Nico Hulkenberg, Renault, Sochi Autodrom, 2018

New rule to prevent qualifying no-shows in 2019

2019 F1 season

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The FIA has issued updated rules for the 2019 F1 season including a change aimed at stopping penalised drivers from sitting out qualifying.

The change is a consequence of a new rule introduced this year which allowed stewards to send a driver to the back of the grid for changing too many power unit components. Previously these drivers were moved back a certain number of places on the grid.

If more than one driver received the new penalty their starting order was determined by the order in which they incurred the penalty. This meant those drivers had little incentive to set lap times in qualifying.

On several occasions during the season drivers who received these grid penalties did not run during some stages of qualifying because it would have no effect on their starting position. At the Russian Grand Prix five drivers chose not to set lap times during Q2, meaning all five were eliminated.

In order to encourage drivers with grid penalties to run during qualifying next year, the new rules state their grid position will now be determined by their qualifying order.

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Revised 2019 F1 Sporting Regulations

Updated regulations in italics:

23.3 b) Should a driver use more than the numbers set in a) above of any one of the elements during a Championship season, a grid place penalty will be imposed upon him at the first Event during which each additional element is used. Penalties will be applied according to the following table and will be cumulative:

The first time an additional element is used: Ten grid place penalty.
The next times an additional element is used: Five grid place penalty.

If a driver incurs a penalty exceeding 15 grid places he will be required to start the race from the back of the starting grid.

Any of the six elements will be deemed to have been used once the car’s timing transponder has shown that it has left the pit lane.

During any single Event, if a driver introduces more than one of the same power unit element which is subject to penalties, only the last element fitted may be used at subsequent Events without further penalty.


35.2 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 23.3(e) or Article 23.5(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 required to start the race from the back of the grid after incurring a penalty under Article 23.3(b) will be arranged on the grid behind any driver penalised under c) above.

If more than one driver is required to start the race from the back of the grid they will be arranged in qualifying order.

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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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25 comments on “New rule to prevent qualifying no-shows in 2019”

  1. I can’t see that making much difference, it would only make a one or two place difference and the quicker teams will gain that back in the first half of the lap. If they want to make sure everyone takes part in qualifying then give them a 5 place grid penalty for the next race etc.

    1. They did that at the beginning of the V6 era, and people were complaining about Renault cars getting ridiculous penalties carried over to the next race. So they scrapped it. IMO it’s a better option than what they have currently.

      1. @adamgoh No, the current way is better. It wasn’t too fair to get penalties carried over and over from one race weekend to another, so it’s better and fairer overall that everything gets applied for the same single weekend.

        1. The problem is drivers sitting out parts of qualifying, this change to the rules is unlikely to change that. It will still happen unless they are hit hard, such as ‘if you make no attempt to qualify in a session you are eligible for, then you will not be permitted to race’.

          1. Maybe the 107% rule should apply to all sessions of Qualifying, not just Q1, so if a team elects or can’t set a time within the 107% time then they need to pay a visit to the Stewards. I’m not sure what punishment they could hand out to a team that brazenly refuses to run a race ready car in the relevant Qualifying session, but hopefully there is a rule that could be used.

  2. I would rather team points deductions than these silly grid penalties however that will never happen as it’s a major influence in making a race exciting.

    1. @ming-mong The problem with points penalties is that it hit’s some teams far worse than others & the teams it hits the hardest are the one’s that can least afford it.

      For instance Red Bull were about 160 points behind Ferrari & nearly 300 ahead of Renault so could have taken a dozen points penalties & not felt it. Meanwhile behind them teams were much closer & for some losing 5-10 points has a big effect as don’t forget where they finish in the constructors standings decides how much prize money they get. Also consider that the smaller teams are buying engines, gearboxes etc… so it’s also seen as unfair on them to take points away for something they are been supplied by a third party failing.

      The reason they went with grid drops when the long life components were first introduced in 2004 & why they have stuck with them for so long is because nobody has come up with an alternative that works. You need something that discourages the big teams from throwing new engines etc… in the car every day/weekend but which also doesn’t hurt the smaller teams the rule was brought in to help in the first place.

      It’s something that has been looked at dozens of times over the years by the FIA, FOM , Liberty & the teams yet nobody has ever come up with an alternative that works.

