Which qualifying system should F1 use?

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That Formula One’s new qualifying system has failed to win fans over will not come as a surprise to many readers of F1 Fanatic. More than three-quarters of you did not want to see it introduced to begin with.

The verdict among those following the session on F1 Fanatic Live was almost unanimously negative. Criticism was pouring in via comments and on social media before the chequered flag had fallen on Q3 – mostly because the cars had also stopped circulating long before then.

F1’s new qualifying system came about after Bernie Ecclestone proposed a new means of shaking up the grid to stop the Mercedes drivers from starting every race from pole position. The resulting compromise hasn’t worked, and top team principals are already calling for change.

But what should F1 do? Lewis Hamilton suggested asking the sport’s fans for their views – so let’s do just that:

Stick with the current elimination system

Ditching the elimination system immediately would be an embarrassing U-turn. It would also be too hasty: the full implications of the new format won’t be understood until it has been used for at least a few more races, perhaps even an entire season.

Keeping it would give fans and teams alike more time to adjust to it and appreciate its qualities as well as its flaws. Formula One Management didn’t have its television graphics package ready in time for the first race but when it does arrive it may help the latest system find favour.

Go back to the old knock-out system

The strongest argument against the new qualifying format was always that there wasn’t anything wrong with the old one. It was widely understood yet still capable of producing surprise results: the most recent time it was used one of the front-running teams made a mistake and had a car knocked out in Q1.

As a compromise solution the elimination format has clearly failed to present a new obstacle for the front-running teams. Rather, as suggested here previously, it may only have made things easier for them. Going back to the old system will be straightforward and avoid the sport having to explain another new format.

Use the ‘time penalty’ system Ecclestone wanted

F1 ended up with a new qualifying system for 2016 because Ecclestone wanted to introduce a new means of mixing up the grid. The proposal involved running the previous qualifying system then giving drivers a ‘time penalty’ based on their finishing position in the previous race.

For example if a driver won one race and took pole position for the next, they would be given a time penalty moving them down the grid. This would guarantee that F1 would not see the same driver winning every race and starting from pole position in the next one, creating a greater opportunity for uncertainty and varied outcomes.

I say

The best thing to be said about the elimination qualifying format is that it is far better than the idea Ecclestone originally proposed. His ‘time penalty’ plan comes from the same cheap box of tricks as double points.

Ecclestone has often complained that F1’s governance prevents him from doing exactly as he wishes. On this occasion that has served us well, for while elimination qualifying is a hasty compromise it has spared us an even lousier gimmick. ‘Time penalty’ qualifying has the same reek of artificiality as reverse grids.

However elimination qualifying is flawed for many reasons, most of which were apparent long before it was introduced despite the urgings of those who said we should ‘give it a chance’. It’s now had a chance, it failed miserably, and the best thing F1 can do to save face is go back to the previous knockout system without delay.

You say

Which qualifying system should F1 use? Cast your vote below and have your say in the comments.

Which qualifying system do you prefer?

  • None of the above (13%)
  • The proposed 'time penalty' qualifying system (3%)
  • The previous knockout qualifying system (81%)
  • The current elimination qualifying system (4%)

Total Voters: 673

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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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189 comments on “Which qualifying system should F1 use?”

  1. i would go back to 12 laps 1hour format from 90s

    1. @pawelf1 Although I think that could provide some good fun I think we would also see Ferrari and Mercedes do a lap or two and call it a day. What tyres are they going to do those laps on anyway…

      1. Give them a new set of tyres every 15 mins. Problem solved.

      2. Make 12 laps mandatory

        1. @melthom I’d rank that idea alongside the fuel token system which incentivized the teams to run around burning fuel for as many laps as possible.

      3. But thats 3 or 6 laps, remember in and outlaps count as full laps. You get 3 runs of 4 or 4 runs of 3 laps

    2. Agree. But in the 90s, it was an empty track for the first 20min.
      So let’s give drivers at least 15-18 laps. Or oblige them to use some laps in the first quarter of the session.

      Nevertheless: the simplier, the better.

      1. That is not true at all…take a look how it was happening back then. Minardis and Arrowses were quite oftem on the track right from the start. And commenters had the time to discuss about novelties as well.

    3. Yeah, absolutely!

    4. @pawelf1 me too. It would give us a better glimpse of the slower cars as well. What’s wrong with giving the drivers the chance to qualify as best as they can. If qualifying is invariably going to decide the racing, that’s Sunday’s and aero wake’s fault not qualifying. Whoever created this could make it work but above all clearly there’s not enough time nor tyres, they wanted the crescendo of the end of each Q session throughout the whole qualifying but you can’t have “love” without “making up”

      1. @pawelf1 @xtwl @racectrl @melthom @bebilou @proteus @peartree

        just a point about the old 1 hour/12 lap format.

        If there going to consider doing something like that they make it the Pre-1993 format as up until 1993 there was no lap limit, It was an hour (Well 2 because we had the Friday session as well) where drivers could do as many laps as they wanted & we did actually get an hour of constant running. The thing that hurt that old 1 hour format was the 12 lap limit & it was thanks to the 12 lap limit that we started seeing cars sitting in the pits & therefore no track action early on as nobody wanted to waste there lap allocation when the track was at its worst.

        All that been said I’d still prefer last year’s knockout system rather than the old 1 hour system because the knockout system is imo by far the best as we get a lot more excitement more often.

        1. @stefmeister

          That’s why i suggest a system were they get allocated a fresh set tyres every 15 mins, maybe forcing them to also return a set to ensure that they use them during that 15 period. Keeps the track action up.

          Removing the number of laps they are allowed to do maybe isn’t a bad idea though – Instead they will be limited by the life of the tyres.

        2. @stefmeister I agree that last year’s format was great, better than 12 laps, the thing is, I don’t need an artificial system for qualifying.

          1. only thing i dislike about last years format is it’s too long. shorten it all up.

    5. Fast teams have a massive advantage plus supply slower teams with a slower less powerful version of their engines. The way I would run this sport would be to undermine that say and well known advantage. I would have unfair rules to create fairness in the sport.
      Qualifying rules:
      First – Limit the supply of tyres to teams according to their strength.
      Second – Q3 strong teams could only use hard compound whilst the slower teams could use soft and as many as they would like.
      Third – Refuelling – slow teams could refuel as they pleased and fast teams only twice throughout the entire qualifying.

      That would create an artificial balance which would be monitored constantly.

      There is too much money at stake and the stronger teams get stronger and the weaker get weaker by default as per the current rules of the game. I wonder why nothing works when it comes to increasing competitiveness. Nothing will ever work.

      1. Boris (@daftmosquito)
        22nd March 2016, 8:21

        Nah, artificial limitations have already brought the sport where it is today!

    6. Here’s a solution: DROP THE PARC FERME AND TIRE LIMITATION RULES! If teams can setup their cars for qualifying and then be allowed to change them again for the race, you might just see some suprises in the order. Let them go out and search for the ultimate lap time. Front runners will make mistakes if they are forced to be on the limit. If you look at F1 history, there are many instances of cars that qualified well but predictabily faded in the race. There are World Champions in the past that were great on race day but were not consistant poll sitters. They were race technicians that new how to make their way through a field.
      If you qualify in race trim, with full tanks, and with the tyres you are going to start the race on, guess what? The order at the end of the first few laps, and the end of the race for that matter, is going to look an awfull lot like qualifying.

    7. An ‘open session’ format is what I kept coming back to, but I’ve had another idea..

      Qualifying is 1 hour long. During that time, each driver must set 3 timed laps, 1 on each of the 3 tyre compounds. The fastest aggregate time is given pole. Drivers can set their times at any point throughout the session, and can set multiple lap times on a particular compound (But only their fastest lap time for each compound will count towards their aggregate). Pirelli would produce a few more sets of each compound for each driver to allow this.

      The big problem with this system is it wouldn’t work during wet sessions. I’m trying to figure something out for that, but I’ve only had that idea for a few minutes so give me time!

    8. 100% agree!

      1. Sorry commented on the wrong post :(

    9. Everyone knows that the most exciting races are the ones caused by a shaken up grid, usually caused by wet qualifying. The obvious thing to do is to reverse the grid from the last race results but this mean qualifying would be redundant. So what we need is a system that keeps the integrity and excitement of qualifying but gives us a shaked up grid. So here it is, ROQ – Race Optimised Qualifying. You can read about it here https://www.docdroid.net/12nts/roq-race-optimised-qualifying.pdf.html. Basically it a reversed grid split into three sections and those sections are ordered according to final qualifying times. i.e. each driver is battling to get to the front of his section. To add further spice I would add points to first ten in each qualifying (just as in races) and at the end of the season the top ten would be awarded the equivalent of two races worth of points. All details in the document.
      Quite simply it would transform F1 into the spectacle we all crave, overtaking would be the order of the day and those that do it the best will be rewarded. The question is: Is F1 brave enough to ROQ?

    10. 12 laps 1hr but you must do 6 laps in first half hour. eliminate slowest 6 cars in first half hour.

    11. I think the problem with that is the more time and chances you give the teams the more consistent it will be.

      I liked last years system because it created a pressure cooker environment but also kept cars on track.

    12. Simple – go back to the 1990’s format, 12 laps in an hour. Whatever tyres they want, whatever fuel load they want, whenever they want to go for it. Fastest car/driver gets pole. So what if nobody is on the track for the first 30 minutes – when you are at the race live, the suspense is part of the whole weekend experience. Besides, these days it’d give everybody a chance to text their friends. For the TV audience, commentators can fill the time with anecdotal stories and F1 background stuff. Seems to me, F1 is taking too many cues from NASCAR and IndyCar.

    13. Why not have 21 knock out rounds run consequetively! All cars run a single tyre for the whole session and full fuel!
      The top teams will have to pace themselves to keep some tyre life for later on, but stay ahead of the lower teams going all guns blazing early on!?

