Qualifying top three, Monza, 2019

Monza Q3 farce unlikely to be repeated this year – Verstappen

2019 Italian Grand Prix

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Formula 1 is unlikely to see a repeat of the bizarre scenes at the end of qualifying for the Italian Grand Prix according to Max Verstappen.

Only one of the nine drivers who attempted to set a lap time at the end of Q3 at Monza did so. The rest failed to start their laps early enough having slowed down and queued up behind each other at the start of the lap, hoping to get a slipstream from another car.

Verstappen, who was not involved in the session, said the outcome came as no surprise.

“I knew it was going to happen,” he said. “You could see the clock ticking down, you go like ‘OK, everybody will go out with two minutes to go’ and then people end up not having a lap time.

“I didn’t expect that many people to not have a lap time. It’s a bit silly of course but everybody knows that. But of course you always try to put yourself in the right position so probably I would have been in that mix as well. You don’t want to be the first one, at least.”

However Verstappen believes the different track characteristics of Singapore means the same won’t happen this weekend. “People will try to have an eight-second gap,” he predicted, as the high number of slow corners on the track means drivers will want to avoid being in a slipstream as it will rob them of downforce.

He says there are few remaining venues on this year’s calendar where the value of a tow will be as high as it was in Italy.

“Monza is one of the tracks where it’s really beneficial,” he said. “Even the corners which are there, you’re not losing that much compared to the beginning of the straight.

“In Mexico with the thinner air the effect is less. I’ve never been going to Mexico saying ‘I really need a tow in qualifying’ because there’s still quite a lot of corners where you want clear air.”

“Maybe Sochi a little bit,” he added. “But again it’s not going to be like it was [at Monza].”

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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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15 comments on “Monza Q3 farce unlikely to be repeated this year – Verstappen”

  1. Farce as in an amusing comedy. Enjoyable.

  2. ”Only one of the nine drivers who attempted to set a lap time at the end of Q3 at Monza did so. The rest failed to start their laps early enough having slowed down and queued up behind each other at the start of the lap, hoping to get a slipstream from another car.”
    – Not quite right. Seven out of nine failed to start a flying lap before the time ran out, and out of the two who made it over the timing line early enough to start a flyer, only the other one completed the lap at full-speed. Out of the remaining seven venues, Singapore has too many corners and only ‘short’ full-throttle stretches, and while the rest have at least one long/long-ish straight, there are still a bit too many corners compared to Monza for it to be worth it.

    1. @jerejj Leclerc made it look like he got over the line in time but he didn’t…

      1. You mean he made it look like he didn’t, but he did. Pit wall told him he didn’t make it, but he wasn’t flagged on the timing sheet. He was guaranteed pole anyway, so no reason to run, save the set of tyres.

        1. @sihrtogg
          Yeah. They made another mistake at Ferrari. Though this time it meant nothing at least.

      2. @jeanrien Not according to the TV graphics on the left-hand side of the frame, though. The chequered flag that appears after a driver has completed a lap after the time has run out didn’t appear beside his name-letters.
        @sihrtogg Yes indeed. He indeed didn’t get flagged on the timing sheet nor the TV graphics, so technically he was allowed to complete the lap at full speed but eventually chose to abort instead.

  3. The Monza Q3 stuff up is over blown and no it won’t be happening again as the rest of the tracks give little or no advantage for slipstreaming.

    1. Thats in short what the article said indeed.

  4. And now the FIA wants more rules to prevent this, lampshading their own inability to punish drivers/teams for this. I had a good laugh, like others of the trouble people got themselves into in Q3. When the first driver left his box at 2:00 to go, the last was rougly at 1:40 to go. With the laptime there, they would have needed a fast outlap, not crawling around letting everything cool down.

    Just quit making rules for every exception.

    1. Verstappen’s absence was a major contributing factor. It removed competition for Ferrari Merc and Renault. That reduced uncertainty and simplified the strategy. Renault in particular had no incentive to run again with a lonely Red Bull provisionally behind them and lurking for a tow.
      It also meant Albon had no partner, so he couldn’t do anything but wait.

      I maintain this isn’t a problem that needs fixed. It is a feature of Monza, not a bug.

      If they must do something I suggest dropping fewer cars after each qualifying session, so the final season has at least 12 cars. Just at Monza.

      The other option would be to remove cost of towing to the lead car. Perhaps allow an extra set of new tires and let them adjust fuel loads. But that might lead to more cars sitting out the last lap 2 minutes. Would have to make some simulations to know for sure.

  5. I’ll put down 10 bucks right now that qualifying at Singapore with be an absolute mess with cars travelling ultra slowly and backing up on their outlaps causing quite a few drivers, particularly in Q1 and Q2 to be unable to get a second lap in.

    Q3 may not be as bad but if one of the teams puts in a stoning first lap and is on provisional pole, you can bet they’ll lead out the second run and go as slowly as possible with the aim of stopping the others from getting a clean lap in. Still a big chance in my opinion that at least 1 or two will miss the start of their second run.

    The problem is the tyres and the fact that they have to be treated so gently on the outlap and now teams have discovered that there’s a way to block a second attempt, they’ll be doing their best to do so if they have a good time registered from their first run.

    1. Yep, not for the tow this time, but to get clean air for their quali lap, you might well be right @dbradock

    2. @dbradock, the difference in Monza is that multiple drivers were deliberately trying not to overtake the car in front, as there was an active incentive to stay behind them for the tow.

      In the case of Singapore, the incentive is the polar opposite – you want to get ahead of that driver as you want to have the clearest lap possible to work with. I can’t see that strategy working at Singapore because the driver behind will be doing his utmost to overtake you, not sit behind you.

      The only way you could keep them behind would be to actively block them from overtaking, but in that situation it is far more likely that such blatant blocking would see you being thrown out of qualifying.

      1. Anon, I understand what you’re saying about polar opposite, but I think you’ll find that the teams have learned that if you have 2 cars line astern with drivers shouting “tell him to go past me” they’ll quite easily be able to block the pack behind, as was the case last week when it became apparent at the back they needed to get past to get a lap started.

        I’m cynical enough to believe that a team “out of position” after the first run in q3 would use every trick it can to try and prevent others from having a clear run at beating their time and this year’s tyres have allowed far more scope to do that.

        It can be done by the sort of blocking we saw last week, or by ensuring your driver(s) are on a slow outlap and slightly near the racing line on the final few corners to disrupt another on a hot lap.

        1. I completely agree. We’re supposed to believe that the 9 best drivers in the world, that seldom make any mistakes, all just happened to make a mistake at the same time.

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