Vettel sees no need to change qualifying format

2018 Japanese Grand Prix

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Sebastian Vettel has criticised plans to change Formula 1’ws qualifying format as plans for a ‘Q4’ session are under discussion.

In response to a question from RaceFans during today’s FIA press conference, the Ferrari driver said there was no need to replace the current three-part format.

“I’m just wondering what we will discuss in 10 years’ time,” he said. “Whether we’ll talk about Q9 and Q10? Whether that makes sense? Probably not.

“Maybe we should go less. My person opinion is that nowadays we need too much entertainment to be happy. It would be nice to settle for something less as well.”

Vettel said his preference was for F1’s one-hour qualifying format, where drivers were allowed to do up to 12 laps. The format was used for the final time at Suzuka, scene of this weekend’s race, in 2002.

“My preferred qualifying was back in the days when they had an hour and you could do what you want,” said Vettel.

“Obviously qualifying for some people will never be as exciting as the race but for some people it’s more exciting than the race. Depends on your taste.

“But I think it’s about getting the perfect lap and I don’t think it matters how many qualifying session you have. now we have three and the one most people look out for is the last one so if you have Q4, Q5, Q6, Q7, what’s going to change?”

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Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
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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10 comments on “Vettel sees no need to change qualifying format”

  1. Pretty much the only ones in favour of messing with qualifying is Liberty.

    F1 is rapidly becoming the pinnacle of slow learners and is becoming really hard to take seriously.

  2. I like quali, it does not need structural change and most fans agree on that.

    Q1: Always interesting watching a big gun scrambling to make it through like Mclaren most weekends and occasionally Reno. Plenty of drama.

    Q:3 Top guys on track, always epic watching them come across the line battling for pole with their final lap. Maximum pressure, I love it.

    Q2: Usually a weird session. Finishing 11th nowadays is better than 10th/9th because of tyre choice. Its not right a driver is happy they missed Q3 because they are 11th. Solution is free tyre choice for the full grid, not just those outside top 10. This would make 10th more valuable than 11th again.

  3. José Lopes da Silva
    4th October 2018, 9:32

    The ideal should be the return to the 1996-2002 system but with less minutes. If people can’t “stand” (good grief) 1 hour of qualifying, give them less minutes. Like 45. If people can “stand” for 45 minutes-long of football, they can do the same with a qualifying, right?
    We currently have 18+15+12 = so just bring that together and forget that “silly-ness” of Q2-Q3 tyres rules that makes no sense and are hard to explain to kids.

    Anyway, the big problem is really the paywall TV.

  4. I still think the only reason liberty wants 4 sessions so they can add one more commercial break between q3 and q4.

  5. Agreed. LM should start to listen more to people who’ve been involved in this sport far longer than they have.

  6. I think what @socksolid and others have commented about commercial breaks is just spot on. Why would they want a 8 car Q4 otherwise? it’s practically the same as what we have now. There must be a reason behind it, and fitting another commercial break aligns very well as an argument.

    I’ve never been a fan of the knock out qualy system. I think it’s just a blur and you can’t concentrate on the drivers because the cameras switch them around all the time so you never get to see a full lap or you miss the important bits. The one hour qualifying sessions provided ample time for every driver to do their own thing at their own time and the cameras often followed the important guys chasing pole one at the time. But it’s true the first half an hour was boring because no one dared to go out the pits.

    I liked the one-lap qualifying most of all, even though it was very unfair to those doing their lap early. But I loved watching every single lap, and I liked the “do or die” style which worked well to throw some surprises up and down the field. I enjoyed watching the Minardis do their laps, it was interesitng to see how bad their cars behaved and how hard they had to work. But I admit the system has its faults… I think the best qualifying sessions I’ve seen were under this format.

    But again, qualyfing is very far down the list of things to change in modern F1. I wish they just let it like it is and concentrated on more urgent matters

    1. I think the qualifying is just about as exciting as it could be. Maybe the thing that is wrong with it is where the focus of the cameras is. All the way through q1 and q2 the focus is on the front runners just in case something happens and one of them doesn’t get through. The middle field and the back of the field does not get much attention. But of course at the same time the front runners are the ones who we are most interested in. Would the q1 be fun to watch if we focused on the williamses, saubers and toro rossos? Would it be interesting? I doubt it. People want to see the mercs and ferraris and see what kind of lap times they do.

      If I really had to change something about the qualifying then maybe have the top 6 cars go one at a time. Q1 and q2 exactly the same as now but in q3 the position 7-10 would not drive anymore. Have the fastest q2 driver decide when he wants to go. Then p2 chooses and so forth. If the weather favours people who go out first then the fastest q2 drivers get that chance. It is the top 6 anyways so nobody would lose out massively. The reason why just the top6 cars in q3 because in reality the rest are not racing these cars anyways. This would also make the q2 more meaningful for the top drivers as the fastest get to choose first when they go out in q3.

      That kind of arrangement might be exciting for the pole. And it sure would be nervous last 10 minutes or so. Not just about who is the fastest but who can keep it together and not make a mistake.

  7. Bjornar Simonsen
    4th October 2018, 12:32

    What I don’t like is the hubris and arrogance of the new american leadership who think they can say and do whatever they want without consequence. Now they are trying to push this ridiculous Q4 thing on us and claim it was the fans who asked for it. They’ve done this before as well (claiming it was the fans who wanted it, and that they “listen”).

    The nerves on these people…

  8. I agree with Vettel on this one.

    The 1 hour qualifying rules of the past also allowed the cars’ set up to change after qualifying. This allowed the mechanics to use set ups that were optimal for qualifying, but which would not be good for a race long battle. Therefore qualifying was exceptional as you could really see the cars at their limit.

    The qualifying battles between Schumacher and Hakinnen for example were exceptional compared to the borefest that we get today.

  9. Never understood why drivers on poll do not get point(s).
    That may make quali more interesting.

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