Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes, Yas Marina, 2018

F1 teams rejected plan to scrap ‘Q3 tyre rule’

2019 F1 season

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Formula 1 teams rejected a proposal to scrap the rule which forces half the grid to start the race on old tyres.

The rule requiring drivers who reach Q3 to start the race on a used set of tyres was introduced in 2010. Originally they had to use a set of tyres from Q3, but in 2014 the rules was changed, and the top 10 qualifiers now have to start the race on tyres used in Q2.

However this led midfield drivers in some races this year to avoid running in Q2, in order to start the race on fresh tyres. This prompted calls to scrap the rule, as Pirelli motorsport director Mario Isola explained.

“There was a proposal to remove the rule that obliges the top 10 to start with the tyres using in quali but it was not approved,” he said. “At this point of the year you need unanimity to change the rules for next year, no changes are planned.”

Pirelli believes it can encourage drivers to run in Q2 by selecting more conservative tyres which will encourage them to use softer rubber in qualifying.

“If we go a bit more conservative in the selection I think that in quali there is no reason to try to use the medium, the one in the middle, instead of the softest, because the advantage is probably less,” said Isola.

Teams also considered whether to increase the number of mandatory pit stops drivers are required to make during races from one to two. Isola is sceptical this will improve racing, but says the idea deserves further study.

“I’m not sure it’s the right solution because there is the big risk that everybody stops on the same lap, or very close, so basically you are just generating shorter stints where probably drivers can push more. They can use the softest available compound because the stints are shorter but there is no variation in the strategies.

“This doesn’t mean that it is a worse situation. It could be good, we don’t know. We asked the teams to make some simulations to understand how they can react to a change of regulation.

“For me that’s an important point. Any time there is an idea before trying to implement the idea it is very useful that we go back to the teams and we tell them try to make a simulation with these rules and see what happens because sometimes we believe that we have a very good idea and we discover it is not.”

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2019 F1 season

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29 comments on “F1 teams rejected plan to scrap ‘Q3 tyre rule’”

  1. Everyone complains about this stupid rule, and then suddenly someone does not want to scrap it? Come on…

    1. I think ‘everyone’ in this case is ‘some fans’ and in reality the teams don’t seem to mind.

      1. Drivers from the midfield teams routinely complain about this.

        1. They do? But if they are out of the top ten in quali they get to choose their own tires to start on, any compound, new or used. What’s to complain about?

          1. @robbie maybe the strategic choice is from the team’s side, while the driver would like to take part to the session?

          2. Complaints are when a midfield driver makes it into Q3, then quickly fall down the order due to inferior rubber to the drivers behind them.

    2. I’m not too concerned about this rule; it’s clear and the same for all.
      But then again I’m not ‘everyone’.

    3. Was probably one of the big teams, as for them it means they choose their Q2 tyre strategy accordingly, which could give them the advantage over one of the others if they make the wrong call. It doesn’t hugely affect them.

      1. @hugh11, it could also be that, whilst they might not like the current rule, they were unable to come up with an alternative and the current rule stayed in place because it was the least disliked option.

        1. Aka, “things are complicated”.

          … something this site misses a lot.

  2. So, given anonymity was required, I guess one or more of the teams that thinks next year they will often be on the cusp of Q3, and thus starting on their own choice of tyres anyway, thought they still want to have this tyre advantage then? Very F1.

    1. Not anonymity, but unanimity…they needed all teams on board and it is likely not a secret as to whichever teams voted against changing the rule.

      1. eh, yes, typo and being tired so not noticed, thanks @robbie

        1. or being tyred ;)

          1. If you stay up really late, can you get re-tired.?
            The vote needs anonymity to get the unanimity needed.
            It wasn’t and they didn’t. Time for a pit-stop.

  3. F1 is run by the stupidest clever people in the world. Will they ever listen and learn?

    1. I usually find that intelligence and common sense are very different things!

      1. In many cases its mutually exclusive.

  4. Probably the top 3 voted against, the rule doesn’t affect them, and they surely don’t want 4 cars behind them having a chance of a better start and messing with them

    1. Or that indeed @johnmilk, can’t not have that convenient pit-window to stop in I guess.

    2. @johnmilk How would this change that exactly? The runners from 7th-10th generally start on the softest compounds anyways, and it would be no different with this ruling.

      1. And the top 6 would run with the fastest strategy anyways, and they can afford to run harder compounds than those behind.

        1. I would imagine it being the bottom teams want to keep this ruling, as they stand to benefit most.

        2. @mashiat
          Joao is probably hinting on the scenario in which the top 6 would start on different tyres than those in 7th-10th, get beaten at the start by them, and then losing valuable time behind them or even worse, getting taken out by them.

      2. @mashiat if you scrap the rule everybody gets to choose the tyres for the race. A new tyre has more grip even if the used one only has 3 laps. Plus drivers classified from 7-10 might start on a different strategy than those in front. If they start with a harder compound the others run the risk of falling behind traffic when they stop. If they use a fresh soft compound in the initial laps they could pressure the top 6 and make them lose time. Hence for me it makes sense that the ones that benefit the most from the current rule are the top 6, they have enough margin to pull a distance that gives them a nice pit window as mentioned by @bosyber, and even if they don’t the closest cars from the midfield will have to pit more or less at the same time, so the risk of getting stuck in traffic is considerably smaller

  5. I wouldn’t be against scrapping the rule of having to start the races with the same set that was used for the personal best Q2 lap, but two stops as the mandatory number for pit stops instead of one, not really in favor of it. The aero is the primary source of why the teams tend to lean more towards a one-stop strategy most of the time, not the number of pit stops.

  6. It’s a stupid rule that does nothing but put teams at the tail end of the top 10 at a disadvantage compared to those immediately behind.

    As to adding a second mandatory stop, It would do nothing because mandatory stops never work to improve the racing. All it woudl do is put a greater emphasis on sitting back & trying to undercut which is the only thing the single mandatory stop we already have does. If the goal is to create overtaking then you want no stops because that is the only way you put the emphasis on going for an overtake on the track.

  7. This is why you don’t let the teams choose the rules.
    The question needs to be asked, who actually runs the sport?

  8. Don’t ask the teams what to do; teams only choose the option what benefits them the most. The bigger picture (the sport) is second to them. I assume the top three teams voted against the scrap because they can reach Q3 with a harder compound. The teams that hardly ever reach Q3 voted against because they have a strategic advantage. So only the teams in the bottom half of Q3 suffer the most (Haas, Renault, Force India) of the Q3 tyre rule.

    But for the sport I think it’s bad to make them start on tyres designed for qualifying. It just doesn’t make sense.

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