Carlos Sainz Jnr nailed the F1 qualifying argument

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Formula 1 motorsport director Ross Brawn made it clear yesterday he is determined to carry on with plans to evaluate changes to the race weekend format in 2020.

It’s not been decided yet exactly what form his “experiments” will take. Some of the rumoured proposals are quite radical, including using a system of mini-races to set the starting positions for Sunday’s main event, and using a reverse grid for those races.

Brawn insists there has been “positive” feedback to the plan to trial new formats at a small number of races next year. He previously spoke of how he’d like to use non-championship races to evaluate such changes. But adding yet further rounds when the 2020 F1 calendar already boasts a record 22 races is a non-starter.

So the experiment must take place during championship rounds. Testing the changes next year would make sense, says Brawn, because most other aspects of the regulations will remain unchanged, ahead of the much-vaunted overhaul of the rules in 2021.

But as one driver pointed out, that coming rules change may well prove the very reason why F1 doesn’t need to tinker with its race weekend format at all. In just four sentences, Carlos Sainz Jnr laid out a superbly lucid counter-argument against tinkering with qualifying.

“I personally think will we first need to see, before changing the format, a Formula 1 with a tight field with and with cars that are able to follow,” he began when asked by RaceFans on Saturday evening in Singapore.

“Once we have a 2021 with cars that are able to follow and a whole grid in one second – which is what I wish, for every driver to be able to make a difference – we might not need any of those changes and we might have the best Formula 1 ever without any of those changes.

“So why don’t we focus on making Formula 1 how it should be, which is closer competition and more equal money distribution and cars that are able to follow each other? Then all of a sudden then you have a good Formula 1 and maybe you don’t need all the other stuff.”

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This, for me, nails it.

There is no reason to suspect there is something fundamentally wrong with F1’s race weekend format. We have enjoyed some tremendous races this year, when the stars have aligned favourably.

Nonetheless, it is clear F1 has still significant problems which need to be addressed. Not least the enormous difficulty drivers can face when running close to each other, as was demonstrated in Singapore last weekend. And the gulf in performance between the top three teams and the rest, which is likewise reflected in the points standings.

As Sainz astutely identified, these are the two areas F1 most urgently needs to fix. Brawn and co. have been hard at work designing new cars, a budget cap and revised income distribution system for that reason. These are due to arrive in 2021 – the earliest they realistically could given F1’s existing commercial arrangements.

But to, in the meantime, contemplate a change which would involve scrapping F1’s classic qualifying format, would be madness. It is part of the sport’s identity and its history. Who would look at Charles Leclerc’s gung-ho final Q3 lap last weekend and conclude that’s the kind of spectacle F1 can do without, or the kind of effort which should be rewarded with 20th place on the grid?

Brawn’s eagerness to fiddle with the format smacks of impatience on Liberty Media’s part to get on with their long-awaited overhaul of the sport, still more than a year off. But there is no value in tampering with things that aren’t broken while waiting to address the things that do need to be fixed.

Sainz nailed it. Listen to him.

Quotes: Dieter Rencken

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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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  • 86 comments on “Carlos Sainz Jnr nailed the F1 qualifying argument”

    1. “I personally think will we first need to see, before changing the format, a Formula 1 with a tight field with and with cars that are able to follow,” he began when asked by RaceFans on Saturday evening in Singapore.

      “Once we have a 2021 with cars that are able to follow and a whole grid in one second – which is what I wish, for every driver to be able to make a difference – we might not need any of those changes and we might have the best Formula 1 ever without any of those changes.

      “So why don’t we focus on making Formula 1 how it should be, which is closer competition and more equal money distribution and cars that are able to follow each other? Then all of a sudden then you have a good Formula 1 and maybe you don’t need all the other stuff.”

      I hope F1 takes that to heart.

      1. Nonsense, it was always stupid to give the faster cars a head start. Having “champions” who don’t have to pass an entire year is absurd. The term champion should never be applied to a driver who quals on pole and cruises to a win on sunday without passing or defending from any other driver(in a non spec series). A “championship” driver should have to display more racecraft then just 1 lap qually speed, and starting from the front and cruising/maintaining the gap.

