Could engine ‘quali mode’ ban arrive this year? Five Spanish GP talking points

2020 Spanish Grand Prix

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A planned ban on ‘qualifying mode’ engine settings could arrive ahead of the 2021 F1 season. Here are the talking points for this weekend’s Spanish Grand Prix.

Could ‘quali mode’ ban affect 2020 title fight?

As RaceFans revealed yesterday, the FIA is planning to clamp down on teams’ use of high performance engine settings, commonly referred to as ‘qualifying modes’.

The move is likely to prompt resistance from the teams and engine manufacturers who stand to lose the most from the change. World championship leaders Mercedes will be first among them, as rivals have indicated they may gain up to half a second per lap by being able to ‘turn their engine up’.

While banning such modes would be controversial in itself, the timing of the change may also prompt an outcry. RaceFans understands the ban could be brought forward from next season to this year’s Belgian Grand Prix, making this weekend’s race potentially the last where teams are allowed to use ‘quali modes’.

If that comes to pass, it threatens to have a major impact on Lewis Hamilton’s pursuit of a seventh world title, and Mercedes’ efforts to win a seventh constructors championship in a row. Hamilton arrives at Circuit de Catalunya this weekend with a 30-point lead over Red Bull’s Max Verstappen, who believes Mercedes’ qualifying modes are a key part of their performance advantage.

Perez returns

Nico Hulkenberg, Racing Point, Silverstone, 2020
Hulkenberg impressed at Silverstone
It would be hard to fault the quality of the job Nico Hulkenberg did as a stand-in for Sergio Perez last weekend: Third on the grid was the limit of the Racing Point’s potential and he would have led his team mate home had he not suffered blistering on his left-rear tyre late in the race.

But Racing Point were always going to pounce on the first opportunity to get their regular driver back in the car. Following the news of his negative test for Covid-19, he will be back in the RP20 this weekend.

The team has been in the headlines for all the wrong reasons lately, so Perez’s return will be particularly good news for them. He says he’s been able to keep training while shaking off “mild symptoms” of the virus, so the first question is whether he’ll be immediately back to his best.

The fall-out from the Racing Point row

The FIA stewards’ ruling six days ago on Renault’s protest against Racing Point brought the least desired outcome for the governing body. Not only have both the losing and winning sides appealed against the verdict but another team – Ferrari – has submitted an appeal as well.

What began as a protest by one team concerning brake ducts has turned into a full-blown political war over Formula 1’s future.

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Vettel’s new chassis

Vettel is having a tough final year at Ferrari
Following two dire weekends at Silverstone, Sebastian Vettel will have a new Ferrari chassis at his disposal as the team endeavours to understand the gap in performance between its two drivers.

Charles Leclerc’s performance in the last two races has indicated Ferrari have made gains with the SF1000. But so far that progress has only been evident on one side of the garage. Will this prove the change Vettel needs to get on terms with his team mate?

A hotter than usual Spanish Grand Prix

The Circuit de Catalunya normally plays host to Formula 1 in May. This year’s race has been put back three months due to the pandemic, and will take place in hotter summer temperatures.

Pirelli has supplied its hardest tyre selection for this weekend’s race, but they will face more punishment in the expected warmer conditions. Like Silverstone, this is a punishing circuit for tyres, and after the failures seen during the British Grand Prix the teams will be alert to the possibility of further problems.

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Who do you think will be the team to beat in the Spanish Grand Prix? Have your say below.

And don’t forget to enter your predictions for this weekend’s race. You can edit your predictions until the start of qualifying:

2020 Spanish Grand Prix

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Author information

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...
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...

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78 comments on “Could engine ‘quali mode’ ban arrive this year? Five Spanish GP talking points”

  1. Banning quali mode makes sense. Qualify -> parc ferme’ -> race. As for rest of car, should also apply to engine mode.

    1. You can change myriad of things after going out of parc ferme before the race.

    2. The quali modes are still there on the car though @gabf1, just the teams instruct their drivers not to use them in the races. Although in rare circumstances, we see drivers using them in the races too, I think RBR mentioned Verstappen used it last year in Austria to win that race. And I think Norris also used it for several laps in the Austrian race to gain those places on the last few laps.