      1. All fair and valid points… hmmm

  3. So teams can reduce the grid penalty by qualifing. I don’t know how much impact this will have.

  4. The grid penalties should be less steep (2 points instead of 5, 4 instead of 10) BUT they should be consumed completely. If the penalty would put the driver beyond last position the remainder is to be carried over to the next race.
    Penalties should be applied in qualifying order; a driver put last will move forward if other drivers who have qualified lower get moved back beyond his position. Even so, remaining points do not get re-applied but carry over to the next race, to prevent inflation.
    With this system the effect of the penalties is consistent and qualifying remains as important as ever.

    1. If the penalty would put the driver beyond last position the remainder is to be carried over to the next race.

      Well, if say they got a big 10 place grid drop and they were the worst team and qualified right near the back each time. It would take over 5 races to get just one penalty. Not sure that would seem right.

      1. But if they are last anyway it would not matter much?
        Then, other teams will take penalties too and fall behind, eventually they’d rid themselves of the penalty. But it shouldn’t be easy; it is a penalty after all.

        The removal of the spillover makes penalty points more severe, that’s why I propose to reduce the penalty grid drop to 40%. Your 10 place grid drop would then amount to 5 PU elements, or 4 including a first one.

        Most of all this prevents teams from changing all PU elements ‘because they are last anyway’, as they do now. I never liked that.

  5. José Lopes da Silva
    21st December 2018, 15:16

    Nice patchwork.

  6. Ok, so we are just lessening the penalties for the front runners!

  7. It actually sounds like a simple correction (minor) to one aspect of the current system.
    If a team knew they were taking a series of penalties, there was a bonus to establishing this ahead of any other team taking similar penalties. You got to start ahead of them, even without turning a wheel in Q1, 2 or 3.
    Now at least there is an incentive to possibly doing a couple of laps in Q1 and if there are enough starting form the back, you might pick up a few places. Give Grosjean a different target to shoot for.

  8. Good change, which subsequently means that from now on the drivers will have much less of a reason to sit out a qualifying session in the scenario where multiple drivers get big grid penalties like in Sochi, for example, as the order will be based on the provisional qualifying finishing order rather than the other in which the penalized drivers/car entries went onto the track in FP1.

  9. For drivers who sit out qualifying, just minus points from their points tally. Saving your engine by remaining in the garage after a grid drop is an advantage. It would be nice to see negative numbers in the points tally. Minus points in the Drivers and Constructors. That would stamp out the practice instantly and ‘improve the show’.

    1. To avoid this they drive some % of a lap and then stop the car because of “problems”.

  10. This is great. Now all the teams agree to take a new engine every race and grid position is set by qualifyinge. Back to one race and done engines.

    Won’t happen of course.

  11. I still think they should simply allocate the full penalty and move them back the equivalent of that many grid slots.

    Who cares if there are only 20 cars?
    You qualified 14th, after your 10 place penalty, you start in the 24th grid slot.

    Only place that could be an issue woumd be Monaco. Everywhere else,no problem.

    Also F3 is set to have a 30 car field, so there will be minimum 30 grid slots set up and useable. So use them!

  12. Fiddling with a bad system will only end up, at best, with a slightly less bad system.

    This system is in place to prevent rich teams from chucking a new engine/parts in for every race but in reality it prevents smaller teams from improving quickly by starving them of points, which ultimately starves them of money leaving them without the funds needed to invest to improve.
    Perhaps if poorly performing teams could be penalised less e.g. allow a free change if the team has scored less than 5 points in the last 3 races. Something along those lines could work although I’m sure the big boys would do their utmost to corrupt the system to work in their favour…

    1. The real rich teams put a dozen engines on the dyno and picks the best three. Remarked by a merc engineer! So there is no lesser spending and the difference between teams grows further.

      1. Gotta dyno your engines before they go out. You spent the r&d, your team did the work. The engines are sitting in your facility, the men sorting, numbering and allocating them work for merc.

        In what silly world do you live in, where they would give the best performing engine to Williams. “Lucky for Sirotkin!”

        Nah nah nah, this is racing, not welfare. I do not understand the idea that all f1 engines of the same revision will be equal and democratic.

  13. My question with this is tire choice. If you qualify Top 10 before getting sent to the back, do you still have to use your Q2 tires to start the race?

    I ask because if I was a Sauber/FI/Haas type team more reliant on race strategy than pure pace to get points, I wouldn’t want to trade one spot up the grid for starting on the wrong tire strategy.

    The result? Sitting my car in Q2, or having a weird Race to 11th with other pentalized midfield teams, defeating the purpose of the rule.

    1. The next times an additional element is used: Five grid place penalty.
      “The next times”?? Do 5th graders write these rules? The word subsequent comes to mind…

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