Red Bulls, Force Indias, Bottas keep positions despite 107% breach

2016 Hungarian Grand Prix

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A late stewards investigation into both Red Bulls, both Force Indias and Valtteri Bottas for failing to meet the 107% benchmark in Q1 has resulted in no action being taken.

By rule, all drivers in Q1 must set a time within 107% of the fastest time or risk exclusion from the race. The rule does allow stewards to permit drivers to race even if they fail to meet minimum time, but no provision is given to wet or changing climatic conditions.

Despite Daniel Ricciardo, Max Verstappen, Nico Hulkenberg, Valtteri Bottas and Sergio Perez all making it through to Q2, all failed to set a time within the 107% threshold as a result of the rapidly changing track conditions and late red flag stoppage following Rio Haryanto’s crash.

But following an investigation, the stewards determined that even though the five drivers failed to meet the 107% requirement, due to ‘exceptional circumstances’ the drivers will be permitted to take the grid slots they achieved in the subsequent sessions.

The stewards’ ruling is as follows:

In accordance with Article 35.1 of the FIA Formula One Sporting Regulations, the Stewards grant permission for cars 3, 11, 27, 33 and 77 to start the race, as the drivers have set satisfactory times in practice at this Event.

The Stewards have also decided, due to the exceptional circumstances experienced during qualifying,  Article 35.2 a) iii should take precedence over Article 35.1 of the FIA Formula One Sporting Regulations. Cars 3, 11, 27, 33 and 77 will therefore start the race from the grid position set out in document 24 (the preliminary qualifying classification).

2016 Hungarian Grand Prix

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    Will Wood
    Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...

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    45 comments on “Red Bulls, Force Indias, Bottas keep positions despite 107% breach”

    1. this could be strapped as a stupid rule as every one got in Q2….

    2. TetonsQuiPointent
      23rd July 2016, 21:12

      This is an utter joke. These cars took the risk of leaving the pitlane later in qualifying. It was not exceptional circumstances, it was a mistake. Rules are the same for everyone. Or are they? I’m extremely disappointed by F1.

      1. jsw11984 (@jarred-walmsley)
        24th July 2016, 3:27

        The 107% rule is primarily for safety reasons. It exists to enable stewards to exclude dangerously slow cars.

        This was not the case, as all cars had met the said criteria during practise and therefore it was external factors that prevented it during qualifying.

        So, the rules were implemented correctly

    3. This is an astonishing rule. What’s worse is how this was considered an exceptional decision by the stewards, when even a five year old could reason that this was the only right thing to do. F1’s regulations are farcical.

    4. This BS, rule is rule and i think they should have lost their positions. What’s really silly is that FIA are putting the rules and then never apply them strictly. I mean, when keeping their places despite crossing the 107% limit then why not keeping ROS place last race? Oh and i’m not his fan.

      1. They wouldn’t have lost their positions if the FIA had taken action. Since they didn’t set a time within 107% in Q1, it means they weren’t in fact even qualified for the race in the first place. That means if the FIA had taken action against them, they would not be allowed to start the race at all.

        It’s also not only the five cars mentioned but all the cars that dropped out in Q1 as well. That would have left 11 cars out of the race and a grid of just 11 cars. In my opinion the FIA definately made the right desicion to not take any action.

        The 107% rule is there to keep genuinely slower cars off the track, it’s not there to penalise those who suffered from an interrupted session and poor weather conditions. In this case all cars that didn’t set a quick enough laptime were clearly fast enough to compete in the race and therefore the FIA was right to let them take part in it.

        1. In reply to your first paragraph; they would have been allowed to start the race as they set acceptable times in practice.

          1. This is a direct quote from the official Formula 1 website; “Any driver whose best Q1 lap time exceeds 107 percent of the fastest time set during that session fails to qualify and may only race at the stewards’ discretion.” In this case the FIA was always going to let them race for the reason you mentioned. I was only pointing out that if they had taken any action, the penalty wouldn’t have been a grid demotion or start from the pit lane, it would have been to ban them from starting the race.

            1. @retardedf1sh) You are ignoring the rest of the regulation which goes on to say: “Any driver accepted in this manner will be placed at the back of the starting grid after any other penalties have been applied. Should there be more than one driver accepted in this manner they will be arranged on the grid in the order they were classified in P3.” It is this part that put their grid positions in question.

              The FIA did take action, the stewards documents show that all 11 cars failed to satisfy the 107% criteria, but that all 11 were given permission to race. The difference is that lining the cars up in P3 order was only applied to the 6 cars who failed to get out of Q1, but not to the other 5 who had participated in either Q2 or Q3, but as this situation was not covered in the relevant regulation there was certainly a question over if they would be able to keep their grid places.