      So the question then really is what makes it a “quali mode” vs. just a “extreme power available, use sparingly”.

    3. parc ferme rules end at the formation lap so if they want to do something based on the parc ferme doesn’t make sense

      it is also annoying to take advantage from a team just because…they didn’t do anything ilegal (that I know of) to get said advantage, penalising work well done is stupid, and if you do it during the season it is even worse

      now I can see the benefits of the new rule, teams could try and risk it for an odd result by being agressive in their engine mode in a weekend and we could get a midfield team shine. but in order to do that it has to be well thought out and implemented at least next season, otherwise I can’t make any sense out of this

      1. @johnmilk that’s the problem though – we’re talking about what could be a panicked mid-season rule change that is rushed in by the FIA, so the likelihood that the rule changes will not really be fully thought out and could be rather ill defined is rather high.

    4. @gabf1 It’s not like you have mechanics coming in to make changes to the power unit’s performance overnight, it’s just the driver making adjustments inside the cockpit. I find engine modes more akin to brake balance adjustments, differential settings, and all the other things the driver can change within the cockpit.

      If you’re going to ban engine modes, why not those other things? I think we know why – because those other things aren’t performance differentiators. This is purely an effort to reign Mercedes in and provide more competition at the front – which is a noble goal of course that we’d all like to see happen, but this doesn’t seem a very fair way to do it.

      I do wonder how this would even be implemented, given that teams have a large number of modes available to them in order to both optimise performance at the right times and help with reliability. What defines a ‘qualifying engine mode’? Are teams going to be forced to overheat or blow up their engines because they are now required to use their highest engine mode for a certain period of the race?

      1. I think I disagree with your assessment that brake balance adjustments and diff setting are not performance differentiators. They are all there to tune the behaviour of the car under certain conditions and for specific effects. Every team has them, as they also do with engine modes. No difference.

        Having said that – in a sporting context, I don’t think that multiple engine modes are necessary. Nor do I think that multiple diff settings are necessary. Just as I thought that semi-automatic gearboxes were not necessary in the late 90’s.
        I’d like to see the drivers control their fuel flow and power/torque response with their right foot, rather than the engineers and strategists calling it from the computers.

        1. @S, That would be the right way to do it but the fuel flow limiter artificially interrupts the fuel flow over 10k rpm, while the hybrid power is dependent on the state of battery charge, the once linear response to depressing the accelerator, nowadays requires a computer and software.

        2. You must be a genius. All the PhD engineers need to come have a chat with you so you explain to them what they are not doing right by creating all these unnecessary engine and differential modes.
          They must be there to keep the drivers from being bored.

        3. @S when I say differentials and brake balance adjustments aren’t performance differentiators – I mean differentiators between teams, not for performance overall. Obviously a car which doesn’t have access to those things would perform worse, but as far as I’m aware those things are relatively even between teams which means banning them across the board wouldn’t necessarily affect one team more than the others. This isn’t the case with engine modes which currently seem to favour Mercedes powered teams more than others.

      2. @keithedin It does seem clearly aimed to cull Mercedes’ performance advantage. I can’t see any other logic. Either you allow engine modes or you don’t, and if you do, how and why would you limit there use as the driver and team see fit? So the idea is to compensate for the deficiencies of the other teams, allow Red Bull to compete at the front, and give something of a boost to Ferrari after their illegal engine was finely ruled illegal (after accruing numerous victories, points and more $$$$ for the team). The question is how many more salvos FIA are going to launch against Mercedes before the latter decide they’ve had enough? Or maybe driving Mercedes out (as too good) is the idea? I suspect this desperation comes from the delay in the new formula and the prospect of another year (2021) of Mercedes dominance.

  2. Could the teams not just change the name of the qualy mode to ‘normal mode’ then use ‘extra reliability mode’ when they want to prolong the life of it? So they’d use normal mode for qualifying and the start of the race, or when they want to attack, and reliability mode the rest of the time. That way they’re never turning the engine up, they’re only turning it down…

    1. They will do just that.

      You can’t prohibit the base system for these engines – they have multiple modes by default. You can’t have only 1 mode.

