Romain Grosjean, Haas, Hungaroring, 2019

F1 teams warn over cost of introducing qualifying races

2019 F1 season

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Formula 1 teams have warned that shaking up the race and qualifying format next year could do little more than increase their costs.

The sport’s managing director of motorsport Ross Brawn has suggested trialling some changes to the race weekend format next year, which could include ‘qualifying races’. But teams are sceptical of the scope of improvement and wary of anything which would make the sport even more expensive.

“If we change the weekend format maybe there is some good points in there,” said Toro Rosso team principal Franz Tost.

“But the most important thing is that the teams and the cars are on an equal level from the performance side. You can have whatever format, if there are some cars far ahead of the others, one second or even more, then it doesn’t change anything.

“What we have to provide the fans is a good show. For this the performance of the different [power units] and the cars have to be on a level within a few tenths of a second like it’s in the midfield. If you look currently there are three teams far ahead but the midfield is fighting very close to each other with a difference of a couple of hundredths of a second. There are good fights between the cars and this is what the fans want to see. I don’t think it is so much to do with the format.”

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Haas team principal Guenther Steiner said a mooted qualifying race would increase teams’ costs “because you need more spare parts because you have two races a weekend.”

“You need more MGU-Ks because they can break. We need to consider all this stuff.”

“We need to carefully think about it,” Steiner added. “There was a lot of things thrown around but we didn’t get down to discuss the detail about it so when we get in the detail that will be the difficult because if you change format and it costs a lot more there is a point where it is not sustainable.”

However Racing Point team principal Otmar Szafnauer said F1 should be open to experimenting with new formats.

“We did discuss some formats on Saturday to be able to mix up the grids for Sunday. We’ve got further discussions I think in Monza.

“I think if we are to improve the show there’s nothing wrong with trying and seeing how it goes, get some fan feedback, and if people like it and it improves the show I’m all for it.”

Any change to the race weekend format for the 2020 F1 season would mean altering F1’s sporting regulations for next year, which requires the unanimous agreement of all teams.

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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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Posted on Categories 2019 Belgian Grand Prix, 2019 F1 season articles, F1 newsTags , , ,

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  • 15 comments on “F1 teams warn over cost of introducing qualifying races”

    1. You can have whatever format, if there are some cars far ahead of the others, one second or even more, then it doesn’t change anything.

      Franz Tost speaking sense.

      1. Indeed @hugh11, and the midfield qualifying (well everything but the top three teams, now Williams might have found the tail of the field) is quite tense and interesting already.

    2. What would a qualifying race look like?
      I’d love to see a rallyx style heats session. It could still be an hour long, say 5x 3 lap sprint races with 4 cars per race. after that, the top car from each would contest a final shootout sprint race for pole

      1. Joker lap through gravel as well 😁

    3. Start with reverse grid from last race. Each lap final position is eliminated.

      For first race use reverse from last year.

      I bet we would see Fireworks on first lap.

    4. Qualifying races only make sense if it’s possible to overtake, otherwise you’re simply dooming some drivers to the back of the grid for the qualifying race and the main event. Sounds like the cart is being placed before the horse.

      1. I read that the plan is to try this format exactly in tracks with very difficult overtaking (Barcelona, Paul Ricard, Zandvoort). It is so wrong, that I want to scream “Wrong!”, although I am a very calm person.

    5. Qualifying ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

      Just like the racing it will come more exciting with less gaps between the teams.

    6. I’m no advocate of qualifying races—don’t see the need—but the teams’ protestations that it will drive up costs seems a nonstarter. Isn’t that precisely why a budget cap will come into effect in 2021? That way, F1 and the FIA can institute whatever changes they deem necessary and not worry about costs, because the teams will not be legally able to spend more than the cap allows.

    7. Qualifying races are nonsense…I like the drivers go for the maximum over one lap! I am not terribly concerned with a lack of ‘good show’ either…there always were and will be ‘boring’ races. But the championship itself definitely needs to be less predictable…and the best way to get there is level funding for all the teams.

      1. Well said, Aleš! If I want a “good show” I go to circus or rock concert, but there is not a sport where a show is guaranteed every time. Boring matches/races happen in all kinds of sport.

    8. Friday-
      1 hour practice1
      1 hour reverse drivers championship race (points only given to drivers)
      1 hour practice2
      1 hour qualifying
      Race(with points given both to teams and drivers)

    9. Show, Show, Show, Show… Mixing up, Mixing up, Mixing up!

      This isn’t what F1 is supposed to be, If you want equality with mixed up equally matched grids then go watch one of the many spec & lower categories that offer this.

      F1 is supposed to be a sporting competition, The pinnacle of the sport with the best drivers in the best/fastest cars to see who the best engineer’s, designers & of course drivers are. If you don’t find that entertaining then just accept that F1 isn’t for you & go find something that is. There is too much trying to change the sport to appeal to those who don’t like or don’t understand what it is.

      The more ‘show/entertainment’ it goes the more it loses itself. It’s having an identity crisis & is starting to look like F1 in name only because what there talking about certainly isn’t any version of F1 I recognise anymore, Sounds more like A1GP or Indycar+!

      If they want to go full show artificial gimmickey entertainment then just be open/honest & stop claiming your not changing F1’s DNA & don’t want to put the longer time fans off. Stop insulting our intelligence & just admit what your doing so that we know where we stand & know that what you want F1 to be isn’t true F1 & that fans like me should just walk away from it & the sport.

      Just rename it Indycar+ already because that’s what it’s going to be come 2021 from the sounds of it.

      1. +1 I am soooooo sick of hearing about “the show” and making changes to “spice things up”. Next they’ll be suggesting oval tracks. Can’t understand why Bernie’s sprinklers haven’t been mooted other than it was an idea Bernie came up with.

      2. johnandtonic (@)
        31st August 2019, 9:25

        With clowns in charge is it any wonder they want to build a circus!

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