  2. ColdFly F1 (@)
    19th March 2016, 10:13

    Sorry Sorry Sorry 1000x Sorry.
    I voted ‘current’, only to think that ‘current’ is what we had in 2015.

    Of course (read my previous posts) would I keep the one we had last year as there was nothing wrong with it.

    1. That explains 1 of the 2 votes the elimination style has currently, as to the other voter please explain yourself ;-)

    2. I’m sorry too for siding with Bernie…
      This farce qualification won’t happen if we still use old format added by proposed ‘time penalty’.

    3. Aw, nooooooo!

  3. David Leaney
    19th March 2016, 10:15

    I liked the new format for Q1 but think Q2 & Q3 should go back to the old format.

    1. Apex Assassin
      19th March 2016, 10:56

      It’s not feasible. The tyres can’t last the whole session, there isn’t enough time to service the cars during a session and this was at circuit with a short pitlane and fast lap time. No way this works for Spa or Singapore etc.

      1. I think elimination qualifying worked until Q3 which failed but it’s too soon to be sure. We’ve had plenty of sessions in the past with little action, if Rosberg had a better first lap we could have had a thrilling conclusion.

        I think it would be a shame to scrap it instantly and be guilty of the same knee jerk reaction that we complain about the FIA doing.

  4. Eliminate the elimination qualifying, eliminate Ecclestone, bring back the qualifying we already had that was not broken.

    Look out for a worse fiasco than this with the 2017 regs. It seems many mostly universally accepted ideas on how to improve F1 are being pushed aside in favor of some very questionable proposals that most experts feel are the opposite direction F1 should be going. Much like this qualifying debacle.

    1. “Eliminate Ecclestone” lol.
      Or every 90s a different driver slaps Berny about the face with a wet kipper. That would be great for ‘the show’.

      1. Hahahaha the thought of that made me cry with laughter!

      2. “every 90s a different driver slaps Berny about the face with a wet kipper”

        Love it!

    2. McLaren and Red Bull are playing for keeps– they just called the FIA’s bluff and forced the FIA into keeping the most maligned change in F1’s recent history in place for another race weekend– at the exact same time the GPDA called out the FIA, FOM and Strategy group for being a bunch of idiots,

      I wouldn’t count on Todt or Ecclestone being responsible for the 2017 regulations.

  5. Joni (@theflyingfinns)
    19th March 2016, 10:19

    If there NEEDS to be some kind of a ‘elimination’ system, I’d propose a split-qualifying:
    -Q1 is 16 minutes, after 9 minutes the bottom 3 is eliminated; in the end of the session another 3 is eliminated
    -Q2 is 15 minutes, after 7 1/2 minutes bottom 3 is out; same in the end
    -That leaves a top 10 for Q3 (14 mins), after 7 mins bottom 5 is eliminated; top 5 fights for the pole in the last 5 minutes

    That would require more tyre sets I suppose, but would ensure action for whole sessions + gets rid of this new ’90-second rule’

    1. Joni (@theflyingfinns)
      19th March 2016, 10:20

      Correction to Q1: after 8 minutes of course :)

  6. The knockout qualifying system was good and should be back. Today was a farce, even Horner, Vettel and Wolff say the same. It’s a shame because we should’ve been talking about teams making impressively big laptime gains not about this terrible qualifying format.

    1. Precisely, Michal !

      Succinctly….’If it ain’t broke don’t try to fix it !’

      No qualifying system can ever answer all requirements, simply because there are so
      many conflicting needs. But………… the knockout system employed up to the end of last
      season ( 2015) was and is by far the best, the fairest, the least complicated.
      It was and is superb instrument for carrying out the job it is supposed to do….namely the
      ordering of a fair and properly representative grid that is fair to all and even more importantly
      the SAFEST of all ! Other systems have been tried, none was perfect, some were crude, some did not take proper account of all parameters, and others were grossly unfair or worse, downright dangerous.

      What we saw today was a significant demonstration of what can happen when ill-thought-out
      new ideas fail miserably because they do not take adequate account of all the vital requirements
      in F1 qualifying. Indeed, NO system could ever be absolutely perfect, but our most recent
      long-term system answered nearly all vital needs. It was superior in every way to it’s predecessors
      and made today’s amateurish attempt at revision show just how difficult it is to get these things right.

      To me there is only one solution to this unnecessary issue…… if it ain’t broke etcetera….

  7. Q1 and q2 as it was last year and en q3 with one lap shootout

    1. Q3 was easily the most farcical of the lot, so that’s an interesting stance.

      1. I’m pretty sure @marussi means the one-lap shootout of the… early 2000’s, I think

    2. Pat Ruadh (@fullcoursecaution)
      19th March 2016, 15:23

      I agree make q3 a top 10 superpole and it fixes the only real niggle with the old system

      1. @fullcoursecaution what was the only real niggle of the old system and how does this fix it? I can’t see a problem with the old system, it worked well and gave us a full hour of on-track action.

        1. Pat Ruadh (@fullcoursecaution)
          19th March 2016, 17:25

          @jerseyf1 just that the q3 drivers got two bites of the cherry, which took the pressure off the hot laps a little and generally meant predictable performance-order grids. Changing to q3 superpole might mix up the order somewhat though it may lose some of the grandstand finish factor

  8. Honestly Q1 was exciting but that’s it, Q2 and Q3 showed flaw of this system, so lets stick with knockouts.

    They should have tried experimenting this qualifying system in GP2 first, and after several trial and errors brought to F1.

    Anyway this boat has already sunk.

    1. The Canadian TV feed (at 2 a.m.) did not show much excitement even in Q1 — and Q3 was an utterly predictable non-event; you’re quite correct, the boat has sunk. But anyone who follows F1 knew it would sink, and many of us tried to say so.

      Qualifying serves two purposes. First a safety consideration, putting the fastest cars on the front of the race grid to try and avoid too much mayhem at the first corner. Secondly to eliminate inappropriate entries (the 107% rule, and today everyone sneaked in with a worst deficit of 106.9%.)

      The “new” fiasco-format was doomed to failure because of weight (fuel) and tyre degradation. Stop, refuel and change tyres was just about meaningfully possible in Q1, but totally artificial in the shorter Q3.

      F1 is now all “spectacle” and barely “motor sport.” We now have the proof that stupid ideas can’t even improve the spectacle, let alone the sport…

  9. I am upset today as I had assumed that someone really had thought of a clever system that I could just not fully comprehend. Well, as Dumbledore would say, ‘the evidence so far suggests that that would be optimistic to the point of foolishness.’

    I was one of those, who said: “Give the elimination qualifying system a chance.” So F1 did and today we all saw that it did not work. One race is often not enough to judge anything but at the moment nothing suggests that we will have anything other than another clock-watching festival at the next races. So I am saying let us go back to the old knock-out system and replace Charlie Whiting, the apparent “father” of the elimination qualifying, with someone, who has more competence.

    As for the time penalty system, I can only say that, when watching qualifying, I do not pay much attention to those drivers, who already have a grid penalty because I know that their result will not be “real” anyway. So I think that Bernie’s system would kill the qualifying for me even if it (theoretically) has the potential to (artificially) make the race more exciting.

    1. The apparent “father” of the elimination qualifying is Bernie TBH.

      1. not according to niki lauda. whiting carries that distinction i believe’

        1. …pretty certain NOTHING happens in F1 without Bernie’s “Insane Old Guy” rubber stamp all over it ;-)

    2. @girts I saw that interview with Lauda where he identified the genesis of this system as coming from Charlie Whiting.

      Whiting was also the person who came with the idea for standing restarts (fortunately abandoned) and more recently for the season to be broken up into regional sub-championships.

      Now I think that Charlie has a tough and often thankless task, but I have to question why Formula One’s Race Director has any say at all in Strategy Group meetings. I can understand why he might be consulted about the detailed implementation or effect of proposed changes, but I don’t think it his job to come up with ideas about how to “improve the show” or affect the fundamental direction of the sport.

      Just as the separation of powers requires that separate and independent arms of government respectively make, implement and adjudicate the laws of a nation, Charlie’s job should be limited to implementing the rules of F1 as determined by others. It’s high time that he stopped sticking his fingers in the rule making pie.

      1. Actually I now recall that it was Paul Hembury who had the idea for regional sub-championships. Anyway, the point remains, Whiting should not have a role in decisions like the qualy rules.

      2. @tdog Perhaps you are right, I have been unimpressed with Charlie Whiting exactly because of those ideas that you mention but maybe he should just stay away from the rule-making process. I also believe that currently it is completely messed up. F1 needs a strong and independent group of people, who would write the rules. Then Ecclestone or anyone else could come up with whatever they want and it would be nothing more than an opinion.

      3. Yup absolutely @tdog. The thing is he’s Bernie’s agent-in-place, and he’s not that clever. I don’t think Bernie is these days either.

  10. The system we had last year was perfectly fine and arguably would have been more intriguing with the new tyre regulations.

    The new format is flawed, rushed, a complete mess, undramatic, silly, boring, a complete flop and the list goes on. The hilarious thing is it was designed to produce some ‘shocking’ results, but we hardly got that. It’s all well and good trying to tweak it but it took nine seasons to get the knockout qualifying right, and I don’t want to have to wait until 2025 for the elimination qualifying right. These tweaks look great on paper, but there’s no guarantee they will work. As it stands, the current elimination qualifying is simply useless.

    Any qualifying format which explores the idea of ‘qualifying races’, ‘reverse grids’ or ‘ballast (weight or time)’ simply makes me sick at the thought of it. If we have to have elimination qualifying over any of those, then so be it, it’s better than any of them, but I still want the knockout format back.

    F1 ditched a completely silly new qualifying format in 2005, so the least they could do is admit that they completely messed up and return to what is known to work. How difficult can it be?

    I feared that the elimination qualifying was going to be a complete farce, but it is actually worse than I first feared. It has zero place in F1. At all.