    2. Surely the “quali” mode is just the same as the “go get ’em” mode in the race? How can it be enforced? Are the FIA going to do Miner-Palmgren-type fatigue calculations on every engine component in real time? What exponent are they going to use for non-metallics?

      Funny that Ferrari are the ones struggling in “quali” mode (from Dieter’s Alfa Romeo interview) after their engine was found to be anomalous (shall we say politely), yet a ban on “quali” modes now appears out of the blue…

    3. Yes, I have not heard too much about the difference of quali mode and the highest engine mode available at races. I consider there are not too much changes possible after qualification due to parc ferme rules, so I expect they are simply not using the highest performace settings at most of the race laps and they are switching to it and to other engine modes purely via software. So what if they rename their “qualification mode” to the “highest engine mode available at race”, and to comply with that they use it one time per race on the main straight for 10 seconds.
      So I don’t really consider this “quali mode” very much different to the highest performance modes being used at races, they are just not using the very high ones for most of the times, because overheating is likely more of a problem after using the car for a race lenght, so they are of course not fools to switch to quali mode on the last laps while a lot of parts are running much hotter then that one lap effort at qualification.
      Or as even if supplied teams often or at least sometimes being shipped the same engine as a factory team, they might not have the same ECU unit , or that much resources to research and develop those, therefore they are lagged a bit behind, and thats all the likes of “we don’t have party mode” statements are mostly all about.

      To regulate this maybe a possible rule would look like:
      The engine has to be able to be operated at it’s maximum output of mode (but how do you measure that unless that is also specificated) sustained for <> and that’s the maximum output teams allowed to use at qualification and at the race too.

      1. I mean of course ECU modes are about performance, but likely not exclusively in a bruteforce manner, but there are a lot of things to research and find some tricks to improve it.

      2. Oh between the characters I typed something like this: “some time interval you would like to see here”,
        but the system swallowed it :)

      3. Ok, the system is not a good friend of displaying relational operators, so … sustained for “some time interval you would like to see here”. Last time it swallowed even the operators too, because I just not typed anything between them. The world of web development turned towards a bit nasty direction in the previous decade, but of course every competitor tries to sell their own framework.

  3. Mercedes: Builds better engine

    F1: Nope.

  4. Banning qualy modes is a controversial topic in itself, as it’s yet another thing they forbid because rivals cannot make it work as good as whoever is getting the most out of it (Mercedes in this case).

    But doing it midseason? come on… that’s BS…

    1. It’s been done before. In 2010 the FIA banned RB’s special engine-mappings, which they used only in qualifying.
      Can’t see how this is any different.

      In addition to that, banning those high-performance-modes will bring the field closer together and pave the way for an engine freeze, which the manufacturers are aiming at.

      But I get your point. Doing it mid-season is questionable. But again FIA have done it before: Ban on Michelin’s wider front tyres in 2003, temporal ban on the blown diffuser in 2011 (only British GP), new/different tyres mid-season in 2013

      1. No, the engine mappings were used to energise the blown diffuser whilst off throttle, it had nothing to do with qualifying

      2. In 2010 the FIA banned RB’s special engine-mappings

        @srga91 good reminder. But how could they enforce it now? Didn’t quali modes is on drivers steering wheel now?

        1. @ruliemaulana
          They could monitor the power output via GPS data. The teams are using these data to get a feeling how much power their competitors’ PU are producing.

        2. The difference is that in 2010 there were special qualy modes, where the engine could be used at let’s say 120% for a limited amount of time. Now however, with the max restriction on electrical power and the fuel flow, the ‘qualy mode’ is actually just the engine at 100%. The rest of the time is the engine turned down…

      3. Don’t forget Renaults mass damper back in 2005 or 2006

      4. Didn’t they ban Michelin tyres mid-season as Ferrari were getting beaten too much?

        1. @davidjwest
          No, no, no! They were illegal!!! 😜

      5. @srga91 one could argue that the change on the structure of the 2013 tyres might be justified by the high number of tyre failures we saw before the kevlar belt tyres. But yeah, it wouldn’t be the first time something like this is done. What they banned in 2011 was hot blowing, but not only for the British GP, for the whole season (starting from the British GP)

        1. @warheart
          The safety aspect definitely played a part. But just like last weekend, someone gains performance and another one looses performance from such a sudden change. Back in 2013 RB & Mercedes were the winners, while Ferrari & Lotus lost out.

