Daniil Kvyat, Red Bull, Bahrain International Circuit, 2016

FIA publishes new qualifying rules after dropping elimination format

2016 Chinese Grand Prix

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The FIA has published revised F1 sporting regulations after agreeing to a reintroduction of last year’s qualifying format.

F1’s elimination qualifying format, which was used for the first two races of the season, has been dropped.

The previous and revised rules are below:

Original 2016 ‘elimination’ qualifying rules

The following was used in Australia and Bahrain:

33.1 The qualifying practice session will take place on the day before the race from 14.00 to 15.00.

The session will be run as follows:

a) From 14.00 to 14.16 (Q1) all cars will be permitted on the track. Seven minutes after the start of the session the driver last in the classification will be eliminated and will no longer be timed, he must then return to the pit lane and may take no further part in the qualifying practice session. The same procedure will then apply after 8m30s, 10m0s, 11m30s, 13m0s and 14m30s leaving sixteen cars eligible to continue. At the end of the session all drivers on the track may complete the lap they are on and, once these final laps have been completed, the driver last in the classification may take no further part in the qualifying practice session.

Lap times achieved by the fifteen remaining cars will then be deleted.

b) From 14.24 to 14.39 (Q2) the fifteen remaining cars will be permitted on the track. Six minutes after the start of the session the driver last in the classification will be eliminated and will no longer be timed, he must then return to the pit lane and may take no further part in the qualifying practice session. The same procedure will then apply after 7m30s, 9m0s, 10m30s, 12m0s and 13m30s leaving nine cars eligible to continue. At the end of the session all drivers on the track may complete the lap they are on and, once these final laps have been completed, the driver last in the classification may take no further part in the qualifying practice session.

Lap times achieved by the eight remaining cars will then be deleted.

c) From 14.46 to 15.00 (Q3) the eight remaining cars will be permitted on the track. Five minutes after the start of the session the driver last in the classification will be eliminated and will no longer be timed, he must then return to the pit lane and may take no further part in the qualifying practice session. The same procedure will then apply after 6m30s, 8m0s, 9m30s, 11m0s and 12m30s leaving two cars eligible to continue. At the end of the session any driver on the track may complete the lap he is on and, once any final lap has been completed, the overall classification will be established.

The above procedure is based upon 22 cars being officially eligible to take part in the Event. If 24 cars are eligible eight will be excluded after Q1 and Q2, if 26 cars are eligible nine cars will be excluded after Q1 and Q2, and so on if fewer cars are eligible. If necessary, the intervals between the sessions and eliminations will be adjusted to ensure Q3 remains unchanged.

[…]

35.2 a) The grid will be drawn up as follows:

i) The last seven positions will be occupied by the cars eliminated during Q1, the fastest in 16th position.
ii) The next seven positions will be occupied by the cars eliminated during Q2, the fastest in 9th position.
iii) The top eight positions will be occupied by the cars which took part in Q3, the fastest from the position on the grid which was the pole position in the previous year or, on a new circuit, has been designated as such by the FIA safety delegate.

If two or more drivers set identical times during Q1, Q2 or Q3 priority will be given to the one who set it first.

If more (or less) than 22 cars are entered in the championship appropriate amendments will be made to the above in accordance with Article 33.1.

b) If more than one driver fails to set a time during Q2 or Q3 they will be arranged in the
following order:

i) Any driver who attempted to set a qualifying time by starting a flying lap.
ii) Any driver who failed to start a flying lap.
iii) Any driver who failed to leave the pits during the period.

c) Once the grid has been established in accordance with a) and b) above, grid position penalties will be applied to the drivers in question in the order the offences were committed. If, following qualifying, more than one driver incurs a penalty under Article 23.4(f) or Article 23.6(a) preference will be given to the driver whose team first informed the technical delegate that a power unit or gearbox change will be carried out.

d) Any driver who incurs a penalty under Article 23.4(f) or Article 23.6(a) will take precedence over any driver whose qualifying times have been deleted for any reason.

If more than one driver falls into a single category in b) or d) above they will be arranged on the grid in the order they were classified in the previous period of qualifying or, in the case of Q1, the order they were classified in P3.

Revised 2016 qualifying rules

The following will be used from China:

33.1 The qualifying practice session will take place on the day before the race from 14.00 to 15.00.

The session will be run as follows:

a) From 14.00 to 14.18 (Q1) all cars will be permitted on the track and at the end of this period the slowest eight cars will be prohibited from taking any further part in the session.

Lap times achieved by the eighteen remaining cars will then be deleted.

b) From 14.25 to 14.40 (Q2) the eighteen remaining cars will be permitted on the track and at the end of this period the slowest eight cars will be prohibited from taking any further part in the session.

Lap times achieved by the ten remaining cars will then be deleted.

c) From 14.48 to 15.00 (Q3) the ten remaining cars will be permitted on the track.

The above procedure is based upon 26 cars being officially eligible to take part in the Event. If 24 cars are eligible seven will be excluded after Q1 and Q2, if 22 cars are eligible six cars will be excluded after Q1 and Q2, and so on if fewer cars are eligible.

[…]

35.2 a) The grid will be drawn up as follows:

i) The last eight positions will be occupied by the cars eliminated during Q1, the fastest in 19th position.
ii) The next eight positions will be occupied by the cars eliminated during Q2, the fastest in 11th position.
iii) The top ten positions will be occupied by the cars which took part in Q3, the fastest from the position on the grid which was the pole position in the previous year or, on a new circuit, has been designated as such by the FIA safety delegate.

If two or more drivers set identical times during Q1, Q2 or Q3 priority will be given to the one who set it first.

