Ecclestone still pushing ‘time penalty’ qualifying

F1 Fanatic Round-up

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In the round-up: Bernie Ecclestone is still pushing his idea to give drivers grid penalties for finishing at the front in races.

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Halo continues to split opinions – perhaps too far
A lot of conjecture has been spouted with too much certainty about what the benefits or halo might or might not be. @Frood19 gives a level-headed assessment:

Surtees would have had a markedly increased chance of survival if the halo was in use at the time on his car. Wilson would have a slightly increased chance too simply from the possibility of it reflecting the debris.

You can’t say with any certainty what would have happened, or what will happen. But you can reduce risks. I’ve said before that Bianchi’s best chance would have been for the yellow flags rules to have been properly enforced in the months and years before he died. But he still might have died even if that were case. Surtees might still have died with the halo on his car, but it would have been less likely.

There’s too much black-and-white thinking around this whole issue.

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Keith Collantine
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60 comments on “Ecclestone still pushing ‘time penalty’ qualifying”

  1. Re: @Frood19‘s COTD – with all the would it/wouldn’t it talk regarding the Halo and Surtees accident, I committed the sin of looking at the accident on YouTube and it’s clear that the wheel came across the car from the left in such a fashion that the halo may well have deflected some, if not all of the force of the wheel. We’d probably be looking at a Massa-type scenario than what we actually got.

    Justin Wilson, OTOH, suffered a hit from almost directly above as the wing bounced across the track in a haphazard fashion. He was a tall man, so wouldn’t have been so deeply ensconced in the car and I’m not sure how the Halo would have necessarily protected him as well.

    1. What I don’t understand in this head-protection discussion, is why is this now such a thing?
      Why don’t we accept the risks of open wheel racing anymore?
      Why did we ever accepted this dangerous open wheel racing? Didn’t people mind in those days?
      Why didn’t people in the 50’s, 60’s, 70’s, 80’s, 90’s at any point say: we don’t accept this anymore, open wheel series are too dangerous, let us build a proper (normal) F1 racingcar without open wheels and a open seated driver.

      I just can’t get my head around this.

      1. Because FIA has not found and tested a solution before…

      2. RaceProUK (@)
        11th March 2016, 10:23

        As is so often the case, people don’t think about safety until it’s too late (for someone).

        1. But that’s exactly my point: a lot of F1 drivers were involved in terrible accidents and died back then. But nobody then said: Wow, this is pretty dangerous stuff, open wheel series. Let’s not do this now, we will start this somewhere in the future, when we can guarantee our drivers safety.

          1. I think the answers are the same for ‘Why do we (as humans) still downhill ski, skydive, mountain climb etc etc?’ Wrt F1, there is still risk and will be with a halo, but note too that some drivers think it is safe enough without the halo and there has to be some element of danger for it to be enthralling and draw an audience. As it is, far more people die from many other extreme sports or regular sports activities than do in F1.

          2. @favomodo

            There was never really a question of not going racing. However, as time has passed, risk has become less acceptable and technology has advanced to the point where solutions are available.

            Let’s put this another way: The FIA have found a decent* solution to providing head protection. If they do not implement it now, and somebody dies or is seriously injured in a way which would have been prevented by this, they would be held responsible** for that driver’s death.

            * The halo is a good solution. It’s not my preferred design, but it seems to be a good balance, giving some protection while maintaining an open cockpit to appease traditionalists. Personally, I’d rather see a canopy, as I don’t really care about it staying open cockpit, but the halo does a reasonable job.

            ** Maybe not legally, but the media would crucify them.

          3. petebaldwin (@)
            11th March 2016, 15:55

            @Robbie – There needs to be a distinction made between necessary danger and unnecessary danger.

            Un-necessary danger is what the Halo is looking to protect against. Should part of F1 be avoiding springs bouncing down the track that could kill you? No. This isn’t Mario Kart. It’s not part of the sport and should be protected against.

            This leaves necessary danger and IMO, this is a HUGE part of the sport (or should be…) This includes things like crashing if you push too hard. If you brake too late and doing so will leave you stuck in a tyre wall, your brain will tell you to break much earlier which you will have to fight against. Without that, what is the challenge? It’s certainly not a mental one anymore – just a test of which group of engineers made the best car….