        Reverse wdc position grid sprint races will ensure that the championship is both close and worthy all year long, every year.

        Plus it will also massively increase saturday spectator numbers both on tv and most importantly at the track.

        Turn Fp3 into a reverse wdc grid sprint race and combine it’s results with qualifying as it is now to set the grid for the grand prix.

        1. @megatron – Carlos Sainz already addressed your concern of “[drivers] who don’t have to pass an entire year,” which, by the way, isn’t happening. Only 5 of 15 races have been won from pole. So your argument does not hold water.

          If you want to counterargue that the remaining 10 were fake passes or passes in the pits or whatever, that’s fine. But that is not addressable by gimmicks. We have already seen that the Mercs and Ferraris and Verstappen can drive from the back quite easily and make top six, if not podium, if not win. So a backwards grid mini-race might mean that Hamilton starts 4th behind a lucky Renault/McLaren/Albon trio instead of 1st. That isn’t any better, to be honest.

          By correcting actual issues of cars being too spread out and being unable to follow each other, more battles will occur. More passing or near-passing with defending will likely result. That should be the goal. Fair, close, hard racing should be the goal.

          1. Vettel won from 3rd, WHO DID HE PASS?

            Your argument is the one who holds no weight.

            Reverse grid qually race is no more a gimmick then qually is, they just test for different things.

            Giving the faster cars a head start is NOT “fair” it is stupid, and the antithesis to racing.

            Yes the top 3 teams can drive from the back and make top 6 now, but we have not seen them do so while battling the other top 5 drivers while moving up the grid, that is the excitement and action that a reverse grid sprint race will bring.

            No matter what “equalizing” measures FOM try to enact, the teams and cars will never be equal. So something needs to change and a reverse grid sprint race is exactly what F1 needs on many fronts, most of all to stop from no racecraft having clowns like vettel having multiple championships. If anything shows that the current system is not what it should be is vettel, and his lack of basic racecraft, having 4 wdc.

            @hobo

            1. And yet, qualifying has been putting the faster cars at the start for around 100 years, but somehow, you know better.

              Good on you.

            2. From memory: Gasly, Giovinazzi, Norris?

            3. Vettel won from 3rd, WHO DID HE PASS?

              that seems to be the problem with some viewers. They miss all the action. Vet had to pass a lot of drivers and as fast as possible to avoid damage to his race. He passed a complete field including the raceleader. so next time: look a little better and enjoy!

            4. As erikje says, Vettel did jump Hamilton and Leclerc, but one reason he emerged as leading, was that he showed his experience in swiftly passing the midfield drivers ahead of him who were running on mediums, arguable quicker than Leclerc could, which is why it wasn’t all ‘lucky’ win for me.

            5. “Giving the faster cars a head start is NOT “fair” it is stupid, and the antithesis to racing.”

              It is ASTOUNDING to me that this is even up for debate. In what world does it make sense to order the grid from quickest to slowest and then expect good racing? I seriously wonder if there’s another sport with fans as schizophrenic as F1’s; (rightfully) complaining that the sport is all to often boring but then whining even more when someone as smart as Ross Brawn tries to test a possible solution that might fix a fundamental flaw in the sport. It seems to me that some folks want fried ice. Or they just like to complain.

            6. grat, with regards to the use of a qualifying session, the first time that it was implemented was the 1933 Monaco Grand Prix.

              However, it wasn’t consistently used in the pre-WW2 European Championship, the forerunner to modern F1, as there were still races in later years where the grid was determined by a random draw rather than a timed qualifying session – the 1935 German Grand Prix, mainly remembered for Nuvolari’s unexpected victory, was one such race where the grid was determined by random selection.

              I might be mistaken, but I believe that the requirement for a qualifying session was something that only came in with the introduction of the 1946 set of regulations for Grand Prix racing that eventually formed the basis of what became Formula 1.