If less than 26 cars are entered in the Championship appropriate amendments will be made to the above in accordance with Article 33.1.

b) If more than one driver fails to set a time during Q2 or Q3 they will be arranged in the following order:

i) Any driver who attempted to set a qualifying time by starting a flying lap.
ii) Any driver who failed to start a flying lap.
iii) Any driver who failed to leave the pits during the period.

c) Once the grid has been established in accordance with a) and b) above, grid position penalties will be applied to the drivers in question in the order the offences were committed. If, following qualifying, more than one driver incurs a penalty under Article 23.4(f) or Article 23.6(a) preference will be given to the driver whose team first informed the technical delegate that a power unit or gearbox change will be carried out.

d) Any driver who incurs a penalty under Article 23.4(f) or Article 23.6(a) will take precedence over any driver whose qualifying times have been deleted for any reason.

If more than one driver falls into a single category in b) or d) above they will be arranged on the grid in the order they were classified in the previous period of qualifying or, in the case of Q1, the order they were classified in P3.

2016 Chinese Grand Prix

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Keith Collantine
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20 comments on “FIA publishes new qualifying rules after dropping elimination format”

  1. iii) The top ten positions will be occupied by the cars which took part in Q3, the fastest from the position on the grid which was the pole position in the previous year or, on a new circuit, has been designated as such by the FIA safety delegate.

    I had to read this 3 times, what a convoluted way of say the fasted will start on pole.

    1. @stevienodrinksf1 Congratulations! You still understand it wrongly ;)

      That paragraph actually saying about the physical location of the car grids in circuit itself, which is identical to last year starting from pole position location, or in an event of a new circuit (Baku) the FIA safety delegate will determine where the pole position grid is (and the rest is determined according standard F1 grid spacing from the pole).

      Of course I might be wrong and you might be right, after all I just read it 5-8 times ;)

    2. Uh oh… That means at the Baku race Bernie could still get an artificial grid by bribing Charlie Whiting to designate last place as pole position! Of course, I’m sure they’ve been wise enough to define somewhere that pole position means the 1st grid slot…

    3. Think I read it 6 times. Just why??…

  2. How is it chosen which side the polesitter will start from? I mean, here it says it’s the same side as last year, but can’t FIA choose something as “polesitter goes to the other side” and so on? It would be a natural way to spice things up, no ballots, no random, just changing the usual polesitter side. I know Senna complained about that, but I think it was because that decision was made AFTER he took pole. If that would be a general rule for ALL the circuits (except Baku for being new) nobody would complain.

    1. @omarr-pepper This part?

      has been designated as such by the FIA safety delegate.

    2. A higher starting position should always be advantageous. The polesitter should never be disadvantaged by starting on the dirty side, regardless of whether it is decided before or after he secures the position. It opens up the ridiculous possibility of a driver not going as fast as possible in Q3 because he is aiming to start in P2.

      This is also why I am against the whole “top 10 must start the race on the tires with which they qualified” rule, because it basically means P11 is a better starting position than P10.

    3. It should be the choice of the driver who WINS poll in my opinion.

      1. knoxploration
        12th April 2016, 17:50

        Big thumbs up.

      2. In theory, I think that’s a great idea however the problem is that the finer details would be decided by the idiots in charge of F1 and we’d end up with something worse than we have now….

    4. @omarr-pepper, the situation was more convoluted than that in the 1990 Japanese GP.

      For that race, pole position was normally on the dirty side of the grid – it had been that way since the 1987 Japanese GP, and Senna had never raised any complaints in either the 1988 or 1989 races when he started from pole position.

      Going into that race, the original plan was for pole position to start in the same place as in previous years – and, before qualifying, Senna had no objection to pole position starting on the dirty side of the grid.
      After qualifying, Senna then complained to the marshals that they should move pole position to the clean side of the track, before pushing the team to lodge a formal complaint to the stewards insisting that the pole sitters position should be moved.

      Under pressure from McLaren and from Senna, the stewards initially agreed to his request – what then happened was that Balestre instructed the stewards to reverse their decision so the pole sitter would then start in his original position. Senna knew going into that session that he would start on the dirty side of the grid if he was on pole – what he wanted to do after qualifying was to find a means to increase his advantage.

  3. @omarr-pepper Huh, what do you mean? This new rule will be used from China, means China and afterwars unless they decided to change it again. So yes, all circuits except new ones will use the same pole location (including side) as last year. New circuit pole location will be decided by FIA safety delegate

    1. I think he’s asking just in general how the pole position is decided, well they just pick the most advantageous side, generally in the racing line because it’s cleaner. But it also gets tricky sometimes if the racing line is in the middle of the track.

  4. No wonder lawyers are paid so much… They have to try and contrive this gobbledegook from plain English…

    1. I can assure you that lawyers also think this drafting is appalling. It goes against everything I was taught. The rule of thumb is always; If it cant be read and understood by a 5 year old, it isn’t drafted properly.

      1. Fair enough…

        I will add, I mean no disrespect to anyone in the legal profession… The contracts and litigation aspect of law is an area that I do have an interest in…

  5. 8 cars dropped in Q1 and 18 to take part in Q2?? Is this based on an imaginary 26 car grid?

    1. Try reading (all of) it again

    2. yes, it seems they live in 26 cars imagination world:

      If less than 26 cars are entered in the Championship appropriate amendments will be made to the above in accordance with Article 33.1.

  6. “If two or more drivers set identical times during Q1, Q2 or Q3 priority will be given to the one who set it first.”

    I know it’s (relatively) always been like this but I still say we give them an extra lap each to sort things out.

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