            If you have no fear because there is no danger, driving an F1 car simply becomes a job that people are paid to do. You only have to look at some of the best drivers in F1 and hear their comments to see this is already how they view it. Hamilton recently moaned about testing being boring – how can driving an F1 car every be boring!? Alonso hasn’t cracked a smile in years! Hulkenberg had a go at WEC and hasn’t stopped talking about it since….

            I’m all for safety and something like the halo seems to solve an issue without ruining the sport so for me, it gets a thumbs up!

          4. RaceProUK (@)
            12th March 2016, 8:35

            Stopping racing completely because it’s dangerous goes against the very nature of humans. We are competitive risk-takers; if we weren’t, the species would still be living in caves and using pointy sticks.

  2. Yes (@come-on-kubica)
    11th March 2016, 0:18

    Anyone else completely lost enthusiasm for this season already.

    Hamilton is speaking so much sense recently (and I’m certainly no fan of his), don’t understand why the big wigs don’t listen to a world champion’s opinion.

    1. While I am sick of a lot of the politics already, I am massively excited for the season. Time will tell, but I think it is going to be a great season and I cannot wait to follow every practice, qualifying and race as close as possible. I cannot get enough of F1 personally.

    2. ColdFly F1 (@)
      11th March 2016, 0:34

      Actually I’m extremely excited about this season.
      Not for a long time we’ve seen so many cars potentially being able to fight each other, even for the win.

      About all the critical comments and articles: I’ve defined this wonderful strategy of simply ignoring them.

      1. “Not for a long time we’ve seen so many cars potentially being able to fight each other, even for the win.”

        Good joke @coldfly

        1. ColdFly F1 (@)
          11th March 2016, 7:51

          TBH, I was not expecting to be so ‘alone’ in this opinion, @beejis60.
          Just to explain my comment:
          – “many cars potentially being able to fight each other”: many fights in the midfield and the tail!
          – “…, even for the win.”: as opposed to a 1-2-horse race last year, I expect it to be 3-4 cars on many occasions.

          1. “TBH, I was not expecting to be so ‘alone’ in this opinion”

            You aren’t alone in that @coldfly, I’m also really looking forward to the new season and I think it has the potential to be a cracker.

      2. I like your enthusiasm @coldfly! Hope you can keep that up during the year!

      3. Well for the past 6 years, we’ve probably had an average of 1.5 cars per race with any realistic chance of winning – and that’s an optimistic estimate. so in a way the only way is up and @coldfly has a point ;)

        1. ColdFly F1 (@)
          11th March 2016, 7:29

          exactly @graham228221. My glass is always half full; even though it might be a shot glass at times!

    3. Well, I have some enthusiasm before the season and I hope @clustr1 and @coldfly are right. However I’m afraid Mercedes would run away with it and all talk will be about Hamilton’s personal life and what’s wrong with the sport, possibly more measures to ‘improve the show’. We’ll see, a little bit of pre-season optimism won’t hurt.

    4. After reading Bernies idea of how to rig qualifying I’m just about done with F1, fortunately the Oz gp is my home gp and is being shown free-to-air so I may regain some enthusiasm after watching it, but if Qualifying turns into a farce that will probably be the last straw for me.

      1. Qualifying will be no farce. It will be the best we’ve seen in years. And then, what….?

        1. “And then what” well if qualifying is ok and the racing is better I will probably cling on a little longer in the long held hope that Bernie will go, the teams will get a fairer share of revenue, and F1 will once again be a sporting contest of engineering and driving skill.

      2. Yebbut @hohum, what does Bernie really want?

        Merc look odds-on to keep winning for a while. They’ll still win over a season whatever he does with individual races, messing about with qualy, and his latest gambit has backfired spectacularly handing them ALL the TV coverage at the end of qualifying. Horner has now worked out his shiny new aero formula actually makes his engine situation worse.

        Rosberg doesn’t have a contract for 2017.

        1. sunny stivala
          11th March 2016, 9:20

          all his power and his total control of formula one back.

    5. knoxploration
      11th March 2016, 2:47

      I have lost all enthusiasm for the sport as a whole, let alone for the season.

      1. 100% agreed!!!!! I have been losing interest since 2011 DRS, 2012 with 7 winners in 7 races (I hate Pirelli). 2013 tyre blowouts were when Pirelli should have been replaced. 2014 Hybrids are horrible in my opinion. I don’t let the manufacturers tell me why it’s good. I haven’t been to a race since 2014 & no more plans to go anymore.