    1. *for the elimination qualifying to be right

    2. @craig-o I have often been thinking about ‘qualifying races’ and wondering what they would be like. Please do not get me wrong – I also think that right now everyone should stop experimenting and return to the old format but I just wonder what the pros and cons of a 1-hour (or shorter) qualifying race (no points awarded) would be. Let us assume that separate sets of tyres are allocated for this ‘race’ and that there is one mandatory pit stop. FP3 gets replaced by the old qualifying sessions and determines the starting grid for the qualifying race.

      + All 22 cars would be on the track all the time so spectators at the circuit would see more action and would also be able to easily follow the session
      – Drivers would probably not want to risk too much simply to improve the grid positions for Sunday so the races might often turn into dull processions

      What do you think?

      1. This was pretty much the exact system that was suggested at one of the F1 strategy meetings. There would be a Qualifying race (grid determined by FP3), which would set the grid for the Race on Sunday. However according to Autosport journalist Dieter Rencken, this was dropped because TV broadcasters complained that they wouldn’t be able to show as much ads in (whereas at the moment, quite a few have ad breaks in between the 3 quali sessions:

        “Except that when he [Ecclestone] bounced the concept off TV broadcasters prior to the Strategy Group session they slated it on the basis that the gaps between Q1/2/3 generate the majority of advertising revenues, and changes to that format would see them lose heavily. A one-hour sprint race would clearly fail to deliver the same commercial windows.

        Channel 4’s business model is, for example, predicated upon commercially-loaded qualifying sessions to enable races to be broadcast ad-free. Indeed, a TV source suggested at least one broadcaster threatened to rip up its contract should traditional qualifying be substituted by a sprint race.”

        Personally I feel that won’t do anything to stop a dominant team starting off on pole on both the races though, which defeats the point of making things a bit less predictable.

        The problem with F1 is that there are too many parties with widly differing vested interests: Teams (Want to dominate and beat all the other teams, especially manufacturers), Drivers (Despite what they say in public, they’ll just do what the teams tell them to whether they like it or not – else they get fired), tyre suppliers (want to produces tyres that fit in with their brand goals & hog the glory for saving the sport), broadcasters (most of whom want to sell ads), and FOM (wants the sport to appeal to the most amount of viewers i.e. the casual fans – who’ll lets be honest, think a random/reverse grid is awesome cos casual fans love an underdog – in whatever way possible, whilst also attracting sport-wide sponsors).

      2. @girts I’ve always felt that the best way to determine a grid is by sending cars around on low fuel and seeing who can lap the circuit quicker than anyone else. I understand that there are indeed some pros to the idea of a qualifying race, but I do fear that it will mean an end of cars for example being a bit better in race pace than qualifying pace and so on. Take 2013 for example, where we had for part of the season Mercedes being insanely quick in qualifying but chewing up their tyres in the races and dropping back. There is that and what you mentioned regarding processional racing too.

  11. The previous system they had was good enough.

    I would prefer for them to reduce the times for FP 1 or FP 2 from 90 minutes to 1 hour and increase qualification to 90 minutes, so total time is static. Together with this introduce the system where you get the whole 90 minutes (previously 60 min) to do your qualification times and you have to start on the tyres you qualify on, but they take the best average over 2 laps on the same compound of tyre. Each car has to do 10 timed laps within 110% or is excluded from qualifying.

    That way lots of action on Saturday and quali is over more laps so it is a better reflection of pace. They will still have enough tyres as FP is reduced

  12. Single-lap-quali!

    Every driver gets one shot. No traffic, no tyre saving, no room for errors, same amount of tv exposure for every team.

    1. That single-lap format previously used in 2005 was even worse than this.

      1. It’s not the systems that are the problem, it’s the implementation.

        If this elimination idea allowed drivers coming last on a lap to finish their lap if started before the cut-off that would solve a lot of problems right there. Also remove the breaks and having one long session therefore allowing more time between elimations and more strategic variation with the ideal time to set a lap, and it could be perfect.

        Similarly the previous one-lap systems had their own flaws in the implementation, using race fuel and reverse orders for running (putting the fastest cars on the least evolved track) and splitting the qualifying sessions over multiple days. 2004’s implementation of the single lap qualifying was the best (yet could still be improved), but was overshadowed by Schumacher’s domination of that time and got needlessly changed to something worse in ’05.

        Changing rules unnecessarily is nothing new to the formula.

        1. johnny stick
          19th March 2016, 14:17

          The problem with this chagne is that the guy (or girl) that is about to be eliminated is saved, but the next guy becomes thrown out without even a chance. This is another problem that wasnt addressed. if one person is saved at the last minute, then someone gets bumped out without knowledge they were on the bubble.

          This doesnt work when it takes longer than 90 seconds to establish a new time.

    2. @srga91 How to determine who runs first? Since the track is always improving on a dry, normal day, the last runner will have an advantage over others.

      1. yep @evered7, @srga1 either you from something like wdc position, reverse of that, or something like random – in the 1st case you will see the fastest cars with best opportunity, so less chance of upset from back, in the other two you will never see the fastest cars get the best lap.

        I think if you want to have a mix grid, you really have to go to random and abandon qualifying – that’s a bit rubbish, so we won’t. Anything other but with deliberate mixing up means that cars aren’t always going for fastest lap (because why take the risk?) but for the best strategic choise. And with cars going for fastest lap, you will end up with fastest first.

        They really do need to just make sure the race is good too, there is no real alternative while holding qualifying to be about who’s fastest.

        1. @bosyber The likeliness of a mixed-up grid can vary without artificial means, though. You can have a qualifying system where the order is very likely to be only down to ultimate pace, or you can have a system where there’s more opportunities for something to go wrong, for either a driver or team to get it wrong.

          12 laps in 60 minutes is much more predictable than one-lap qualifying, where everyone has only got a single chance. The latter would have more mistakes and drivers out of position without being in any way artificial.

          1. Last paragraph spot on. I take it we +1 on here rather than like :).

      2. @evered7 @bosyber @srga91
        The driver order is determined by drivers themselves – the fastest driver from final practice gets to choose first and so on. That would be fair.

      3. @evered7 @bosyber @enigma

        Running order to be determined by championship position or finishing positions of the last race.
        So the driver that is leading the championship or has won the last race will have to start first, with possibly the worst track conditions and backmarkers or early retirements from last race can get a good grid position.

        1. @evered7 @bosyber @enigma That’s to some extent artificial then.

          1. Wow, I’ve managed to mention myself instead of @srga91 !

    3. @srga91 I’m also a big fan of the one-by-one qualy. I really liked it. Kind of reminiscent of alpine skiing!

      Every lap is closely watched, every error is punished. Everyone has a single chance.

    4. i propose a similar idea to 1 lap shootout, but i would have each driver having 3 laps to set a time and at the end top time is on pole, drivers go out one by one in a order determined by random drawing leaving the pit lane 1 minute apart

      1. oh and the drivers complete 1 lap and then come back in and then go back to the end of the queue until their turn comes round again, they dont do 3 laps in a row

    5. I agree with single-lap quali, but it should be a single-lap in each Q1, Q2 and Q3 session. Send cars out every 20-30secs, running order = fastest from previous session runs last. Simple.

      Oh, and if you mess up in the subsequent session, your times been deleted, so you’re starting from the back ;). That’s a better way of mistakes by team or driver mixing the grids up :).

    6. Agreed, one shot, fresh set of tyres for everyone.

      Every team/driver gets an equal amount of TV exposure and there is a risk/reward element to pushing yourself up the grid.

  13. None of the above: I want to see the current system with the old Q3, because I really think there’s something there in Q1 and Q2 if they can do pitlane refuelling and/or use harder tyre compounds.

    1. Times done on harder tyres are not competitive enough for a car to make it out of Q1 or Q2. One by one elimination means that the position of a driver who has put in a reasonable time gets safer and safer as the session goes on, 7 people can knock him out, then 6, then 5……….then just 2, until finally only one. Part of the excitement in the old system was that as the track improves at the end of the session a driver could jump up (or be knocked down) lots of places right at the very end after the chequered flag.

    2. johnny stick
      19th March 2016, 14:21

      There is another problem with this system. it is very dangerous in the pits. Too much chaos with every team trying to get going and keep going. someone is going to get hurt.

      Bring back last years, if for nothing else, for safety of the crews.

    3. To keep this format, you’d need a lot more than 90 seconds.

      If, say, it was three minutes and after 90 seconds the next driver up got a three minute timer that ran concurrently (and so on), you’d be getting closer to a system that might work after some further adjustment.

      Still, it’s hard to see how we’ll upset the running order that is dictated by pace by making it harder for the slower cars to progress.

      The previous formats were a better way of giving the race more potential of an upset by giving the slower cars a choice of tyre to start the race on.

  14. The every 90sec elimination format for Q1, and Q2, but Q3 with all 8 cars on track until the chequered flag would be a better compromise, or just give them more sets of tyres for Q3.

  15. I fail to see any advantages to elimination qualifying. It front-loads the running and doesn’t achieve its goal of having drivers fight to retain their place.

    Ill-conceived and entirely unnecessary.

    1. WilliamB (@william-brierty)
      19th March 2016, 14:24

      @vettel1 It speaks volumes as to the intelligence of F1’s current raft of team bosses, something tells me that neither Ross Brawn nor Patrick Head would have advocated such a brazenly abysmal system. Everyone who voted for this system needs to publicly apologize to the fans for facilitating this farce, albeit in the likely case that it was a shotgun choice between an elimination farce and a ‘time penalty’ meltdown, the correct choice was made.

      Does that change the fact that ‘elimination qualifying’ has firmly cemented its place within the worst five regulations ever adopted by F1? No. Does the qualifying system have anything to with a lack of wheel-to-wheel action, or performance monopoly? No. Increasingly, Bernie Ecclestone’s influence on F1 resembles that of Donald Trump’s influence on American politics: he is fueling anger, apathy and division in the process of eternally spouting medieval and dim-witted manure.

  16. I expect my opinion to be somewhat unpopular, but I thought the elimination qualifying was ok for the first two sessions, even though it failed miserably in the final session.