            7. megatron m12 – you forgot to add clowns like Hamilton to the list…he whines about not being in front, my seat isn’t comfortable, I want-I want-I want… adding excuses more than the Andretti’s do …
              no one wants to have a formula where the cars are identical.

              how about this: perhaps the teams should rotate drivers over the course of the season. the drivers get their own award by scoring the most points in all the different cars, and the constructors get their own award by winning the most races.

          2. I find it ironic that people say the current system is pure racing or that we should keep it for tradition.

            Anyone with eyes can see the real racing happens when there’s actual competition.

            And the tradition argument is hilariously weak. Tradition just for the sake of tradition harms any progress that can better the sport – completely nonsensical argument.

        2. The current “fastest first” grid system is better than a reversed grid system. Cars crashing at the start of a race looks exciting, but it’s bad for safety and it’s bad driving. It also actually ruins a lot of hard work as well: Hundreds of people have dedicated weeks of work and toil to get that car onto the grid only for it pranged within a minute or so of the start of the race. What we should want is a nice clean start with no crashes, and that’s what you more or less get with a fastest first grid.

          1. That I am aware of, they are not considering reversing the grid established on Saturday, for Sunday’s race. What I read into it is that they may consider a reverse grid mini-race on Saturday to determine Sunday’s starting order, but I think it has already been implied that the teams and the fans are vehemently opposed to reversing the grid ahead of the race start and putting the top cars and drivers at the back. Brawn has already stated they aren’t looking to change the race format, and starting the race with a reverse grid would be doing just that, so that won’t be happening.

          2. Why would a reverse grid cause more crashes, is talent inversely proportional to grid position? If they can’t start the race from any start grid position without crashing they shouldn’t be in F1 and they damn sure shouldn’t be a champion. .

          3. @drycrust

            The W series had a reverse grid race with no first corner/lap crashes, ate you suggesting that they are more talented than the F1 drivers?

      2. Dwayne A Purzner
        25th September 2019, 16:17

        The problem with F1 is liberty media. They are destroying the only sport I care about.

    2. What he is saying is just common sense that had been voiced numerous times before by various fans commenting on this web-site and elsewhere…

      1. Still, I’m happy a pilot (so, somebody Brawn might care about) is expressing such views clearly (and yes, I agree, it’s not rocket science)

    3. Jose Lopes da Silva
      24th September 2019, 13:08

      “Who would look at Charles Leclerc’s gung-ho final Q3 lap last weekend (…)”

      I’m an old-timer of the 1996-2002 format.
      I would have loved to see Leclerc’s lap live. But I couldn’t, because we were wathcing Vettel or Hamilton. We got on with Leclerc for the final corners. We did not watch it.

      Of course, we can always watch it online afterwards. The thing is: why should I bother watching the qualifying if I don’t actually get to see the best quali laps? I just get the news later and watch the replay. And then the race.

      1. 1 car qually is a no go, every car should be given the opportunity to set a lap at any time or else some could be more affected by rain or whatever than others and that is inherently unfair.

        Yes the tv producers should do a better job, but F1 should never go back to 1 car qually. Just watch the replays.

        1. Yes, the changing nature of the track even when it doesn’t rain does mean overall the current system of having everyone on the track at the same time is fairer.
          I there’s too many cars on the track at one time, I think there should be a maximum of 10 cars on the track in any session, but I don’t know how practical that would be.

          1. Well they could go back to the old format of a 1 hour session 12 laps per driver (4 attempts if you consider out lap and in lap).

            This would make it less likely that everyone is out at the same time.

            It would also be more likely that we would watch all the efforts of the top drivers.

            This format worked well for many years and they only changed it as a knee jerk reaction when Ferrari were so dominant that Schumacher could afford to get pole with a single lap.

            1. With the 1h/12 lap format it was virtually a given that you’d not see much from the top teams until 45 minutes had passed, with the opening half hour or so largely quiet with the odd Minardi doing some setup testing and whatnot. This was to take advantage of the track rubbering in, to get a better grasp of track temperature, tailor the setup even further to suit that particular day, and whilst it made the last ten minutes quite spectacular it was very much an unbalanced affair – I never understood the 12 lap limit though, what was the point?