          Following your comment on 2011, I had to look it up and it’s a lot more bizarre than I remembered it. 😅
          The Cosworth teams initially protested on Friday, the FIA then banned the ‘off-throttle blowing’, granted Renault consessions, because Renault said it was a reliability concern for their engines. Then the Mercedes teams protested, because it would leave them at a disadvantage compared to the Renault teams.
          The ban was upheld during qualy and race at Silverstone. After the race a meeting was called in, where they ‘banned the ban’ 😅 for the rest of 2011, but the teams weren’t allowed to use different mappings for qualy and race.

      6. @srga91 what the FIA banned during the 2011 season was the option for the team to change the engine maps by plugging in an external device, such as a laptop, to change the engine map between the qualifying session and the race (something Red Bull had been doing at the time).

        However, that didn’t completely ban the use of those engine maps – Charlie Whiting noted that the drivers were “allowed to change things that they can do with a switch, on the steering wheel for example”, so the main long term effect was to shift responsibility for initiating those engine maps onto the driver. http://en.espn.co.uk/fia/motorsport/story/52534.html

        What was also restricted was the use of “hot-blowing”, which was the practice of continuing to inject air and fuel into the cylinders to produce more exhaust gases whilst the driver was off throttle in the corners, thereby increasing the amount of airflow through the exhausts and increasing the efficiency of the diffuser – the proposal was to limit it so the throttle could not be open by more than 10% if the driver was not pressing the accelerator.

        However, there was also the practice of “cold blowing”, where the throttle was left open and airflow was allowed to flow through the cylinder. Now, because Renault was originally using that practice to cool the valvetrain for reliability purposes, they were still allowed to continue that to some extent – which did lead to a sizeable argument between Renault and the other engine manufacturers. Ultimately, it’s part of the reason why, after the British GP, a compromise solution was found where they partially reversed the changes and deferred a large chunk of those engine map changes until the 2012 season.

        As an aside, there is the irony that Red Bull’s own engine supplier, Renault, had themselves complained about the practice of “hot blowing” before the start of the 2011 season and had been advocating for it being restricted or banned.

        @davidjwest with regards to the Michelin tyres and the rule change to mandate that the width of the grooves had to remain the same when the tyre was used on track, not just when it was new, it depends whom exactly you ask on that.

        There are those who claim that it was a change that was imposed to favour Ferrari and to hurt the Michelin operating teams, and certainly the perception was that they lost out quite a bit from that change. On the other hand, there is a suggestion that the FIA felt the way that Michelin were able to make the surface of the ridges deform and to close up the grooves wasn’t fully complying with their Technical Directives, and in the end they felt the only way to stop that was to change the regulations.

        Whatever your side, I think that most of those involved agreed that the FIA’s decision to change the rules was done in a rather heavy handed manner.

        1. Thanks, anon! I looked it up by know. 😀

    2. Banning things mid season is F1 tradition.
      Nothing new under the sun.

  5. *facepalm*

    What a nonsense about qualy-mode!
    Hope they are sued and appealed to the death!

    Changes next season are stupid, changed midseason are atrocious.
    And anyway – this is not enforceable. They can go ahead and try.

  6. Besides, this will not help anyone.
    Mercedes will still be ahead

  7. Even with half a second shaved-off, Mercedes would still be dominating the qualy.

    The worst thing is that FIA let Ferrari race an illegal engine for a whole season, but plan to ban a completely legal engine mode mid-season? Desperate times it seems… I guess soon we’ll finally have those trackside sprinklers.

    1. @gechichan I haven’t yet decided how I feel about this, but I’m kind of leaning towards the quali mode as like a push-to-pass button, and do we really need one of those along with drs? I mean, a spec series like IndyCar uses one, or at least has done so in the past (not sure if they currently have it) because when the cars are so spec the push-to-pass becomes a vital tool for a driver to access strategically throughout the race. So to me perhaps the quali mode is a gadget we don’t need in F1, just like sprinklers. Drs should be on the way out too with the new cars, all in an effort to make F1 much more of a driver vs driver series and less about driver aids.