    For the final session, I reckon a single lap shootout for the top 8 or 10 might do something to spice things up a bit. Cars go out in the order 10th – 1st from the previous session. Out laps/in laps have to be done at quicker than a particular lap delta (using the technology that VSC has). Next car exits the pits when the previous car passes the pit exit and does their out lap.

    The end result is you get to see everybody do one flying lap, once they are finished, you can cut to the next guy just about to start his flying lap, and so on. Because the fastest guy from Q2 is last to run, the pole position time will fall as each driver beats the last, culminating in the fastest guy being the last one out and having to beat everybody.

    Rain during the session will make things interesting, rather than make all the drivers go back to their garage. Drivers will have to go out.

    I don’t get the need to have as many cars on the track at the same time as a marker of excitement. I feel that qualifying shouldn’t strive to be like the race, it should be a different discipline. One driver, one car, the whole track to himself for one lap.

    1. Single lap qualifying is terrible for the spectators at the circuit.

  17. Q1 and Q2 can be quite entertaining with the current knockout-system, so I am in favour of giving it a try. For Q3 though, they should revert to the old system.

  18. Lol, I don’t even know the point of asking…. Isn’t it obvious? IF FIA is going through with this, then they should watch themselves before they end up getting themselves killed. Seriously, everyone is angry! FIA has officially ruined F1 now.

    1. The time was still running in both Q2 and Q3 with no action on track whatsoever. So all the good old last minute scrap and tension for 1st place is gone. The top 3 put in the lap with the first few minutes of Q3 and that was it…

  19. Unlimited qualifying engines, unlimited amount of qualifying tyres. A pre-qualifying on Friday morning to reduce the number of cars down from roughly 35 to 30, then two timed sessions one hour each on Friday and Saturday evening, the slowest 4 don´t make the grid, the remaining 26 are simply ordered by their fastest time.

    Ok, I might settle for the last previous system of knockout-qualifying.

  20. I think they should go back to the old system for Q1 and Q2, but do a one flying lap style as we had some years back for the guys in Q3. The order that they go out to take the final lap in could be determined by reversing the Q2.

    IMO that would be awesome!

  21. I really liked this new elimination but it can use some tweaking. Especially Q3 needs to be hammered out.

    1. It might succeed if they add refuelling ban during qualifying!

  22. “Ditching the elimination system immediately would […] be too hasty”
    That’s a good one, considering the idea came out of the blue less than a month ago.

  23. machinesteve
    19th March 2016, 11:10

    Simple. One session – one hard tyre – cars fueled – one eliminated every 90 seconds.

    Or cars start on the grid in reverse order – one tyre – fueled – they race and last over the line each lap is eliminated until 9 are eliminated. Grid reforms start again….until last four who go into a one lap race off.

    1. That makes sense. The idea of the current qualy system seems very good to me, but it doesn’t work because drivers can’t do one quick lap after another.

      Though of course if they had to have a certain amount of fuel in the car, they would waste it as they did some 8 or 9 years ago.

  24. I vote for none of the above because couple of things:

    – We only have one quali with the new system and although it’s a disaster (but IMO not that bad, as I will say below) it still can improved upon. Personally I really like the idea of 12 laps on the 90’s but if I raise pitchfork for every changes, we won’t get the so called perfect last year format.

    – As someone says in other article, the amount of cars lapping the track is roughly the same, the difference is when. Last year format we basically sit idle for 6 mins after session began than see the cars running until the session ends. This year we see the cars running around when the session began and then sit idle for 6 mins until the session ends. Feels more anticlimactic? Yeah, but I think that’s only the psychological effect from seeing session timer at the top of the screen.

    – I don’t mind changing the format again, but not in the middle of the season especially only after 1 race, some minor tweak is acceptable though. As I said in previous poll when this system should be introduced, any changes should be at the start of the season unless it was critical or for safety reasons.

  25. Sometimes the old method is the best. One hour session, 12 laps, with a new set of tyres given to the drivers every 15 mins to ensure action through-out the whole hour.

    1. @racectrl But that system was so bad they spent years trying to find something better, which is how we got to the system in use up to last year.

      1. @jerseyf1

        To this day it is still my favourite format. I loved how it built up over the hour and we got to see MANY more full laps then we see these days. The only complaint was lack of track action in the first 20 or so minutes (which is a fair point). Giving the teams a new set of tyres every 15 minutes would solve this problem (also forcing the teams to return a used set to stop them hanging onto tyres for the very end of the session)

        1. Totally agree with you! That was the system running when I started watching F1 in 2000 as a 6 year old, and it was very simple, very fair, the best driver got the pole, everyone had more than 1 chance to improve and that meant you could see drivers beat each other for 60 minutes. Also you had the chance to look at the small teams in the early minutes, and then gradually the better and better teams came out of the pits, and the excitement just grew. I simply don’t know what was wrong with it. I found it even better than the normal Q1-Q2-Q3 system, where we have dashes of excitement, but everyone is out at the same time, so you can’t concentrate on everyone, and it’s a bit hard to follow sometimes, and still decided before the start of the last runs.

  26. By mistake i choose the current rules. I prefer the old system.
    If the rules allow the cars in fast lap ended it before the 90 sec limit expire maybe this system could be better, maybe!

  27. What if we had knockout-quali with infinite number of tires untill a Top 10 is reached.
    Then apply the old Q3-style quali.
    Or else have the old one back!

  28. I preferred the old system, but if F1 does need to have a qualifying skake up. How about this:

    One hour session split into 4 segments. All drivers can be on the track whenever they want.
    After 15mins each drivers best time is “locked” and cannot be improved. The times are reset and then the drivers best lap time in the next 15mins are also locked in and so on until the session finishes. The Grid is then decided by which driver set the fastest average lap time. Each segment could have different requirements like, all drivers have to use the harder compound of tyre in the first segment, and the softest in the last, or leave it to the teams to which tyre they want to run.

    Any love for this idea?

  29. I think they should go back to the old system for Q1 and Q2, but do a one flying lap style as we had some years back for the guys in Q3. The order that they go out to take the final lap in could be determined by reversing the Q2.

  30. The way I would do elimination is 66 minute session, all cars have to carry enough fuel for 60 minutes, one set of tyres allowed. Every 3 minutes the driver with the slowest lap is eliminated, and the times are wiped, meaning for the full session every driver actually has to be out on track setting times to stay in the running for poll.

  31. Returning to the 2015 format is the only sensible choice in my opinion. Elimination has been a failure, every single person involved in F1 has recognized it, it would be silly to continue with this format in my opinion.
    There’s no time to implement a new quali format, otherwise it is going to be rushed and that’s the reason why elimination qualifying has been such a failure.
    The time penalty doesn’t even deserve a comment.

  32. I am disappointed that Keith left out the option to vote for single lap qualifying, which I think ticks several boxes. We generally want a qualifying format that is exciting, fair, understandable, fast, tense, and, to help the race, produces slightly random results.

    I particularly liked Marussi’s comment suggesting that only the final Q3 session should be a single lap shootout, as that allows the fans attending to still see plenty of cars circulating in Q1 and Q2, resolving the biggest disadvantage it had when it was last applied to the entire field rather than the top 10. The shorter session would also help limit the chance of rain occasionally making it totally unfair. And the absence of traffic will consistently counter that unfairness, reducing the number of confusing penalties.

    A key benefit pleasing TV viewers and sponsors would be that every driver’s lap can be seen in its entirety, unlike last year’s system, when everyone simultaneously does their laps at the end. And yet it would retain the climatic nature missing from today’s qualifying format.

    Although there will generally be a grip advantage for those doing their laps at the end, it is less significant due to the limited running through the session. And by using the Q2 results to define that running order, it might improve Q2, as the quickest teams may now be tempted to run again even if they are confident their first Q2 lap is enough to get into Q3. This extra run would also nullify their fresh tyre advantage in the race, closing up the field. Although I do admit that this would reduce the tension and randomness created by them nervously watching the timing screens having not done a second run.

    Despite that previous point, I think the format’s biggest advantage is the tension it generates, with a far greater risk vs reward element randomising the results compared with last year’s system, improving the prospects for a good race. This year’s introduction of the 3rd, much softer Q3 tyre helps alleviate the reduced chance of seeing the absolute maximum speed extracted from all the cars, as the very top teams’ drivers will perhaps not push 100% in case a mistake drops them to 10th. But those who only just made it into Q3 will certainly be going for it, as they have nothing to lose. This again helps close the field up in a fair manner, unlike Bernie’s time penalty system… Hmm, actually, scrap all that… Let’s just get Bernie to spin a wheel of qualifying fortune. Fast. I think that’s all the boxes ticked.

    1. @alesici

      I totally agree with this, a Q3 shootout would be great, and we get to see all of those laps.

  33. Alex McFarlane
    19th March 2016, 12:07

    Just go back to what we had last season. Simple to understand, much fairer, and doesn’t require constant tinkering to perfect which then creates the risk of creating even more problems.

    It’s what we would have had anyway if some not-so-bright sparks decided to try and fix something that, while not perfect, wasn’t broken in the first place.

  34. Penalising previous winners is just wrong, but here’s an idea that seems simple and I think could deliver some tension, in theory at least. Keep three sessions that whittle down the field, but in this manner: only one car setting time on the track, so there’s no impeding; start qualifying based on results from last race, in Q1 winner goes first etc, Q2 and Q3 you use the order from Q1… one mistake and you’re gone… it ain’t perfect, as the tension would decrease overall as you go down the field, I guess… but I am writing this with my Saturday morning coffee : P

    If I may suggest @keithcollantine it would be very interesting to see an article on F1’s previous qualifying formats and perhaps how they were received at the time – I mean it would just be interesting to begin with, but would be good for some perspective too.