              The current system is pretty good but I can’t help but wonder if the Q1/2/3 segregation just locks in the top 3’s advantage even more – it was rare but it DID happen with the old system that you’d get someone out of nowhere with a less than stellar car nailing a lap in which the stars aligned – track condition, team info, driver concentration, the odd magic tyre…- to upset the status quo, so you’d at least get a top 6 with say, a Stewart (in 99) or a Jordan (in 95 or so) well up there.

            2. @exeviolthor, the system of 12 laps and 1 hour was very short lived – it only lasted from 1996 to 2002 – and the introduction of that system was purely focussed on the TV market and the possibility of being able to commercialise the qualifying session.

              From 1950 through to 1995, the grid was set based on the times set in the two timed sessions they ran – one on Friday and one on Saturday. The idea of “12 laps and 1 hour” was purely so that qualifying would fit within a reasonable length commercial broadcast.

              It wasn’t that popular with fans, as Aaa123 notes, as in practise you’d usually end up with most of the laps occurring in a short period at the end, with very little activity for the firs 40 minutes or so. That also made it rather unpopular with the broadcasters, who complained they were paying for a product that wasn’t popular with viewers – it was that commercial pressure that resulted in the attempts to tweak qualifying by introducing single lap qualifying, which was intended to ensure you always had something happening throughout qualifying, then a few years of experimentation that eventually ended up with the current system.

              In that respect, saying that “12 laps and 1 hour” was a system that “worked well for many years” is not really true – it was very short lived in reality, not that popular with fans or broadcasters and was introduced only to try and squeeze more money out of broadcasters. The current qualifying system, in fact, has significantly outlasted that “12 lap and 1 hour” format, which shows how short lived that system was.

    4. That’s an argument for settling for “good enough”. Regardless of how much the racing improves, if qualifying could be improved as well there would be no reason not to do it. If you think qualifying is perfect as it is, of course you don’t want to change it. Personally I think have only 3×2 minutes of action during the hour of qualifying is a negative and I look forward to seeing these experiments.

      1. I agree as per my comment below.

      2. @krommenaas
        Both qually as it is now and a reverse wdc position grid sprint race combined is possible.

    5. I think you should always reward effort, hard work, guts and brains, since that always bring positive results and moves things forward in a good way.

      But if you instead reward financial power, “clever thinking” (Briatore type), artificial leveling (“the last will be the first” reverse grid style) and so on, you shift the efforts to a gray area that favours a few only.

      Just look what Ferrari accomplished with financial power. Turned their ugly duck into a swan in six months time. Can you picture Racing Point or Haas doing the same with a quarter of Ferrari’s budget?

      Throwing Verstappen to the back of the grid due to engine penalty did not make things more interesting. Leclerc fighting Hamilton did. You think reversing the grid is the solution? They will desagree…

      Close racing, more equal earnings, rules stability, tyres and cars that can be pushed a full race.

      Well said, Carlos.

      1. Well put, good examples from the last races.

    6. I couldn’t have put it any better; I doubt anyone else could either. He indeed nailed it with those word/sentence combinations.

    7. Oh I do agree too… let’s see what we have for 2021. However, what Sainz speaks of mostly points to the race format, and that is something Brawn has said does not need addressing. He is not looking to change Sundays. On Saturdays there isn’t the concern about the dirty air effect as cars have the opportunity to separate themselves and run in clean air.

      All Brawn is saying is that next year provides an opportunity to experiment. That is all he is speaking of, is that there seems to be some enthusiasm amongst the teams to at least experiment. Doesn’t mean they want to make changes nor that they will. Just that it might be worth looking into how Saturdays might be even more exciting. I’m not bothered by them experimenting for I think it hints of Liberty and Brawn wanting to do the best they can for F1. I haven’t heard them say one thing that they are leaning towards or that they seem to want to push through. They only want to push through the concept that next year would be a good time to experiment. The experiments they may end up doing may well prove that no changes are needed nor wanted for Saturdays.