      Just as an aside about Ferrari and their trick last year. I didn’t think they had that for the whole season as I thought that was how they got caught…a sudden gain in performance at whatever race it was and then once teams started pointing fingers that gain seemed to have diminished which only seemed to support that something unusual was up and an investigation began. So to me I never thought FIA ‘let Ferrari race an illegal engine all season.’

    2. Maybe FIA has some doint concerning the legality of extreme quali modes which they cannot prove, but try to stop this way.

  8. With regards to heat, MotoGP races weekends in Jerez took place in similar hot conditions and it was a mess with regards to engine reliability. Factory yamaha team blew through their entire seasons worth of engines in 2 weekends with sattelite team also blowing 2/3rds of its engine allocation. Will we see similar issues crop up for F1 teams?

    1. @Chaitanya Apples to oranges comparison, first of all, and secondly, the forecast is for low-30s (31 for both practice and QLF day, and 30 for race day), not higher than that, so no problem. F1 has raced in the mid-30s before, for example, in Austria last season, and the engines/PUs survived, and even as high as low-40s in Bahrain back in 2005, so ambient temps in the low-30s aren’t going to be a problem at all. The low-30s figures aren’t bad in general either.

      1. They’re both round-ish fruit that are slightly too big to fit in the palm of your hand…

    2. Wow. Exciting news! Is the weather comparable then comparable with this week race?

      1. And sunday chance for rain! I wonder if you will notice anything on track.

  9. Engines have lots of modes, in Quali a driver is clearly going to use the fastest engine mode for 1 lap pace. If some engine suppliers have developed a better option for that, then it should be up to the other teams/suppliers to develop their own solution rather than clip the wings of the ones doing the best job.

    As others have said, I can’t see how the FIA can police this – other than force teams to prove they weren’t driving as fast as their car can go during qualifying – which seems bonkers for a sport which is meant to be about racing.

    What next – limit the aerodynamics of a car if one team is found to be more aero-efficient than the others? If a car is better at tyre management force them to wreck their tyres to achieve parity with other teams? Maybe at the British Grand Prix all the teams should have started with one car because RP could only get one started up.

    F1 is the pinnacle of motor car racing – it should embrace innovation, engineering and creative thinking (even when it comes to regulation loopholes).

    1. @geekzilla9000

      limit the aerodynamics of a car if one team is found to be more aero-efficient than the others?

      But this has already be done. Call it winglets, call it flexing wings (how many times did they change the test they did on front wings to prevent Red Bull from running their flexing front wings?), call it hot blown diffuser…

      On the other hand, the only way I can think they can prevent “qualy modes” is by getting rid of engine modes altogether and have a single engine mapping. If they need to save fuel, lift and coast. If they need to preserve the engine, don’t use all the rpms.

      1. @warheart that’s not really a genuine comparison. Everyone knew that to create wings that were deliberately flexing at top speed to strip drag was against the rules and there was clear measures put in place by the FIA to check for it. The problem is Red Bull didn’t want to give up there advantage so were simply making wings to pass the test but still perform the action the tests were trying to stop. There is no current regulations on engine modes not being allowed so making changes now is completely different to changing a test to ensure compliance with an existing rule.

        As you say moving to a single engine mode seems the only way they can enforce this and if they do I’d bet Mercedes are going to come out the other side with an even bigger advantage overall across qualifying and race.

        I’m against making mid season ill thought out changes but sure, lets go for it and see what happens when you make everyone run one engine mode. Watching drivers lifting and coasting for 50% of every race rather than driving as hard as they can with a more economic engine map seems to be what every non Mercedes fan wants so let them have it.

        1. @slowmo IIRC the FIA had to resort to “the spirit of the rules”. The rules stated a specific test that was to be passed to consider the wings legal, since all wings flex (more or less) at high speed. But while the RBR wing was flexing more than Ferrari’s and much more than their rivals’ (and they were all clearly flexing), they also kept passing every test even though the FIA kept changing it. The 2009 double diffuser was also against the spirit of the rules, but complied with the regulation, so it was legal. Sometimes the FIA chooses to leave things be, sometimes they choose to close the loophole for the following year, and sometimes they act immediately.

