalties due to blocking. (Add to that all the engine \ gearbox penalties McLaren style at the end of the season).

      Also, due to the crowded track, we get less of a chance of seeing that ultimate banzai super lap from a driver. That was one unique element that I always enjoyed about qualifying.
      I guess it’s like having the threat of rain in qualifying, with no rain.
      This will be more like a crazy motorway morning rush hour commute of F1 cars.

    42. Elimination qualifying, where the slowest cars will be destroyed by abrams tanks lining the track.

      Oh wait, there’s no tanks, just another f1 gimmick

    43. First off, I really like the intention of this new rule but as usual, it’s far too confusing and complicated.
      Hers my idea:

      One single qualifying session. Cars go out, and for the first 5 minutes just set lap times. After 5 minutes, the slowest car is eliminated, after 2 minutes another, after another 2 minutes another and so on until only 2 cars are left.

      These two drivers then report to the grid and whoever has recorded the fastest time up to that point is placed on pole, the other driver is placed 2nd on the grid. There is then a 5 lap, winner-takes-all race for pole position.

      Now, that would be a qualifying session!

    44. It sounds stupid.

    45. In fact, the new qualifying format of cars on crowded roads trying to beat a 90 seconds timer to progress reminds me of this motorsport (ahem!) gem from the 1980s with a Ferrari.

    46. What happens if there is a yellow flag in the session?

    47. “Gentlemen, there are a lot of problems with the way F1 is run right now. But that’s all too hard. Let’s fix something that ain’t broke!”

    48. So formula 1 is going down the reality tv route, Bernie can appoint Simon Cowell as his successor and retire to count his money. At least I won’t have to watch it, qualifying hasn’t been broadcast in Oz since the cows came home (AGP excepted) and now the races are split between FTV and PTV I am being gently weaned of F1, no need to go cold turkey, thanks for that Bernie.

    49. Traffic..have they considered traffic at all with this new qualifying system? No one is going to let another car by no matter how much faster the car behind is because they’ve got one lap to try and improve, so if a mercedes or ferrari comes up behind a manor running around 4 seconds per lap slower than themselves then they’re gonna have to find a way past, its going to be more like a race than a qualifying session, you’ll have a topsy turvy grid with the car with the least traffic on pole

    50. Bad news.

    51. I think that the F1 Strategy Group needs renaming. Strategy implies long-term planning to implement a vision.
      The group really ought to be called the F1 Tactics Group as tactics are used as a reactionary measure to counter a perceived deviation from the plan.
      F1 currently doesn’t seem to have any form of long term planning and all changes seem to be generated to solve the ‘problem-de-jour’.
      It is a maxim in project planning that if your aren’t clear on what it is you are trying to achieve then any and all efforts will be wasted.

    52. The FIA and the Strategy Group:
      If it ain’t broke, break it.
      If it’s broken, break it some more.

    53. Seems like Bernie has been playing too much Xbox Gotham racing. Pleaze. Maybe he is asking Microsoft how to design next year’s car too? (Halo anyone?)
      wake me up when we are back to real racing. When engineers are engineers and drivers have the hottest babes. Oh wait that is next, Bernie is going to tell who the drivers can date.

    54. At least DOTD isn’t fanboost

    55. I’m aginnit

    56. The qualifying format for 2015 was just fine, driver get’s to qualify for Q3 on the tires they start the race on, meaning they don’t have to worry about destroying their race tires, where as a slower competitor can risk it all for Q3/grid positions. Q3 allows the driver to push once or twice as hard as they might want to, best driver wins. Drivers/teams get to choose when they go out in Q3.

      Maybe if there is too much traffic in Q3, make a Q4 and the top 6 drivers should be running in the last session.

    57. First post, be gentle.

      If they really want to mix race day up, why don’t they just introduce points for qualifying and the reverse the grid for race day. 22 Points for first down to 1 for last and then same in the race. Simples. It would really mix up the podium rather than the usual suspects winning every week.

    58. Utterly mad. One light shower, one red flag, one set of waved yellows, someone spinning in front of you and you’re potentially out, no second chances, one hot lap that has no margin for compromise. We might as well have fanboost.

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