      Personally I didn’t mind the concept of a Q4 added to Saturdays so that the sessions are shortened and we have much less down time, especially in Q1 (18 min), between their first runs and their last runs, with in many cases the top cars not coming out at all for a second run, knowing they are going to get through to Q2. To me one more ‘Q’ equals less down time of no action, and more cars on the track for more of the hour.

      1. @robbie I agree with you.

        While I like the current format, I’m sympathetic to Brawn’s point of view that if there are going to be experiments with a qualifying format, they should happen in 2020—not 2021 or after. He’s thinking like an engineer—if you want to see the impact of changing one variable, you have to hold the other variables constant, and 2020 is the only opportunity for that. With the rules reset coming in 2021 and the potential for massive form swings in the first few years of the format, waiting until then to hold an experiment has the potential for far less meaningful data.

        After all, what happens if the 2021 rules and their slow cars prove to be unpopular with fans, and there is a push to go back to excitingly fast, high-downforce cars—as happened in 2017? It would be nice to know in advance whether or not a revised qualifying format is viable or not with 2020-style cars.

        I don’t mind a three-race experiment next year with reverse grid qualifying, as long as the races are chosen in advance so the teams know when they are coming and can plan appropriately. The rules will be the same for all the teams—it’s up to them to react to them and find the best way to cope with it.

        And the possible advantage or disadvantage to certain teams who excel or suffer at certain types of tracks—as some have noted could happen—could be nullified to an extent by choosing different types of circuits.

    8. Qualifying is fine. The only change if needed, if I was pushed, would be a top ten single lap shootout.

      1. And what if it rains for the last qualifier?

        F1 has tried single car qually, it failed, no reason to return to old failed ideas.

      2. I think they should leave Qually alone. But if they had to fix something:
        To reduce the chances of another Monza style Q3 farce (which I enjoyed) get more cars in Q3. Do this by eliminating only 3 cars in Q1 and 2 cars in Q2 at tracks like Monza and Spa.
        To reduce the number of cars on track at tight street circuits (Monaco and Singapore) give the top 5 cars from P3 a free pass to Q2. Eliminate 6 cars at Q1 and Q2.

        Even better, do nothing.

      3. I would suggest a bigger improvement to Saturday would be to properly promote and televise the support races.

    9. I would much prefer to see two or three races used as experimental tests over a season than have an untested concept forced onto an entire season and potentially destroy that season (and possibly ruin a rookie drivers F1 career in the process).

      Personally I think that qualifying is the only part of F1 that works every race weekend just now.
      It may be possible to improve it but it is the least broken part of F1 so please mess with everything else first.

    10. Apart from the fact that qualifying does not need changing, my other concern with these 2020 experiments in just a few rounds will have an impact on the championship. Imagine a Ferrari-suited track in which Vettel and Leclerc are sent to the back because they are the fastest, and they end up losing the championship by a few points. The 2020 championship would be meaningless. As would be a midfield winner in any of those races. Reverse grids are BAD!

      1. @Pedro Andrade Indeed.

        1. It’s quite unclear as to whether they would even consider a reverse grid experiment. I rather think that idea will be rejected outright, let alone allowed to send two Ferraris to the back and alter the Championships.

    11. Spot on

      All I’d add is that I feel that they’ve not really done enough to enable the sort of equalisation we’d all love to see in 2021.

    12. If they want to experiment then they should make those 4-5 races non championship races because I don’t believe that an experiment with a different format should be able to impact the championship in the way things like reverse grids or qualifying races are likely to.

    13. Perfectly said.

      So why don’t we focus on making Formula 1 how it should be

      Why? Because F1 is run by morons.

      1. Because F1 is run by morons.

        I would replace “Morons” with “Money Worshippers” but it works out pretty much the same ;)

    14. Oh, I think the new format will work great! The “sprint” race on Saturdays will be a hoot, watching Mercedes and Ferarri see who can finish last! LOL!