    5. This is the right decision. Q1 was very scrappy with the weather and crashes causing red flags, so these drivers were probably unable to set competitive lap times in all the carnage.

    6. Zantkiller (@)
      23rd July 2016, 21:26

      So the same rule applies differently to two different groups of drivers within the same session?
      That is an insanely dangerous precedent.

      Better off accepting you wrote an idiotic rule without thinking, demoting the drivers and fixing it before the next race.

    7. Andre Furtado
      23rd July 2016, 21:29

      This rule should not have been ignored. Part of formula 1 is to excel despite weather not to use the weather as an excuse for mediocrity.

      1. How was it a excuse for mediocrity? it was a matter of timing, nothing else. Half the field managed to complete a lap on a drying track while half the field couldn’t because of a red flag. So the time in the timesheet was set when the track was completely wet.

        Your comment makes no sense.

        1. That is why you don’t make stupid rules. The FIA sit in their office getting paid to come up with nonsense. When the rule is put to the test, they don’t enforce it because it is stupid. And why 107%? why not 108%? Just another number pulled out of a back orifice to make them look like they have more than 2 braincells firing. They should clear these ‘rule makers’ out. Time to close the old boys club.

          1. This rule is not stupid. It was created in 1996 as the number of entries had equaled the maximum number of starters of 26. Therefore everyone was making the race regardless of speed and there were certainly some slow cars at the time.

            Also the wording of the rule does give the stewards discretion in allowing drivers to start. This was first done at the 1997 Australian Grand Prix.

    8. F1’s stupidity knows no boundaries…

    9. After there was no reaction during the session for five drivers who were placed in P12-P16 in Q1 this decision makes sense. However, I see that they could have decided that session would be over for those five, which would have made Q2 little anti-climatic with only one driver dropping though.

    10. 107% is a good rule as it stops genuinely slow drivers like Carmen Jorda from making the start and on this occasion the stewards were right to waive the rule in this circumstance

      1. Michael Brown (@)
        24th July 2016, 0:24

        107% is designed to keep slow cars out. If Jorda’s teammate could get within 107%, then she could also race.

    11. No action being taken in this particular investigation makes sense. Since there is no provision for weather in the regulations it is up to the stewards’ discretion to make the correct call one way or the other. This time it was the right call.

    12. They should change this rule. It’s meant to stop cars that are woefully outmatched taking part in the race, not as a regulatory booby trap to catch out drivers who make a mistake or are unlucky with the weather or red flags.

      Letting the drivers keep their positions is the right thing to do.

    13. The drivers mentioned in this article all lost their fastest times in Q1 as they failed to stay within the track limits, right? But apparently it was discovered long after qualifying had ended, and therefore it became completely irrelevant.

      1. @f1infigures, no, they just set extremely poor times because the weather conditions were so variable in that session and they had the misfortune to set those times during the wetter parts of that session.

        1. Ok, thanks. My fault. I thought the aforementioned drivers actually set faster times in Q1, but they didn’t. They just lost out in the changing weather conditions.

    14. The rule is clear and the stewards should not have ignored it.
      Opinion does not matter, the rules are there before the event and should be followed.
      This is nothing to do with who I do and do not like either, (I need the red bull cars up there for my prediction) but the rule should be followed.
      Ignoring this sets a precident for ignoring more rules and just picking a result.

      35.1 During Q1, any driver whose best qualifying lap exceeds 107% of the fastest time set during that session, or who fails to set a time, will not be allowed to take part in the race. Under exceptional circumstances however, which may include setting a suitable lap time in a free practice session, the stewards may permit the car to start the race.
      Any driver accepted in this manner will be placed at the back of the starting grid after any other penalties have been applied.
      Should there be more than one driver accepted in this manner they will be arranged on the grid in the order they were classified in P3.

    15. Michael Brown (@)
      24th July 2016, 0:25

      I hear it’s hard to get within 107% when it rains.

      1. All cars go slower in the rain. These driver get paid millions. They are meant to be the best in the world and should all be able to drive within 107% of the fastest car even in the rain.

        I hate the 107% rule but seeing as it is a rule, it should be enforced or scrapped. But the current F1 bozos in charge just make it up as they go along and answer to nobody. F1 has seen the last penny form me.

    16. This is very disappointing. F1 fans seem very much annoyed with vague rules and loose interpretations. Here we have a very clear rule that leaves no room for interpretation and it’s simply ignored. This is so much worse than any other ruling this season.

