Pierre Gasly, Toro Rosso, Sochi Autodrom, 2018

“Really silly” lack of running in Q2 shows penalties need changing – Gasly

2018 Russian Grand Prix

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Pierre Gasly said the lack of running in Q2 shows Formula 1’s grid penalties are “stupid” and need to be changed.

The Toro Rosso driver was one of five participants in Q2 who did not set a time. He and the Red Bull pair had grid penalties due to power unit changes, and would have started last regardless of where they qualified.

The two Renault drivers also didn’t run. Gasly suspects this was because they doubted they would be quick enough to reach Q3, and by setting a time they could ensure they would be the first cars on the grid to start the race on fresh tyres.

“I think they knew that they didn’t have the pace and they prefer to start on ultra-soft or soft tyres compared to the hyper which will be pretty tough to keep alive in the race,” he said.

“They knew that without driving they will start 11th and 12th because we will not run anyway in Q2. Let’s see if it pays off – if they finish fifth and sixth tomorrow it was the right choice.”

Gasly said F1’s rules need to be changed to ensure drivers always have an incentive to participate in qualifying.

“For me the main thing is you need to find a solution to give different penalties,” he said. “When you look at the qualifying where in Q2 all five cars from 11th to 15th didn’t run I think that looks really silly.

“The regulation at the moment doesn’t push the team to run the car in qualifying. If the grid position was based on the qualifying result then at least for us, for example, we would have been out in Q2 and trying to set a better lap time than Alonso and the Red Bulls would have needed to go out as well.”

Gasly said his engine penalty meant he knew after first practice what his starting position would be which “is not so great.”

“I think first you have the penalty system which is a bit stupid because when you qualify in a position you like to start in that position and not at the back. Plus the way they decide the penalty and your grid position is not the right one, they should find another way.”

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Dieter Rencken
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21 comments on ““Really silly” lack of running in Q2 shows penalties need changing – Gasly”

  1. I can agree with him in principle although it hasn’t been easy to find a better solution.

    1. What about instead of losing 20 places one loses something like 3, 4 or 5 places. Then it stays interesting enough to qualify properly, but it is gonna hurt you enough (especially when fighting for the championship) when you overuse this during the season.

      Or, you’re gonna have the position on the grid in a Q-session (Q1, Q2, Q3) lower. So when you end up being 4th, you start 14th (Q3 > Q2). When you qualified 12th, you end 17th. 18th > last. 8th > 15th.

  2. The only solution is to provide tyres that cannot do a race distance, no matter the compound and let the teams decide the best option for them – take 3 compounds, do away with the qualifying tyre rule so all cars can qualify on the same footing and do away with the rule stating they must use 2 compounds in the race. If no tyre can do a race distance, and some have shorter life still, you are guaranteed at least one stop and teams will decide the fastest way to get their car to the end.
    It really isn’t rocket surgery.

    1. Not really a solution!

      My Ideal solution would be top 10 qualifiers get points like in the races to attract running. And reverse order starting to allow exciting racing… but not full reverse, like Q1’s run first group, Q2s second group, then Q3s… And everyone choose the tyre they want to race but two different compound required for pitting. If any penalty needed, applied to team who deliberately doesnt go fast… those ones sent to pit start! problem solved…

  3. What about losing points? I don’t love the idea, but it would incentivize qualifying for the best starting position.

    1. @nitin24 The issue with points is some teams could easily afford to take penalty’s while other’s woudl have there season ruined with just 1.

      Red Bull for instance are nearly 200 points ahead of Renault & miles behind Ferrari so a points penalty system wouldn’t hurt them at all. However from Renault back teams are really close so losing even a few points but have a huge impact at the end of the year which then also hit’s them financially with prize money been handed out based on constructors standings.

      Additionally if a driver suffering a penalty for something outside of his control is deemed unfair then how is it anymore fair that a team who may be buying there engine, Gearbox etc… from an outside source gets a points penalty for something that is just as much outside of there control as it is the drivers.

      Teams have had a few opportunities to change it over the years be it via FOTA or more recently the strategy group yet have never done so because nobody has ever come up with a better solution that is a disincentive to top teams but also doesn’t hurt the mid-field/back of grid teams that the component restrictions were brought in to try & help.