      1. @waptraveler Brawn has specifically said that it is the qualifying races which would have reverse grids (by championship order), not the Sunday grand prix.

        Not sure why Keith felt the need to bring up that scenario about Leclerc’s pole time netting him 20th on the grid, but Brawn has said that is not what is being considered.

        1. Thanks, I misread that.

    15. Yep he does and I am for a change to qually, or rather to the race, post qually. Its turned into an endurance series. It should be balls out sprinting, its actually getting worse as the alogrithims converge on one solution and no middle weight team can go counter to the optimum as they are so far behind the big 3 in terms of pace.

      But yes lets sort the main course out first before worrying about the amuse bouche

    16. Completely agree with Carlos.

      Changing the weekend format is not going to cure the aerodynamic turbulence that the cars create that makes it difficult to follow, or bring the midfield closer to the fromt three, or give all teams a fair slice of the revenue.

      They’re looking in the complete wrong area to improve the sport.

      1. @kevinc No they’ve already addressed the big issues and those are going ahead for 2021. Carlos is just saying let’s see what that brings first before making other changes. I say that Brawn is right to at least approach the teams for a consensus on experimenting with how quali might be made even better. I’m glad Brawn is trying to do this as at least they can then move forward with good feedback and information. I suspect that little change will occur for Saturdays when all is said and done.

    17. If the new regulations are as successful as Carlos (and I) hope for, then qualifying will become much less important because starting position will become much less important, because *everyone* can RACE :-) With that in mind, something interesting on Saturday might be in order, like a sprint race or ?????

    18. Racing is like a drug for both the drivers and the spectators, satisfying out constant need for excitement or satisfaction. Unlike prescribed medication, there is no formula for the right amount of excitement that will satisfy all the viewers because we are all looking for different moments to enjoy.
      This proposed experiment to race for a qualifying position really causes me a lot of discomfort in my belly.

      How do you determine the order of the qualifying race, because if it is based on either a previous result or FP times, then why not just make that qualifying?
      How many laps will be the qualifying race?
      Who pays for the extra duty cycle on the engines?
      Of course there is the potential multiple car accidents before the main race.
      And who is this bright spark that came up with this woeful idea?

    19. LeClerc qualified in the 1:36 and ran the race 15s slower? And nobody could pass? The most exciting part was Bottas holding off Albon so Hamilton could exit the pit ahead of Bottas!

    20. A fair f1 wouldn’t have sainz jr in it.. not quick enough pay driver.

      1. Jesus Christ.

        Have you watched any F1 in the last 10 years?

        1. @kevinc ever since your thumbnail. My name is not christ, it is christian.

    21. Nonsense, it was always stupid to give the faster cars a head start. Having “champions” who don’t have to pass an entire year is absurd. The term champion should never be applied to a driver who quals on pole and cruises to a win on sunday without passing or defending from any other driver(in a non spec series). A “championship” driver should have to display more racecraft then just 1 lap qually speed, and starting from the front and cruising/maintaining the gap.

      Reverse wdc position grid sprint races will ensure that the championship is both close and worthy all year long, every year.

      Plus it will also massively increase saturday spectator numbers both on tv and most importantly at the track.

      Turn Fp3 into a reverse wdc grid sprint race and combine it’s results with qualifying as it is now to set the grid for the grand prix.

      1. Then I’ll run a bit wide and come last so I’ll be on pole with my faster car.

        1. Then you would be foolish because it is the sprint race that has a reversed grid, not the grand prix. Think smarter please.

        2. Exactly, they’d have to change the name from “qualifying session” to “sandbagging session”. It’s an idiotic idea.

      2. Repeating a bad post doesn’t make it any better the second time around.

    22. Not that I’m paying much attention this season beyond checking post-race results here on racefans.net… qualifying is the one thing that is actually compelling (as much as it can be) in the current generation (hybrid era) of F1. Sundays may be hopelessly broke (at least until 2021, the year when everything becomes magical again), but changing Saturdays isn’t going to fix Sundays unless the goal is make Sundays look better by making Saturdays look worse (and we all now well that went over the last time they tried it).