    1. +for that idea to have the desired effect you’d have to severely limit tire allocation for qualy…

  35. I miss the old 1 hr. open qualifying. Fisrt 20 min,. grab a coffee and let the dog out. Next 20 min., See who’s fast where, and the nefarious feeling out and sandbaging tricks the teams pull as not to show their hands. Last 20 min., sit back and watch the inevitable who’s-gonna-blink-first gunfight at the end. Qualifying as it should be.

  36. Make Qualy like the last year exception to the tires mandatory: example: q1 with soft; then q2 with medium and q3 with the hard for every one.

  37. Another ideia: Make Q1, Q2 and Q3 without elimination.
    The Q3 with a medium tires mandatory;
    Q2 with soft and Q1 with ultra-soft.
    Then the final time will be obtained with the average best laps from the all Q’s.
    With this, every one can run the entire qualify.

  38. Interesting to note about this whole fiasco, is that it shows exactly what happens when you try to fix something that isn’t broken: it breaks.

    However, I would find it unwise if the F1 folks opt for a different concept for the next race already — I mean, it’s been only one qualifying session! — apart from making a U-turn and reverting to the previous system. If the powers-that-be insist, they can use the remainder of the season to discuss whether a new system is needed.

    I for one liked the old 60 minutes, 12 laps system. However, that’s not going to come back. The previous 3-tier system worked fine, since the excitement was always toward the end of each part of qualifying. An other option could be the one driver, one lap system that was in place in 2003-’05.

  39. I remember it was some mid 90ies experiment, each driver had 2 laps on empty track, this was fairest system so far, just add some pre-quali in first 20 mins to clean up the track…

  40. I think the FIA/FOM must have pictured all the cars being on the track the whole session, desperately trying to improve their times the whole session. But the current combination of tyre and fuel regulations can’t allow this.

    If it was a proper elimination race, where all drivers are lapping the whole session, then it could work. I think if there was a tyre that could last 15 minutes of flat out racing (wow imagine that), and you banned teams from refueling during the session so they had to just go out and run, then it might work. You’d still get teams perhaps parking after one good lap if they think they had done enough to get through, but they’d be really throwing the dice as the others would be improving the whole session.

    But that’s not going to happen. So let’s go back to the old system.

    1. Yes – it might work with a race, like the omnium track cycling, as Will Buxton and others have suggested.
      And it’d possibly work for laptimes with sportscars or something, on more durable Michelin, Dunlop or anything-but-Pirelli tyres…
      It just doesn’t work with one-shot tyres, not enough time to respond when you get bumped into the last few spots, and cynical teams who’d rather find an excuse not to run than send their cars out.

      Let’s not go back to the old system completely though. Lose the rules about starting on race tyres. Keep the top 8 for Q3, or go to one-by-one qualifying for them – there’s never 10 in contention for pole anyway.

      1. I’d be happy with one-shot quali for the final top 8 session, and it wouldn’t take as long as it would for the whole field. Maybe even for the top 5 and draws lots as to the order. Works for Formula E.

  41. I think I would prefer one Lap quali without rate fuel load.

    Keep 2 quali session, first one start from chapionship Order, then next one from first session.

    This way, letter get slight disadvantage.

    It also mean, good precise driver will deliver.

    Previous quali session was not bad.

  42. I’m a fan of the knockout system, and if we’re hoping for something tried and tested, I’d say we must go back to that. The elimination quali format today was awful.

    However, I think we should go back to the one lap shootout type format. Run the drivers in reverse championship order, and starting from the ‘worst’ driver, work up until it’s the championship leader going for pole. We want suspense and for the session to build up to a crescendo: One lap can’t get any more tense, if the driver messes up, he messes up, and the session ending with the best driver so far in the season trying to beat everyone else is a pretty good climax. That also covers the mixing up aspect: drivers make mistakes – if Nico’s first lap today was the only one he had, it would be a huge talking point. It means that there will always be someone for the camera to follow, and we get to see the entire qualifying lap as it happens – plus the commentators get the chance to talk about the teams and drivers we don’t usually discuss all that much. Every team gets two laps of guaranteed exposure to sell to sponsors, every driver uses a single set of tyres so there’s no excuse for them to try and save them, and it’s a flat-out, low fuel session with no gimmicks, complicated procedures or confusion. I can’t see why that’s not the ideal setup.

  43. Go simple: 1 hour, everyone with 12 laps to try to get pole.

    1. @fer-no65 I understand the rose tinted glasses looking at the past but that format was rubbish. Nothing happened on track for half an hour. It was like the F1 talk show to discuss the personal lives of every driver on the grid and their relatives too

      The 2006-2015 knock-out format is the best F1 ever had since the limitation on tires was put in place

      If you want to have 1 hour format then you should not limit the laps. Even then I don’t think it can be as good as the knock-out

      1. @montreal95 I prefer the 1 lap qualy we had in 2003-2005 tbh, but I understand that’s not everyone’s preference.

        Qualy is never a show anyway. But we got to see more of the main guns with the 1 hour, 12 laps system and the 1 lap qualy than the knock out one. In the knock out one, there’s always something happening, and it’s too much for the telly: you see half of it, really.

        1. @fer-no65 Everyone has their priorities. In my view the cons of the 12 lap 1 hour format outweighed the pros. Same with the 1 car per lap format. Of course I respect your differing opinion

          Regardless, I think we can both agree that the knock-out format wasn’t a high priority problem in F1. It has much more fundamental problems. And instead of the dealing with them they’ve come up with this “thing” to create an impression that they’re doing something. They’re like little children

  44. After 35 years of being an enthusiastic and supportive F1 fan, I can honestly say that this is straw that broke the camels back for me. As Q1 proceeded all I could feel was a tightening feeling in my stomach and great disappointment as it became clear that this latest gimmick was proving to be the worst yet.

    Instead of increasing excitement, it lowered it. Instead of increasing cars on track, there was a dearth of them. Instead of a satisfying hour of watching the autosport I love, I vowed to never watch F1 qualy again unless the entire system is returned to the successful format enjoyed for a long time. There is no fix for this. There is no reason to give it another shot. Only the pig headed of Ecclestone will keep this idiocy in play.

    The fans paying at Melbourne to watch an empty track deserve their money back. I want my hour back so I do my laundry instead of watching this farce. I’d trade this randomness for double points if forced to.

  45. The knockout qualifying system is simply the best that F1 has ever had, and they need to revert back to it immediately. It was one of the few things that wasn’t broken in F1, and then they had to come up with this elimination rubbish!

  46. The best thing about F1 in recent years was its best ever qualy format. And that’s the thing they chose to mess with! What a bunch of clueless half-wits

    They should go back to the previous format immediately and instead tackle the real issues of F1. If it ain’t broke don’t fix it!

  47. Duncan Snowden
    19th March 2016, 14:38

    With the caveat that, to be honest, I think they should just go back to the old format* and never speak of this again, I suspect that this system might be made to work if the last driver were allowed to complete the lap he’s on when the time runs out. Palmer’s banzai effort to survive Q1 surely showed that, although really it was obvious from the moment the Haases (Haasi? Haasen?) went out. Not only would it avoid the Gutierrez situation where he improved his time to no avail, but it would allow a driver who suddenly found himself facing imminent elimination (when the previous target driver saves his skin) to make a racing stop, get some new tyres, and try to get himself out of trouble. As it is, the strict 90-second limit just isn’t long enough for that. Too often we saw not one car eliminated every 90 seconds, but effectively two or three at once.

    It’s worth trying, surely?

    But either way, it definitely shouldn’t be used in Q3 at all.

    (Off-topic, but I have to say kudos to Channel 4. That wasn’t bad at all. Pity they were handed such a dog’s breakfast to show us.)

    *Although, for what it’s worth, I’ve always thought Q3 should be a single-lap shootout.

  48. My opinion is probably controversial: delete every time 3 minutes* after it’s set (*or for longer tracks, 2 lap times). This would mean that teams would *have* to find some way of keeping going, be that selecting more medium / hard / durable tyres, and it would remove any bias to later times due to track evolution. This means that teams would have to stay “on the ball” throughout the entire session, and would mean that cars would always be circulating. If a driver messes up a lap, it will effect them as it means they will have to go hard for the next lap to make sure they get in…. I suspect it would certainly spice things up a little!

  49. This is my preferred solution. Feel free to be annoyed in the comments section below :).

    1.) Allocate each driver a number according to reverse W/C order position, so HAM gets 22, ROS, 21, VET 20, etc.
    2.) We then go qualifying as normal, fastest laps possible, as many laps as your tyres permit, as it should be.
    3.) We then take the reverse W/C number, and average that against your quali position. Done.

    So as an example, the Merc’s start qualifying allocated 22 and 21 respectively, they finish 1st and 2nd in qualifying, the average kicks in, they start 11th and 12th in the mid-pack. Simple.

    Firstly, this guarantees you a mixed grid. Secondly, this guarantees drivers driving flat out. Thirdly, if you mess up, especially the big boys, you start further down, by virtue of your higher W/C number, mixing the grid even more.

    It’s not that complicated, we all understand how averages work? And even if you don’t, you’re not exactly going to need the most sophisticated piece of software in the world to work it out.

    I know it has faults, as everything does, but for me, those faults are tolerable. What do you guys think? Y/N?

    1. Alex McFarlane
      19th March 2016, 18:30

      With all due respect, I want to watch a good qualifying session in real time without having to sit doing maths with a calculator trying to work out who’s averaged what time and how their standings in the championship are going to change things.

      It’s not necessarily a bad idea, it’s just too convoluted – the very thing we’re trying to get away from.

      1. Point taken, but truth be told, you’re not going to be sitting there with a calculator are you :). Working out an average is a simple calculation that FOM software would do for you in an instant. Therefore, on the back of that…

        This would be the grid for the Australian Grand Prix tomorrow (or today, depending on where you are and when you’re reading this), using this system. It took me 5mins to work out with a bit of mental arithmetic, a pen and a piece of paper. As I say, FOM would do this calc for you in real-time. Here’s the output;

        1st SAI, 2nd VES, 3rd ALO, 4th BUT, 5th ERI, 6th MER, 7th RSI, 8th MAL, 9th HAM, 10th ROS, 11th VET, 12th RAI, 13th MAS, 14th RIC, 15th PER, 16th HUL, 17th NAS, 18th GRO, 19th BOT, 20th KVY.