      1. Very clear rule that since its reintroduction has only bared HRT from racing 4 times and in its past incarnation often allowed cars to race because the qualifying time in question was set under “exceptional circumstances” which I think 4 red flags in 18 mins are.

        1. I don’t argue those 11 driver shouldn’t start. They should be allowed to start, but from the back of grid as per the rule. This has been so every time this rule has been used, including for drivers missing the 107% time due to changing weather conditions.

          1. Leo B, the thing is, in the past the drivers that normally would fall outside of the 107% rule were the drivers who normally would be at the back of the grid by default. In the past, it was either outfits like Marussia, Caterham, HRT and so forth that fell foul of the rule, or drivers who had failed to set a proper time, such as when Verstappen crashed in Monaco earlier this year.

            This is the first time that I can think of under the current regulations where we had so many drivers fail to hit the 107% time that some of them were then able to progress into the next part of qualifying and were able to secure better grid positions.

            1. There was a French GP late 90’s where half the field was outside 107% due to changing weather conditions. That was the race where the steward’s discretion was introduced. Before that outside 107% really meant no start at all.
              I think the results of the affected drivers in Q2/3 should be regarded as null and void, because they didn’t make 107% in Q1. Better still, they shouldn’t have been allowed to participate in Q2 at all.

            2. Actually first case, was the 1997 Australian Grand Prix. Pedro Dinz got to race on a discretion.

    17. If rules are rules then we should just go back to the original rules from before people threw their toys out of the pram and go back to knock out qualifying.
      Then people can go back to their favourite hobby of complaining.
      Think how awful that would have been today, but hey, the rules are the same for everyone right?
      Why people think that a quirk of a session with bad weather and 4 red flags should suddenly turn the grid upside down by twisting badly written rules is beyond me.
      We talk all the time about F1 being it’s own worst enemy, but to try explain to casual viewers why 10 drivers (including two of the top 4) are suddenly in seemingly random positions would be another nail in the coffin.

    18. People seriously believe that half the field should not be allowed to start the race because of the nature of Q1.

      Time to have a long, hard look at yourselves.

      This site is beginning to rival the You Tube comments section.

      1. Who said “half the field should not be allowed to start the race” ?

    19. Do most people in here have no common sense? Obviously the others weren’t able to set a time on the drying track that’s why their times were so slow. In the first place, the rule was just there to prevent very slow cars to participate purely for monetary reasons like in the nineties and not for circumstances like these.

      1. The rule is very clear and makes no distinction to why a driver is outside 107%.
        If there are exceptional circumstances the stewards can use that to allow the driver to start the race, from the back.
        That’s common sense.

    20. Imagine your favorite driver, let’s call him driver X.

      Next race he has a problem in Q1 and is unable to set a time. He sits out Q2, but the problem is solved and then driver X illegally participates in Q3 (as the 11th driver). He takes pole position.

      Now before yesterday the situation was clear: Driver X should start from the back of grid.

      However with yesterdays verdict things are quite different. The stewards have ruled that the grid procedure should be ‘taken in its entirity’ and that rule 35.2 (the top of the grid is made up of drivers participating in Q3) should take precedent over rule 35.1 (drivers not setting a time in Q1 may be allowed to start from the back). The logical conclusion is that driver X should start from pole position.

      This is what happened yesterday. Ricciardo, Verstappen, Hulkenberg, Perez and Bottas did not qualify in Q1, thus illegally participated in Q2/3 and were allowed to keep their grid position. I call it a farce.

    21. I don’t understand how it is some cars weren’t allowed to progress to Q2, and yet they aren’t the ones who failed to meet the 107% time. I’m sure I’m wrong, but the impression I get is both Manors, both Renaults, and Massa met the 107% time, while those others didn’t. How can a car fail to progress to Q2 and yet meet the 107% time, while those that did progress to Q2 didn’t? I haven’t investigated this, but my suspicion is the excluded from Q2 cars also failed to meet the 107% time, and if that is the case then this report should have stated that.

      1. Every driver from place 12 onwards in Q1 was outside 107%.

    22. The rule is there to prevent dangerously slow cars and drivers from participating. On the rare occasions it is enforced ( bear in mind there is “discretion” allowed by this rule) it was because the car/driver was well outside 107% consistently thrust practice and Qualy in normal conditions.

      Complete storm in a teacup – discretion was applied as it should have been (and is allowed withing the rule).

      It’s not a matter of ignoring the rules – it was a matter of applying the rule “as intended”. I’m amazed that there seems to be so much argument over it.

      1. The only discretion available to the stewards is to allow a non-qualified car to start the race from the back of the grid.

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