Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Albert Park, 2016

F1 chiefs ignored warnings about new qualifying format – Hamilton

2016 Australian Grand Prix

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Mercedes engineers warned Formula One chiefs the new qualifying format would fail to deliver excitement, according to Lewis Hamilton.

The elimination qualifying system was widely derided after making its debut in this weekend’s Australian Grand Prix. Team bosses have already called for it to be dropped before the next round of the championship.

But according to Hamilton the failings of the new system came as no surprise to Mercedes.

“This whole ‘out-one-lap’ is neat but I think they’re just saying it was not so exciting for the fans to watch because of people sitting in the garages,” Hamilton told reporters after qualifying.

“But all my engineers said that was going to be the case. And they said ‘we’ve told the FIA that is is going to be the case’ – or whoever, FOM – and they ignored them.”

“For me it’s just proved to me how smart my engineers are my engineers are. They’re even smarter than I thought.”

However Hamilton is against calls for F1 to go back to the previous qualifying system.

“Perhaps this is a step in the wrong direction but I wouldn’t say go back to the old way because we’ve had it for years,” he said. “Let’s try and take a step back and find another route that’s even more exciting.”

“And somebody find out what the fans want. Has anyone asked? I’m sure they want to see more driving. So I advise that they all start messaging in to everyone, to F1 or whoever, and say this is how we want it.”

2016 Australian Grand Prix

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    Keith Collantine
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    30 comments on “F1 chiefs ignored warnings about new qualifying format – Hamilton”

    1. Guys, I’m not joking here (though it’s going to sound like one) – I fell asleep as quali started and woke up as Hamilton crossed the finish line for his last lap – exactly what did I miss that has everyone in such agreement that it didn’t work?

      1. @williamsjones Well basically on Q1 everyone still running twice and the track quite full. Q2, only people who has realistic chance going to Q3 run twice, all others run once only. Q3, only the Mercs run twice. The most fatal blow is shortly after the first set on runs, Ferrari who actually in 2nd and 3rd position at that moment (Rosberg messed up his first run and only managed 4th) announced they wont run again. That basically ended Q3 with over 6 mins remaining on the clock, and the Mercs ran twice because Rosberg need to pass the Ferraris and Hamilton to protect his pole, both of them basically not having any kind of resistance from the Ferraris or any other team. Also many drivers shown get out of the car before they got actually eliminated, which means no cars keep lapping the circuit to save themselves from elimination like envisioned by FIA/FOM.

      2. Half the field got eliminated by the clock running out on them before they could get a lap in. It finished with nobody on the track. It was pretty bad.

      3. @williamjones Basically, when one driver was knocked out, the two drivers ahead of him in the order weren’t basically knocked out as well as they had no time to improve, and those ahead didn’t have any incentive to be out on track and so we would have about 2-3 minutes of empty tracks about 5-6 times in Q1 and Q2. And then in Q3, for the last runs, only Rosberg and Hamilton went out with 6 minutes left and thus for the last 4 minutes, there was 0 action.

      4. Also some teams clearly settled for positions e.g. Force India, at the end of Q2 they were 9th and 10th with no risk of being bumped because 11th downwards were already eliminated so they were happy to settle for the first positions with a free starting tyre choice for the race.

        Others because they didn’t want to use another set of tyres which could in turn compromise their race.

        1. Thanks guys, looks like I really didn’t miss much :/ See you at race time, hope that goes better!

    2. “And somebody find out what the fans want. Has anyone asked?”

      Yes, in fact I think the GPDA’s survey results specifically stated that the qualifying format didn’t need any changes.

      1. True, about the only thing that was working got changed.

        Seeing the little red number ticking down to zero next to the 3-letter name of a driver and the word ‘PIT’ – could motor racing get any more exciting than that?

        The system obviously meant that (a) the last placed drivers were probably going to have insufficient time to react and wouldn’t even bother staying out, and (b) the end of the final session would have all the atmosphere of a Tesco’s car park two hours after closing time.