        Hopefully in reading that, you would have raised your eyebrows to the fact that last years Marussia drivers are still in there, likewise I haven’t brought in K-Mag or Palmer, and Haas aren’t represented. This is done entirely deliberately, for purposes of keeping things simple to hopefully more effectively illustrate my point. Of course in the proper reg’s, drivers/teams could be swapped in/out no problem.

        So with the calc taken care of, still think it’s convoluted? :).

        1. Alex McFarlane
          19th March 2016, 21:41

          Yes, it makes sense for a TV audience of course, and I wasn’t unaware that FOM/FIA could provide the calculations, but for spectators at the track that don’t have access to these conveniences?

          Again, I don’t think that the idea of averages is bad per se, they’d probably even be a fairer reflection of pace over the course of qualifying as a whole, but it’s still simpler just to count the best lap times as and when they get posted during the session. I still also think that for unpredictability’s sake, you’d have more chance of that taking the best time rather than the average, though from your calculations I would appear to be wrong.

  50. The previous system, definitely.

  51. Despite the overwhelming majority of people agreeing that overall the new format was a failure, there seems to be a smaller group of people who think the system did actually work in Q1 and Q2.

    What I saw was teams getting one chance to set a lap on an overcrowded track, and then not having enough time to set another lap before getting eliminated. What was worse, is that we could see who the next 3 or 4 drivers to get eliminated were before the countdown was anywhere near them, nullifying any excitement the new format was meant to introduce.

    The only benefit of this system (and I’m really clutching at straws here), is that it penalised the drivers from the midfield teams who didn’t deliver first time out. Kvyat and Bottas were those drivers in Q1 and Q2 respectively.

    What it definitely didn’t do, was penalise Rosberg (all the way through qualifying), or indeed the Ferrari drivers (both in Q1 and Q2) who all had enough pace to underperform yet still ended up in the positions you’d expect them in.

    Overall, this format seems to limit and penalise the wrong people.

    This got me thinking that instead of Bernie’s idea of adding a time penalty to to drivers based on the previous race, why not give drivers a set number of qualifying runs based on their team’s current position in the championship.

    I’m not sure whether this could work across a 3 stage knockout format, but imagine we’re in Q3 with 10 drivers and the Mercedes drivers only get the one shot at pole, and Ferrari drivers get 2 attempts and Red Bull might get 3.

    It increases the pressure on the big boys to deliver and gives the slower teams a bit of breathing space to really get a representative lap in.


    1. Further to my previous post, I’d also like to stress that I think the knockout system of the past decade was perfectly fine and quite often was the best part of the weekend.

      Given the choice I’d rather go back to that format than anything else, but, if it does have to be something different then the following are all points that need considering:

      Qualifying positions should be a true indication of the ultimate performance of car + driver, and not be artificially altered.

      The cars / engines have been designed around the old knockout format with limited running, so probably won’t be up to an hour’s worth of running flat out.

      Drivers who make mistakes in qualification should have to deal with the consequences.

      Qualifying well should be rewarded and not penalised, so reverse grids should never be considered. It’ll create an artificial mess with team’s constantly moderating their performance for the best overall points haul.

      Qualifying NEEDS to be entertaining.

      Given all of that, if it HAD to change, I’d suggest a 2-part qualifying:

      The first part would last 30 minutes and would act as a qualification session for the top 10 shoot out. Drivers can run as much as they’d like, but after 15 minutes if you’re not within x.xx% of the current fastest lap you’ll have to return to the pits (up to a maximum of 6 drivers).

      This would ensure everybody runs early on, and gives all teams / drivers ample opportunity to set their fastest time, allowing for heavy traffic (which I don’t think is a driver’s fault) at the beginning of the session.

      If they’re nowhere near the fastest time they then sit out the rest of qualifying.

      The second stage would be a top 10 shootout for 15 minutes, with the number of runs you’re entitled to dependent on your team’s current position in the WCC:

      1st: 1 run
      2nd-5th: 2 runs
      6th-11th: 3 runs

      The thought process behind this is that Merc’s drivers have gotten away with many mistakes in qualifying recently, wheras every other driver ends up multiple places down the grid when they make a mistake. So when you’re in the championship leading car, you HAVE to perform under pressure.

      Everybody else gets at least 2 chances to compensate for the fact they’re in a slower car.

      At places like Spa, the second stage would need to be longer to accommodate 3 runs.

  52. I actually like the new elimination system. Although I would tweak it a bit.
    Just have one large session where every 2-3 minutes (Enough time for them to finish another lap) the slowest driver is eliminated until there are 5 cars remaining.
    Then it will go back to the normal Q3 session.

  53. People who suggest going back to the old 1-lap qualifying system, seem to forget it had 2 main flaws;
    1) The track rubbers in, therefore if the drivers run in reverse W/C order, basically the Merc boys get to run last on fully rubbered in tracks, and should easily come 1st & 2nd (assuming they don’t make mistakes).
    2) Weather changes. If it starts wet and becomes dry, or vice versa, why should drivers “luck” in to the pole because the weather condition was more favourable to them.
    Qualifying should be about the same opportunities being available for each driver. What we have for 2015 was more than good enough. In fact, IMHO it was the best qualifying format devised.
    Just because Bernie doesn’t like Mercedes coming 1st/2nd, is not a reason to change the format. He didn’t complain during the Schmacher & Vettel periods of dominance.

    1. @ijw1 IIRC it was Schmacher’s dominance that started the whole ‘tweak the qualifying format to mix up the race’ The 1 lap qualy format was the first attempt to stop Schumacher dominating.

    2. Totally correct in your 2 points, which is why my suggestion (single-lap quali in Q1, Q2 and Q3, cars leave the pits at 20-30sec intervals, fastest from prev. session runs last) is structured as such.

      Q1, 22 cars, every 20-30secs, takes 7>11mins for the whole grid to get out. Dramatically better than the old single-lap qualifying. And that’s worst case scenario aswell. Q2 and Q3 would obviously be quicker, less cars.

      The track still rubbers in yes, but over the course of 7>11mins? Negligable. But if you do really want to pursue the “track has rubbered in more for one driver than the others” argument, the sessions are run “fastest from prev. session runs last,” so any advantage that there may be in the track surface has been EARNED! Crucial difference opposed to it being just handed out.

      Weather changes, would have to be a pretty flash-flood in 7>11mins, but nevertheless, I recognise they DO happen. Rarely, but they do. Silverstone the other year is a good example. Spa’s always good for a twist too, so very simple. If it starts raining during the session, stop, reset.

      If drivers all have to go out on wets, they all have to go out on wets. So be it.

  54. Here’s my qualifying idea – I think it’s an improvement from what disappointed us today, but I haven’t thought it through a lot. I really like the idea of one-by-one elimination, but it has been applied very badly.

    Have one qualifying session that is 60 minutes long. Eliminations start with 49 minutes remaining, and a driver is eliminated every 2min20s. Basically same as now, except there’s only one session, and there’s more time between eliminations.

    That way everybody has got plenty of time (11 minutes) to set a competitive lap time, return to the pits, change tyres, fuel up and get ready for eliminations. Then the slowest cars start to go out to try and avoid elimination, those slightly ahead go out to cover them or protect themselves. Because of track evolution there would be a need for cars to protect themselves – a Mercedes banker lap would surely be slower than Ferrari’s best lap 50 minutes later, so nothing would be decided in advance.

    Sure, there’s still the problem of drivers not being able to do consecutive laps because of tyre wear, and there would need to be enough tyres, but to me such a qualy format would make a lot more sense.


  55. It seems to me, Bernie has a lot of relations on this website with their wacky ideas. The format with the last 10 years has been the best way to decide pole.The only thing I would change with that system would be teams who go into Q3 should be allowed to start on any tyre they want. Getting the fastest cars to be punished in qualifying makes no sense. It would be like deducting points off premier league teams at the start of the season for being better than the rest. On a positive note, I am looking forward to the race tomorrow with Verstappen high up and with the Mclarens improving. Renault and Haas surprised me today as well.

  56. Well, I believe a good option would be 60 to 90 minutes quali session, with qualification tyres and 12 to 15 laps (mandatory or not). Keep it simple.

  57. Well there’s a clear winner in this poll.
    However, Bernie has apparently already said that he doesn’t want to go back to last year’s format.
    Sadly, I think it looks like they’ll keep the deeply flawed elimination format for Q1 and Q2 and then use the old format for Q3.

  58. Go back to last year’s system as this elimination system was awful in every segment of qualifying imo.

    Q1 & Q2 were just as awful & dull to watch as Q3 was, Hardly any cars were on the track towards the end of all 3 segments & the genuinely interesting & exciting end to each segment that we used to get as cars crossed the line over the final minute or so was absent. As such I found all 3 segments to be equally dull & boring to watch & the elimination side just meant more time watching clocks & looking at the timing displays than paying attention to the cars on track.

    1. Oh & just a point about the old 1 hour/12 lap format.

      If there going to consider doing something like that they make it the Pre-1993 format as up until 1993 there was no lap limit, It was an hour (Well 2 because we had the Friday session as well) where drivers could do as many laps as they wanted & we did actually get an hour of constant running. The thing that hurt that old 1 hour format was the 12 lap limit & it was thanks to the 12 lap limit that we started seeing cars sitting in the pits & therefore no track action early on as nobody wanted to waste there lap allocation when the track was at its worst.

      All that been said I’d still prefer last year’s knockout system rather than the old 1 hour system because the knockout system is imo by far the best as we get a lot more excitement more often.

  59. Alex McFarlane
    19th March 2016, 16:30

    I just wanted to add that the one benefit of the previous system missing from this as well as others was the flexibility it allowed in strategy while still keeping the pressure of a time-limited knockout format.