        I’m on the site & read MUCH less than in the past. I will give 4 race weekends a chance to gauge how much less I’ll care.

    6. I’m excited to see some cars on the track. We need to actually get talking about what the drivers and teams are doing when they are driving. Can’t wait for that to start again.

    7. I can’t wait. I can hardly count all the interesting things coming up. F1 has always been frustrating, I just keep reminding myself things used to be even worse :)

    8. I’ve been getting less and less excited for the start of a new season for the last maybe 2-3 years. I’m a Sky subscriber but I’m even considering moving to watching the Channel 4 highlights, so I can use my time a bit more productively. Obviously depends on C4’s production – I had to count to ten when I read that “Steve Jones” said that his job is to “make it cool” – urgh.

      Now I am excited about the rest of the motorsport calendar kicking off – I’ve got BT Sport again this year and cannot wait for Indycar to hit the streets of St Pete this weekend! Then Formula E next weekend, BTCC starting soon, and I get V8s on BT too. But with F1 I am really struggling to raise much anticipation…

      1. I’m excited to @coldfly there’s been so many improvements over the winter and it looks like a we’re in for some good racing this year. At worst it will be like last year and I enjoyed those races.

        People look for things to complain about but I prefer to see the positives.

  3. At most races we have these complicated grids where drivers get grid drops for causing accidents and impeding, as well as for changing gearboxes, and for using too many of a multitude of restricted power unit components. It’s confusing enough as it is and now Bernie wants to throw in qualifying penalties for drivers winning too much? No wonder Channel 4 has recruited 12 team members, they’ll need them just to explain how the grid was decided…

    1. Bernie wants performance communism, of all the people I never thought I would associate the word communism with.

  4. COTD seems to suggest John Surtees died in F1. He’s of course still alive.

    1. I believe the COTD is referring to Henry Surtees who died last year in F2, rather than his father John.

    2. But John’s son Henry died in F2, of course.


      1. Yeah i know. So what?

    3. i was thinking that if the halo is brought in to F1 then it is pretty certain that the junior formulae will have it too.

  5. “Then whoever won the race before the session, the last race, we’d have to come up with some sort of a format so that the winner would have time added onto their qualifying to mix the grid up.” – BE

    Absolutely incredible. The more outrageous the idea seems, the more he is certain to pursue it.

  6. Bernie and a few others have talked about mixing up the grid. Why have a performance based grid with the advantage going to the faster man, then change it?

    If you want a mixed grid, simply draw lots. That removes the pantomime and achieves his mixed grid.

    But, I do not see the point of penalising someone because they are winning. For example : The underdog who takes the chance and wins in the rain will then suffer for his victory.

    I’d rather two races, a normal race an a shorter reverse grid for less points.

    However, overall I’d rather we just see how this new qualy works out. Changing it again risks the millions of dollars spent by teams looking like a farcical and frivolous waste.

    1. I agree with that @hare. Its simple, everyone can understand it and it is also fair to drivers. On top of that, they could do a fast qualifying to determine the order of drawing the lots if they want to keep fast laps being set in there.

      And one could have celebrities there to do the drawing and make a bit of a show out of it (including betting on the draw off course).

      not a fan of two races myself, as it takes away the focus from the main event.

      1. Changing it again risks the millions of dollars spent by teams looking like a farcical and frivolous waste.

        Prophecy? Or just common sense. I reckon the latter.

    2. The only point for time penaulty is to place fast drivers in the middle of the pack so they HAVE to overtake which is for fans the point to see F1. I think this is what Bernie in his mind has and this is a good idea (damn something possitive)

      1. It’s too contrived. It’s a hack. Overly complicating the situation.

        I appreciate we all want to see a faster car put back and forced to work for the victory. But thats what reverse grids do.

        The biggest problem really is the fans grasping and understanding what’s going on enough to get involved and root for a driver or team.

        The more complicated the rules, the harder it will be to get new comers to stick around. It’s a barrier to entry.

        1. “I appreciate we all want to see a faster car put back and forced to work for the victory.”@hare Do we?

          In the GPDA survey only 18% of fans voted in favor of mixed grids.