  4. Somebody suggested that the penalty should be incurred by the team, not the driver… but I don’t see how it could work.
    If you penalise the team say, 10 pts, but allow the driver to start from his qualified grid position is this fair to the drivers around him who are using tired engines…?
    e.g. at the end of the season a team with no chance of winning the WCC but with a driver who is capable of winning the WDC could fit a new engine for each of the final races… which is hardly fair.
    And I’m sure someone would think it worthwhile… ;)

  5. I’m not against penalties. What needs to change is the tyre rule forcing drivers to start on the rubber they qualified on in Q2 if they start in the top 10. That’s just stupid and specailly now given how tight the midfield is.

    Magnussen starts 5th and could well drop outside the top ten because he’s forced to start on the hypers. That’s really unfair!

    1. The Q2 tyre rule has to go.
      You punish the top 10 for being faster and reward those who aren’t by giving them free fresh tyres.
      You start on the tyre you set your fastest last Qauly lap on regardless of what session you’re elimanated. Simple.

      Also prevents the top teams starting back gaining an advantage over the rest by starting on harder tyres. How many ‘recovery’ drives were done by starting on harder tyres and gaining favorable strategies?

      Some of those drives even made podiums for crying out loud.

    2. Yeah this is the problem with all these rules on top of rules on top of rules that are designed to mold the show in a particular way. Alot of these silly rules can be thrown out as they serve no purpose today and one could argue shouldn’t have been introduced in the first place. The gimmicks have gone too far and its a complete joke, people pay so much money to go to these events and this is the show F1 dishes out event after event. I used to go to live F1 events but not anymore. Once I even flew around the world to go to the first GP in Valencia. haha what a joke that was. In the end hundreds of people formed a class action against the promoter which to my surprise we were given back our ticket money. If I had payed good money to go to Singapore last race to watch my heroes drive around some 10 seconds off the pole time i would have been very disappointed.

      1. What did we get back in the day? Drivers ringing the neck out of it lap after lap with adrenaline sounding machinery.. Now we get to see these amazing cars perform at there peak for a couple of laps in qualy and a couple of laps in the race either at the start or when drivers going for the undercut. The rest is all management, DRS gimmicks, follow the leader and little strategy around boring 1 stop races.. We should be talking about epic wheel to wheel battles rather than all this other nonsense.

        1. Have to totally, 100%, indubitably agree…!!

  6. Well dear boys and girls, you limit the number of engines, number of gearboxes and you penalize those who need a change, you limit the number of tyres and you make them use two different compounds during the race. No freakin wonder the racing fell down the s-can and nobody wants to drive in qualifying wearing an engine, gearbox and tyres with grid penalties allready knowing they will be starting last….

    An now, instead of fixing the problems listed above, they will probably start making a tyranny to force drivers out on the track with a “we shoot u if u dont drive” system?

  7. What is not just silly but also stupid is the attempt to try to create or call for rules change for any situation. How often does Q2 look like that?

  8. The penalties are not the problem, they are the best system available. They also provide a bit of excitement, occasionally placing faster drivers at the back.

    Increase the available power units back to 6 or so per season. This will give an instant increase in performance and less penalty scenarios if one goes bang.

    Then abolish the outdated Q2 tire rules. Let drivers start on whatever tires they like.

    Fixed.

    1. @aussierod: 6 or so for most and 12 or so for Honda & Renault.

  9. Channel 4 coverage summed it up nicely, there’s a contradiction in having penalties to make F1 more energy efficient but then have a large increase in the carbon footprint for wanting 23 races a season. F1 doesn’t know what it wants to be, and nonsense like today in Q2 are a result.

  10. From the get go of these ludicrous penalising the driver BS.
    I’ve stated & proposed this truly simple solution.

    The “penalty” should be imposed on the Constructor’s points.
    Hardly the driver’s fault the car needs any fresh component above the FIA set limit.

    1. Although I agree with you in principle I posted this comment above… In case you missed it:

      Somebody suggested that the penalty should be incurred by the team, not the driver… but I don’t see how it could work.
      If you penalise the team say, 10 pts, but allow the driver to start from his qualified grid position is this fair to the drivers around him who are using tired engines…?
      e.g. at the end of the season a team with no chance of winning the WCC but with a driver who is capable of winning the WDC could fit a new engine for each of the final races… which is hardly fair.
      And I’m sure someone would think it worthwhile… ;)

    2. They know races can be rather boring so the FIA adds another gimmick to mix up the grid with silly penalties. The show must go on.. If penalties are to stay I would rather see points cover the whole field and drivers + teams be penalized on points depending on the extra components used. Each component could incur a weighted penalty system ie. ICE = 10 points, Gearbox = 7, Turbo = 5 etc… Id rather DR & FA qualifying and racing up the front than this current bogus system..

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