    Some teams chose to bank on just one or two flying laps, saving tyres for the race, others used the whole session to build up their speed to a last minute flier, while still others would gamble by playing wait-and-see with regards to where the other teams were and try to counter with a last minute flyer from there.

    That for me is what made it great in spite of its flaws and the predictability of the dominance of Mercedes at the front and the obvious weaknesses of the teams at the back.

  60. I saw a SQL insertion error in the poll.
    INSERT INTO wp_…. (‘pollip_qid’, ‘pollip_aid`, ‘pollip_ip’, `pollip_host’, ‘pollip_timestamp’, ‘pollip_user’, `pollip_userid`) VALUES (..)
    Why is IP logged for the poll ??

  61. Johnny stick
    19th March 2016, 16:41

    So did the lack of running at the end have anything to do with the new tire strategy? Maybe the teams thought there was no use going out for a final lap and waste a set of tires when only 6,5,4 or 3 spots were remaining? The new format caused a lack of interest in burning a set of tires when you are so close to the front anyway, or already eliminated. Nobodies fighting for 8 place after 10 minutes, huh.

  62. #BernieNeedsToGo

  63. The previous knock-out system was incredibly dull. I’ve never watched qualifying less than during the last few years.

    Why? Because it was chaotic. If F1 qualifying is to be about the cars being pushed to the absolute limits, we need to see them do so. We need to see every single one of them push. Not on the timing screens but on the video screens. There is no better format for this than the single lap qualifying we had a decade ago. It’s not perfect, no system is, but it’s far superior to what we have now.

    1. Alex McFarlane
      19th March 2016, 18:04

      I don’t understand the clamour for single lap qualifying, this new system to all intents and purposes has effectively turned qualifying into just that for most teams because there isn’t enough time to get round the track to start another lap once the countdown starts, and will only be worse at longer circuits.

      There was nothing *fundamentally* wrong about the previous system, it was spoilt by bad tyre regulations (another area that got more convoluted this year) that meant teams would rather sit out Q3 because it was more advantageous to them to have a free choice and extra set of fresh tyres for the race.

      The simple fix would have been to remove any link between the tyres you use in qualifying and the ones used in the race, so they could be used however the teams saw fit to maximise performance across the weekend, so long as they don’t exceed a set allocation of tyre compounds.

  64. Paul Campbell
    19th March 2016, 17:46

    1 qualifying sesson
    60 minutes long
    You can enter the track a total of 3 times.
    Best lap is your time

    For each time you didn’t leave the pits, it’s a place penalty

    So if you leave once and set the pole time but don’t go 2 more times, you start 3rd.

  65. I was a fan of the Qualifying Hour, no gimmicks just simple straight up qualifying. However regardless of whatever qualifying system you choose the quicker cars more often than not will be at the top anyways.

  66. It seems to me that the idea of doing something that might lead to a few cars out of natural position on Sunday is sound, even if it means changing something that most people don’t think needed changing. Personally I think the elimination idea has merit and it looks like teams didn’t go back out for more runs as they were approaching elimination because they either got their timings wrong/misunderstood the rules or because they didn’t have the tyres to do so without compromising their race.


  67. the “fast fix” for current system is to allow driver to finish his lap, even if timer has stopped…

  68. Here’s my two cents. If elimination style qualifying is a necessary step, here’s a suggestion to fix a few problems (most notably that drivers frequently have NO chance to try and beat the clock and stay in).

    Call the format 5on5 for short, and break Qualifying into two sessions.

    Q1 Format: 15 minutes, no elimination and the times set up the first 5 Cars on the Bubble for the first 5mins of session 2. Plays much the same role as the old Q1 – scrubbing the track and a chance for mistakes by the big teams to put them in trouble.

    Q2 Format: Nominally 25-30mins. Clock starts at 5mins, and starts counting down with last five cars scrambling to be the one who survives. Four are eliminated and the survivor moves to the new position on the board that their best time puts them and the clock resets to 5mins, with the next bottom five locked. Drivers on the bubble can finish hot laps they might be on, with the next five being locked when the last of them cross the line; ie:

    5 Cars on the Bubble for 5mins, 1 Survives (-> 18 left)
    5 Cars on the Bubble for 5mins, 1 Survives (-> 14 left)
    5 Cars on the Bubble for 5mins, 1 Survives (-> 10 left)
    5 Cars on the Bubble for 5mins, 1 Survives (-> 6 left)
    5(6?) Cars on the Bubble for 5mins, Pole Race (-> Pole)

    Meanwhile, the other cars are still trying to set times to stay out of the next bubble. Gives each group of 5 the chance to pit and get set for an out lap and (maybe) two flying laps. All cars on the bubble should get to finish the lap they’re on as time runs down. It also means that we still get the final 5, out in the final 5 minutes, on fresh tyres.

    Should help put interest and focus on the battles all down the field, which is good for attracting the sponsors down the grid. It also gives you a situation were something is always happening, with a series of mini qualifying battles going on within the larger qualifying session.

    Personally, I thought the old system was fine. But if done well, accounting for the difficulties facing set up and tyres that others here have noted, there is a chance for some fun.

  69. John Toad (@)
    19th March 2016, 18:45

    Any qualifying system that relies on the cars running around the track will automatically sort the cars into fastest-2-slowest order, barring mechanical mishaps.
    If Bernie really wants to shake up the grid order for races then the only way to do it is by drawing lots.
    Bernie could make a live TV production out of each driver coming forward in turn to draw their starting grid position with an immediate reaction interview, this could be drawn out to about an hour and provide some exciting ‘reality TV’ moments.
    Just what F1 needs to draw in some fresh viewers.

  70. I did like Q1.. But let people who start a lap before the timer goes 0 complete their laps!
    At larger tracks it would be a must!
    Q2 same, but Q1 back to the previous format.
    When P3/4 see no option to get higher up, they can’t go down.. so they won’t do an extra lap,
    as was pretty obvious today. So no elimination for Q3 and a few tweaks.
    And I see it working!

  71. I personally feel that the previous knockout qualifying was the best that qualifying has been, and believe that they should go back to it as quickly as possible. The elimination qualifying was terrible, and hopefully the backlash will be sufficient that it is gone soon.

  72. Mark in Florida
    19th March 2016, 19:12

    Their was nothing wrong with the old qualifying system. It reached a crescendo of effort at the end of each session. Everything built to a great final point where the track was getting faster and faster with each session. Bernie needs to do F1 a favor and pass away. The sport needs to be run by someone who’s brain is not half dead already. The more that he meddles in the sport with his stupid ideas the worse it gets. He is not a mad genius, he’s just mad.

  73. I think the intention behind elimination qualifying was good, but they missed a key point : if you want track action, you have to reset the times as often as possible. The previous Q1-Q3 system brought more track action than what we had before that, simply because all the times were erased between each round of qualifying. For instance, it meant that everybody had to do at least 3 flying laps. The elimination system does not reset the times more often, so you just have less cars because they get eliminated sooner.

    There are IMHO at least two ways elimination qualifying could be made to work :

    1) The mild one : Only one qualifying session. Every 5 or 6 minutes (= 3 laps + 1 pit stop + a small margin), the 2 slowest cars are eliminated *and all times are erased*. Because of the time frame, every 5 minutes drivers will take new tyres for one flying lap. That basically is a Q1-Q10 system.
    A lot of track action and of fast laps guaranteed. Probably a bit more upsets than in the Q1-Q3 system, but nothing dramatic. A lot of tyres needed.

    2 ) The revolutionary one : Only one qualifying session. No pit stop allowed. All cars on track at the beginning, evenly spaced. After every *lap* completed by everyone, the slowest car is eliminated. The times set are then immediately erased. So on each lap, the slowest car *on that lap* is out.
    Downside : since the cars have to be fast for several laps in succession, they will use harder tyres and push less.
    Upside : a lot more upsets, because one is out after one mistake, because there is the possibility for slower teams to run softer compounds, and because the faster teams will try to preserve tyres for the end of the session.

  74. Knockout system is fine for me. We get 1 hour of F1 action on track, with a fair and logical structure in it.
    I really liked it.
    The only problem was when teams decided to not put in a decent effort in Q3 “to save the tires”. But is that the team’s fault?
    I never understood why qualifying must have consequences for the race. (same tires for quali and race, must start race on Q3 tires, etc…)
    Qualifying should decide the starting grid and nothing else for Sunday.
    Supply enough tires to the teams to allow them every Saturday again to set the fastest lap that their machines and drivers are capable of. That’s what racing is about, that’s what the teams and drivers want to do and I really believe that that is what the fans want to see on Saturdays as well.

    Final thought: In any non-spec racing series, the team with the fastest car & driver ususally wins.
    So yes, it looks like Mercedes will be snatching most of the poles this year again.
    But why must that be somehow changed in Formula 1??? I really do not understand that.

  75. I would mix and match. First 15 minutes I would get rid of the slowest 6 cars. Next 15 minutes, the same thing. So we end up with a list of 10 drivers and half an hour. I will give each one 1 flying lap. First the 10th then the 9th and so on. If there is a tie (I doubt it) or if there is a no time the Q2 shall be used to determine the position.

  76. My preference would be to go back to the old format but with new numbers, so you still end up with 8 in the shoot out. Makes it more likely that someone misses out on the pole shoot out. I also quite liked the fact that 9th / 10th have free tyre choice could make for some interesting races.

    However, if they have to do something, then keep knockout in q1 and q2 but have it so that you have to be on a lap by time the time runs out. This the. Gives you a shootout of a few people all vying to avoid the elimination or something like that. It also gives a bit more time for the turn around, and means the eliminations go later in the session. Revert q3 to the same as last year but with just 8.

    Just reverting will be simpler and qualifying was never the issue with f1 last few years.

    Issue is the tyres not allowing flat out racing, combined with the continued excess of aero and turbulent air making passing too difficult as you can’t run close in the dirty air.

    A secondary issue is dominance of the Mercedes, but that’s a problem for the other teams really and goes through phases.