          IMO the fastest driver should start at the front if he qualifies there & if F1 ever did anything to reverse or mix up grids I’d simply turn off because IMO reversing or randomizing grids are just about the most artificially gimmicky thing they could ever do.

          1. Fair comment.

            If you read the end of my first comment, You’ll see we agree with each other.

  7. Looking at how some drivers spend money I can’t help but think: Why aren’t there many more Eddie Irvines?

  8. I’m not entirely sure that I like the idea of Ecclestone’s F1. I’m not happy with the way it is now, but my word his ideas sound simply ridiculous. I’d rather watch what we have now than his fantasy…

  9. If Berny’s still so desperate to make the grid more random, why not do away with the driving element of qualifying altogether.
    I’m sure there are far more interesting ways to determine the grid…
    Like a bake off competition, a talent show, a spelling bee or something else that would appeal to a wider audience. They could have celebrity judges or have fans vote on social media.

    1. So funny, probably because it rings so true!

      How about…

      Strictly F1: Drivers have to dance with key F1 figures, present and past. Affairs lead to driver moves to other teams. Eddie Jordan gets himself tied up in knots in the live performances but still gets all the best inside info. Monisha Kaltenborn is seen to dance with more drivers than the rules allow. Alonso is desperate to dance with Toto despite a ridiculous height difference. Some outrageous latin style Cuban heels help, but Red Bull later protest their legality and claim they were based on a stolen Ferrari design anyway. Merc drivers have to wear ‘performance equalising’ diving boots (yes, diving) and Lewis cries, “he touched me, man!” when Rosberg brushes past him during a group dance.

  10. New quali format:

    22 fans will be picked randomly in every race (if there are enough in the stands, if not the stewards will come in) to drive one car each. The position they end up being is the starting grid for the race. If this doesn’t produce the desired results due to car advantages, we will scrap the cars all together and give them bikes (and the mechanics cannot touch them), with an off-road tyre on the front and a road tyre at the back, pressure of those tyres will be determined by pirelli, and has to be at the point where a simple mistake can make those tyres explode. It will be called in that case Le Grand Tour de Prix of whatever country.

    For the race, obviously, the cars have to start in the tyres used in qualifying. In a situation where the qualifying was made using bicycles, the 10 first drivers have to start with bicycle tires.

    In case this is not random, stupid or crazy enough just give me time, I’m sure I can come up with something. Or ask Bernie he has plenty of ideas

  11. WilliamB (@william-brierty)
    11th March 2016, 8:22

    Why do things by halves, Bernie? Why not just restrict the championship leader to only having three tyres?

  12. Memo to Bernie:

    Subject: Qualifying.

    To ensure we have more potential for a mixed grid and to reward good drivers that have terrible cars, qualifying will be changed as follows.

    1) The FIA randomly select a single car 30 minutes before the start of qualifying.
    2) Each Driver takes turns at a hot lap in that car.
    3) The driver with the fastest lap starts with his own car on pole, second fastest alongside and so on.
    4) If someone crashes the car or it breaks down, a new car is selected and we start the process all over.

    Makes as much sense as all the other gimmics and at least we’d see whether or not some drivers really have talent.

  13. I like how Massa always talks himself up, and never admits that Bottas was the better driver for most of the season. He says, he started the season stronger than Bottas and at some point they were neck and neck, and it was only luck that got Bottas the larger points total. I also like how he says he’s in ‘demand’ for 2017… Pfft

    1. Isn’t that the behaviour of all drivers? Apart from driving they are quite good at making excuses

    2. RaceProUK (@)
      11th March 2016, 10:25

      You’re expecting an F1 driver to openly say “Honestly, I’m a bit rubbish really”?

    3. @todfod I think Bottas is experiencing plenty of pressure from his much older Brazilian teammate. If Massa had a smooth season I would not be surprised to see him finish ahead of the Finn.

  14. The mews today…

    Williams want to go racing, Bernie wants show to be artificially better. Lewis is out of touch. Racing driver believes in himself…

    Lets talk qualifying…

    1 lap each, championship order used, so leader first. Order gives slowest cars best conditions to outperform.
    You start the race on tires used in qualifying.

    Lets talk performance equalisation. There should be some. Perhaps something as simple as reduced fuel flow for championship top 3 or 5. Give them just a slight disadvantage. Other than that only thing I see helping is longtime rule stability.

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