    3. Looks more and more that the management of F1 suffers from Alzheimer. Whatever they do, the mess deepens.

    4. – driver Px is 40s away from finishline with only 30s to go, KNOCKED OUT
      – driver Px-1 is also KNOCKED OUT because he’s too far behind on the out-lap
      – driver Px-2 is also knocked out because he’s still in the pits and can’t finish out-lap and timed lap in time.

      I’m not an engineer but I could have predicted that, should I apply for a job at Mercedes?

    5. Interesting that Hamilton talks of MY team and MY engineers. What happened to WE and OUR?

      Last week he was complaining about not getting special treatment in a casino. At least he was being let off with taking selfies on a motorbike, but that will not have done anything to curb his growing arrogance.

      1. I think you’re fetching it a bit too much there pal. He never said my team, but he did say his engineers because as a matter of fact they are his engineers. Don’t they both have their own engineers or did something change in their setup that I don’t know about?

      2. @ians, I really think you are reading a bit too much into that statement – how many times have we seen a driver talk about how he is going to go back and talk with “my” engineers about the performance of the car after a practise session, for example?

      3. ColdFly F1 (@)
        19th March 2016, 10:36

        @ians, I think there is absolutely nothing wrong in the way Hamilton brings this.
        Actually this is probably by far the best interview I’ve seen him doing for the past 2 years.

      4. @ians, it’s really so pathetic that no matter what is going on or what is said, as long as Hamilton is in the mix, some people have to forget about the sport and focus on the person. Dude…. get over your hang-ups, whatever those may be!

        1. Don’t get me wrong. I have been a big fan of Hamilton’s racing since before he was in F1. (I just wish F1 would let drivers race but that is another debate.)

          My worry is that Hamilton will go the way so many other celebrities have gone when they achieve fame and fortune, from George Best to James Hunt to Johnny Manziel. They are surrounded by people who live off them and do not want to jeopardise that by telling them some home truths. It can quickly spiral out of control.

          These remarks make it sound as if he is starting down that road. I only hope someone can help him before it gets out of control.

      5. What an obtuse comment. I bet you yell at clouds too

        1. @stubbornswiss @trublu Quite a bit of the critisims on HAM are nonsensical and unfair but I don’t get why people just strawman & generalise someone (possibly undeservingly!) because of that.

      6. You sure he was let off for taking selfies, my understanding is he was not prosecuted because the New Zealand police force said they had insufficient evidence to show an offence had been committed, that is a little different from “getting off”. As far as the Casino episode is concerned, do you actually know how he was treated by the casino, there was not much reported that I saw, and Lewis did not even go into details of his treatement.

        And he is correct using the term “my engineers’ because that is what they are, yes they all work for Mercedes but that side of the garage are Lewis’s guy’s.

        Give a man a break and stop slagging off everything Ham does.

    6. ..and look how smart I am since I posted the exact prediction on gpupdate way before the qualifying start.
      ..you are welcome Lewis.

      1. I guess your social media reach sux.

        But prediction is good.

        1. lol burn

    7. FOM needs to change.

    8. Michael Brown
      19th March 2016, 14:33

      “We have the technology,” FOM claimed, then it took until a few drivers were eliminated before they could put in the timer.

    9. Why are the drivers not pounding in lap after lap? Why are they giving up half way through a session?

      The tyres are a big part of the answer. Pirelli once again exerts an undue influence on the sport.

      1. This qualifying format was decided 3 weeks ago. The tyres that were used in this session were already in transit to AUS, when the change was decided. Hardly Pirellis fault on this occasion.

        1. Michael Brown
          19th March 2016, 22:57

          They mean that the fragility of Pirelli’s tires are the issue. You can’t be expected to put in lap after lap when the tires drop off and you’re expected to start on them in Q2.

    10. I’m an American, but I’m going to give it my best to make sure I get the parlance correct.

      “The new qualifying is bloody awful.”

      1. Struth Dave, you’re not wrong. Me cobber called it “the biggest mistake since they introduced the flamin’ cane toad”.

    11. I arrived at the track 20 minutes into the session, I don’t feel like I missed much.

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