    23. I am not for holding onto rules or procedures just because they have been around for a long time. But I am also not for grasping at straws to make changes for change’s sake.

      If qualifying was a problem, I would be more inclined to support this experiment. But the issue is everything Sainz pointed out. Cars are too spread out because development budgets are wildly different. And, even if say Williams had an amazing concept that got them close to the lead pack next year, cars can’t pass during a race because they cannot really follow each other due to wake/tires/etc. All this idea does is muddy the water by adding more and more variables.

      If they really want to test this out, they need to do it via sim racing. Set up 5, 6, 7 races in a simulator. Plug in the advantages that different cars have (using actual data from races this season), and either have computers run a few thousand race simulations or put drivers in the “cars” and run those (though that is open to manipulation). Quit trying to mess with actual race weekends to test out something that doesn’t need attention.

      1. @hobo I do hear you but I think that it is better for them to experiment, where the teams agree to comply, exactly so that they don’t make changes for changes sake. I think it is worth them at least exploring if there is a way to improve on quali as it is, even though most people seem satisfied with it. But what if there is a slightly better way to make it even better? Why not explore that in a compliant and fairly mundane way? I don’t think the teams will agree to anything too radical that would disrupt the Championships, nor do I think Brawn would propose such a thing either. And by agreeing, the teams will be accepting that for a few races next year Saturday will be a little different and they will live with how it affects the Championships overall, in the name of the experiment to see if there is an even better way to do Saturdays than we have.

        I was one of the few who agreed (last year I believe it was) with the concept of adding a Q4 so that there wouldn’t be so much of cars sitting around in the garage doing nothing in between their first and last runs of each of the three session they currently run. Anyway my thing is, once the teams agree to do experiment x, y, and z, after likely vetoing a, b, and c outright, and taking fans reactions into account, I suspect that nothing too radical is going to happen to Saturdays as they are. If they do make a somewhat big change, it will be because they did their due diligence and because most will have been on board.

        1. @robbie – If they had already carried out simulations with actual data (as described above) and could show some support that the idea might work well in producing X result, fine. But they haven’t put forth any of that.

          In setting 2021 designs, they at least went through presumably rigorous study and research, right? That’s where we get these design drawings and CFD flow studies and whatnot. What if they just had an idea for new wings and said, let’s try it out and see if it works!! There are impacts to the championship of doing that sort of thing. This will also have impacts.

          I’m sorry, I cannot constantly put on rose-tinted glasses for all of their ideas.

          1. @hobo Fair comment. I’m sure your idea of sim runs would not hurt.

    24. if i may add my 2 cents worth while it is costly why not change certain sections of certain race teacks where there is a higher probability of cars finding it difficult to pass. surely if some tracks make it easy to pass and some by design are difficult we could alter the difficult tracks??

    25. I don’t like this experiment idea on 1-2 championship weekends, because it would interfere with the championship. As others stated above, imagine a close championship between Mercedes-Ferrari-Red Bull, that was decided somehow by one of these reverse grid Saturday mini-races that produce the final grid for Sunday instead of the normal Saturday qualifying we’re used to and love. I understand Brawn’s point of view, not to make radical changes at once and test the water before something is implemented to the rulebook, but that’s not the way to do it.

      A different approach, and something i think Liberty Media would die from their excitement if they thought of that, would be to stage 1 or 2 non-championship races every year and test anything, from different formats, to different aero or engine components, to even ridiculus ideas like sprinklers. Imagine if in the middle of the winter break, there was a non-championship event held in which teams and Liberty could test their most outlandish ideas. No championship at stake, just for funs sake. They test different front wings for example, in a reverse grid race, that spriklers open up at random parts on the track…in Bahrain. I know it sounds ridiculus and it is, but as long as no championship is at stake, who cares? It would be like an anual ridiculus Superbowl held at Christmas from which Liberty could promote the hell out of it, Brawn could experiment all he wants without interfering with the championship, teams and drivers would be more relaxed and we could have fun weekend in the middle of the winter break.