  77. Right, you want cars on track for an hour with a chance for mistakes to mix up the grid.

    Single 64 minute session divided into 8 minute segments. For each driver their fastest time completed inside each 8 minute segment is taken and used to come up with an average. Fail to set a time in any segment and you go to the back of the grid. Mess up a segment and your average suffers. In the case of a red flag the segment in which it occurs is excluded from the results to be as fair as possible.

    You’ll have all the cars on track all the time getting in eachothers way. 8 segments means 8 chances for a mistake to mix up the grid. 8 minutes per segment is time enough for an in lap, an in garage re-fueling, an out lap and another flyer. Teams can decide fuel loads for themselves. Go for a single flyer in each segment or fuel the car across multiple segments.

    Lots of activity on track, lots of activity in the pits.

  78. The only way you can mix the field up in a fair way is if you take away the fastest time from each driver. That way they would have to set at least two laps, and both would have to be fast.

  79. The elimination format could be improved if it is changes so that the driver can always complete the timed lap they are on once the 90 seconds ticks over. That will reduce the pressure on the turnaround for the out lap.

    Yesterday’s biggest failure was that the teams did not have time to refuel and do an out lap as well as the timed lap.

  80. In my opinion if F1 wants drivers to be pushing 100% in qualifying I believe they should do one lap qualifying. There will always be 1 car on the track no one getting in the way and it will shake up the grid if a top driver messes up a lap, cut or track extends.

  81. Just usual F1 stupidity. It’s really tiring.

  82. I was no fan of the idea of the elimination system, but I think one race is too short a trial. Many of the issues in the first 2 sessions were teams misjudging the time it took to get a car out on track (and of course, as many of us pointed out in advance, on some tracks it will be nigh on impossible to do 2 runs). Certainly something needs to be done about Q3, but what I’m not sure.

    I’m surprised that they haven’t tried the 1 car at a time (ish) running in pre-defined slots, something akin to downhill skiing. Not that I think that would be any better.

    Whichever solution is chosen, the cars need more tyres. Many of the problems arise from the teams conserving tyres.

  83. How about this….
    45 minute time trial format….
    cars start every 2-5 seconds (depending on the lap length) in Championship position order
    ALL lap times count for the final grid positions
    HOWEVER grid positions are adjusted according to overtakes – if you overtake someone you earn +1 grid position on top of your fastest laptime.

    So it is based on fastest lap but everyone needs to be out on the track otherwise you lose a grid position by being overtaken while you’re in the pits.

    And there would be some sporting action too..

    I’m sure something along these lines could be worked out.

  84. The quali was absolutely awful in every single way. The previous setup wasn’t great aswell (to much in favour of the best teams), but at least it was watchable. I do not suggest adding even more rules, to counter todays flaws. However, they could tweak the rules to make it a succes.

    My suggestion is Pirelli developping a reasonably fast (FP3 and Quali only) tyre with almost no drop-off at all. Because that’s the biggest issue here, tyres. The chance of going out, wasting a set of tyres, because someone just placed you in the danger area, is to big. The idea is simple, 3 sets for each driver, everyone starts with the same amount of fuel, just enough to get you trough each qualifying part. The tweak here is that once you go back to the pits, you can not get out again that qualifying session. Since there is almost no dropoff and with burning fuel trough each session, the drivers will go quicker and quicker. In this situation the current 90 second rule could actually work, but even without it, it will be a much more fair fight, since it doesn’t benefit the top teams.

    The question is, could Pirelli actually develop a tyre like that. Anyhow, that is my cup of tea.

    1. To be clear, 3 sets for qualifying. 1 or 2 sets for FP3.

  85. A different format should be used. Keep the 3 sessions but do it like this:

    Q1 – A 20 minute session with all 22 cars taking part, everyone can improve their laptime up to the chequered flag. At the end of the session the top 5 cars leapfrog straight into Q3, the bottom 17 cars progress to Q2.

    Q2 – A 15 minute session with the bottom 17 cars from Q1 taking part, everyone can improve their laptime up to the chequered flag. At the end of the session the top 5 cars progess to Q3, the bottom 12 cars form positions 11 to 22 on the starting grid for the race.

    Q3 – A 10 minute session with the top 5 cars from Q1 and the top 5 cars from Q2 taking part, everyone can improve their laptime up to the chequered flag. At the end of the session the top 10 cars form positions 1 to 10 on the starting grid for the race.

    This method will mean every driver taking part will be pushing in every session they are in, which will make for better viewing for the spectators, and every driver taking part has 2 chances to make the Q3 session and fight for pole position, which is a fairer system than the knockout format of previous seasons.

  86. I don’t recall that much whining about it back in 80’s or 90’s… You knew there would be some action only by the end of the qualify (if not raining) and we were happy about it…

  87. The qualifying format had unexpectedly more tyres than usual because so little dry practise running had occurred, and there still weren’t tyres for more than 4 runs per car. With 2 fewer sets available to teams in races with dry Friday practise sessions, most new-format qualifying sessions would have been even worse.

    In the end, the format worked even less well than I had predicted, because half the teams hadn’t worked out how to optimise it and therefore left open goals for teams with better operational skills. The 2015 format is the only viable short-term option, as reverse grids would have exaggerated the effect of elimination qualifying even further.

    Perhaps, if there must be a change to qualifying (and I don’t think there does), there could be a modified FP3: a 30-minute free-for-all to determine a top 12, plus fix 13th place down, then a 2-minute-30-seconds-plus-finish-the-lap-you’re-on to decide places 7-12 and 1-6 respectively. The breaks between each session would be between 5 and 10 minutes.

    This would give time for the ad breaks insisted upon by many channels nowadays (to be positioned between sessions, and one during the first part if a channel must have another), give people time to prepare for the “tension points” of the race, and the 2-minute-30-second Q2 and Q3 would give enough time for the 6 cars to get space for themselves, even at a wet Belgium, but not quite enough to start getting two flying laps at a dry Austria. The 2-minute free-for-alls were the most fun parts of the old pre-2003 system and rarely replicated in any later version, the first session has enough time for people to learn their cars, get TV time and have decent runs at representative times (the main benefits of single-car qualifying) and there are three major and predictably-timed tension points that also provide good narrative (the main benefit of the qualifying system used in the last decade).

    1. Everyone knows that the most exciting races are the ones caused by a shaken up grid, usually caused by wet qualifying. The obvious thing to do is to reverse the grid from the last race results but this mean qualifying would be redundant. So what we need is a system that keeps the integrity and excitement of qualifying but gives us a shaked up grid. So here it is: Basically it is a reversed grid split into three sections and those sections are ordered according to final qualifying times. i.e. each driver is battling to get to the front of his section. To add further spice I would add points to first ten in each qualifying (just as in races) and at the end of the season the top ten would be awarded the equivalent of two races worth of points. All details in the document.
      Quite simply it would transform F1 into the spectacle we all crave, overtaking would be the order of the day and those that do it the best will be rewarded. The question is: Is F1 brave enough to do it?

  88. I’ve long thought the best system would be a combination of the three session knock-out qualifying of the past few seasons, but with a one-lap shoot out for pole in q3. So:
    Q1: 15 minute session to determine 16th-20th
    Q2: 15 minute session to determine 11th-15th
    Q3: Single lap qualifying to determine 1st – 10th akin to the format in 2003 where each driver gets one go at setting a time. The running order could be determined by their positions in Q2 (i.e. the fastest driver in q2 gets first choice, so would usually opt to go last).

    I think it’s important to keep the essence of Q1 and Q2 as they are now: as well as the wide appeal there is for having all cars on track setting their times together which tests the teams’/drivers’ skills in terms of finding space in traffic to put together a clean lap, it also works well in terms of sharing the spotlight with the main focus of Q1 being on the smaller teams, which then shifts to the midfield in Q2. In addition, under this proposed system there would be an incentive for the top teams to not just make Q3, but to be as high in the standings in Q2 as they can in order to secure a better running slot for Q3.

    Then in the final part of qualifying the viewer gets the chance to see all 10 drivers set their qualifying time (not just two corners as the director cuts from one car to the next as they complete their laps), there should be suspense right until the last person completes their lap (particularly as the last driver will typically be the person who was fastest in Q2) and there will be no second chances if they make a mistake which will increase the scope of mixed up grids, but in a way which maintains sporting integrity (something that reverse grids would not do).

    And no unnecessary tyre rules – all drivers have a free choice as to what tyres they start the race with…

  89. I wasn’t in favour of the new elimination qualifying format but it turned out even worse than I thought it would.

    It shouldn’t be surprising that if you eliminate most of the cars which would normally be on track then you will have less on track action.

    The fans instant reaction to elimination qualifying back when it was announced was that it was a bad idea and then when the engineers analysed it they correctly predicted what would happen, so I don’t know why the powers that be thought this would be a good idea, unless it was genuinely a case of this or Ecclestone’s stupid time penalty option.

    For F1 and other sports in general, I think the sporting rules should be as clear and straight forward as possible and not have any gimmicks, which seems to be the complete opposite to how F1 seems to think.

    You could quite easily come up with quite a few things that are wrong with Formula One but in my opinion qualifying was not one of them, and as the saying goes if it isn’t broke don’t fix it, so I am glad they have gone back to the old system, which for me, out of all the different formats used done the years, is the best for modern F1.

  90. I’m with Bernie, his ideas are great. I have an idea to spice up the London Marathon, let’s have the elite runners starting from the back so they have to overtake the fun runners. Don’t let them take any water onboard, they must take on enough before they start to see them through. At any stage during the race fans can shower the road with water to make it slippy. Their running shoes should degrade inconsistently through the race and they must wear at least 2 types during the day. If they have been fastest overall in the first half of the race iron bars should be slipped into their pockets. I think we’re on a winner here Bernie :).

  91. Drawing names out of a hat would be better than the “new System”
    AND wouldn’t it be good if the Powers that be in F! could make a decision?

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