      1. @black Not sure what this free-for-all of experimentation would prove since it would be hard to segregate what would be an improvement and what wouldn’t in terms of nailing down anything concrete to go by. With Brawn’s method (and the teams agreement of course) it’s a much more controlled experiment that will give truer apples-to-apples answers as to whether or not a change should be made and why.

      2. @black – This is a good idea. However, as @robbie notes, use these 1 or 2 non-championship races to study one thing or two things. That way it is still focused and not impacting the WDC or WCC.

        1. @black– The teams would never agree to this at this time of the year. As they are all heads down developing the next car.

        2. Ok of course i made it sound more ridiculus than it would probably be just for funs sake :P . The main target is to test 1 or 2 things every year, like if this happened at the end of 2018 we could test the new front wings in a beta race simulation (with the 2017 or 2018 cars obviously) before the teams started testing them in the 2019 ones. If this event would take place at the end of this season (2019) we could test just the mini-sprint races. And so on…

          The “Superbowl” point of view concerns mainly Libery. They could take this opportunity to promote F1 as “the one-off event of the year” which would play nicely in the markets of US or China or wherever they want to promote. It would generate a lot of TV revenue, some of it would go to teams as a bonus, which under budget cap restrictions would come handy. And maybe if they don’t have anything significant to test for a year or two, or don’t have any restrictions to test at a track that is already on the calendar (like Bahrain or Abu Dhabi), they could take this opportunity and race at a new location, maybe a place that wants to engage its people in F1 without having to sign a 5-year contract (like Miami or Las Vegas or some place in China), which would create another stream of revenue to the teams.

    26. I’m not sure if changes are needed to qualy format or not, but I’ll say this based on my experience attending the Canadian GP this year – qualifying was probably the highlight of that weekend. You could feel the fan energy with every laptime update, and when Seb clinched pole the place went nuts!

    27. I’m probably being thick here, but if you knew the grid was reversed what would stop all cars cruising at monza q3 speeds in the hope of getting ‘pole’?

      1. Nothing. Which is why it’s a laughable idea that would be catastrophic if implemented.

    28. Spot on of course, but we know the field will never be that close and they will never get rid of the hopeless tracks.

      But please have some sense and try out the gimmicks on the other formulas first.

    29. Jose Lopes da Silva
      24th September 2019, 23:07

      https://www.racefans.net/2008/12/04/which-qualifying-system-is-best-poll/

      The 37% of this poll disappeared. I’m the last survivor.

      1. To be honest, that poll looks more like a sample of “when did you begin watching Formula 1”, judging by the way that quite a lot of individuals reacted to it – that system was what they were used to, so that is what they thought qualifying in Formula 1 should be like.

    30. Jose Lopes da Silva
      24th September 2019, 23:09

      “and sometimes the pole position lap would be missed by the cameras.”
      https://www.racefans.net/2008/12/04/which-qualifying-system-is-best-poll/

      Jesus Christ! We did not watch Leclerc’s lap in Singapore! The knock-out only makes it worst.

    31. The current system works best for me, it’s the only format that has ensured action on track throughout the entire qualifying period (bar the awful single lap qualifying). It also caters well for a large grid by pruning down the runners for the important pole run.

    32. Perfectly nailed !
      Institutions should not (need to) alter their fundaments every now and then

    33. Qually ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

      The aero is broke, work hard to fix it.

      The tires aren’t good enough, but for dog’s sake don’t make them any worse.

    34. Jose Lopes da Silva
      25th September 2019, 10:58

      I really appreciate @megatron and @drycrust comments. They really ensure that I’m an old-timer that no one listens to. 1 car qualy was from 2003 onwards and it was awful. I want a 1 hour session so I can watch everyone’s laps. 1996-2002.
      But yes, I know I’m completely out. Today people would grab their smartphones was soon as there was a second of empty track.

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