          Switching to a single engine map would give more responsibility to the driver, but I don’t think “punishing” teams who have done a better job should be the way forward for F1. I agree that the flexing wings can be argued against (I still think it was clever thinking and a better job from Ferrari and RBR), but one can hardly argue that Mercedes should be punished for doing a better job with their engine maps than their rivals.

          1. @warheart at the core I didn’t like what Red Bull were doing with the flexible wings, it was clearly cheating and once everyone else caught on to what they were doing they all started it. As you say, the double diffuser was a loop hole that they were informed about by Brawn and decided not to act upon; so there was very little chance they could go back on that with a rule change as cars were fundamentally designed around that premise.

            I would have absolutely agreed with banning the engine modes between years at any point and certainly when all the nonsense with oil burning started. Again oil burning was clearly the manufacturers using something to supplement the octane rating of fuel above the allowed limit, so a change in rules to stop it happening was perfectly fine. Just like the change in the rules last year that stopped Ferrari using their engine trick as it was enforcing a rule which they should be following anyway.

            It sounds like Mercedes aren’t worried about the change anyway and in fact Red Bull may suffer more than most by falling into the clutches of Renault and McLaren as the Renault PU has never had a particular amazing qualifying mode so they stand to lose less than RB. The only teams guaranteed to benefit are those using Ferrari engines…..

  10. It’ll be interesting to see on what basis the FIA proposes to bring that change in if in fact they do try to bring it in mid season.

    Incredibly disturbing to see such an effort being made to “equalise” everything via rules rather than by effort – the other PU manufacturers have had since 2014 (well before that really) to come up with great PU’s and associated software and have failed to do so. In one case, no real effort was even made for several years (yet everyone has a go at RBR for being outspoken).

    Give it a year and Williams will be competing with Haas for the WDC after they lower everything to the lowest common denominator.

  11. I think this is a very good idea. Don’t know how they are going to enforce it, but the FIA geeks will probably think of something.
    The current advantage in qualifying of 1 second over the rest of the field is just bad for the sport and fan experience. We all want to see the fastest car win, but with the narrowest of margins, as with everything else in the sport.
    Mercedes will still keep their advantage since they can turn down their engines and have less wear so they can use it longer than their opponents, instead of using the power for short-term qualifying gains.

    1. So develop the fastest car, then turn down the engine and pretend the racing is closer? Maybe instead of all these rule changes we could just ask Hamilton to drive a bit slower? Although having already won on three wheels that still may not give the desired outcome.

    2. Sorry, but that’s the completely wrong attitude @digitalhank

      Yes, we all want exciting close racing, but this is a sport where teams invest hundreds of millions to be the best. When a team becomes the best it becomes a complete joke if you forcibly slow them down. Imagine an Olympian training for years only to be told they have to run in concrete shoes because they’ve trained too well. The teams provide a car for the regulations in place at the time. Unless anything illegal is going on then to change rules mid season is pathetic. No doubt Horner and Ferrari moaning because they are terrible at their jobs. Mercedes will still dominate either way.

      1. That’s what F1 is though – a team becomes the best and then there are a set of rule changes that even things up. It’s happened countless times and will continue to happen for years to come.

        I agree though that it shouldn’t happen during a season. If they’re going to do it for next season, that’s fine because it’s fair for everyone but doing it mid-season is wrong.

  12. Who do you think will be the team to beat in the Spanish Grand Prix? – Mercedes.
    Could ‘quali mode’ ban affect 2020 title fight? – No.
    Will this prove the change Vettel needs to get on terms with his team mate? – Most likely, no, so quite pointless change just for the sake of it.

    1. RedBull without the quali mode could challenge Merc….

      1. No they couldn’t. They’re still .5 slower even without the mode

  13. Another unenforceable rule I expect. FIA loves them.

  14. Mercedes offers the other teams some insider knowledge to help them. By trolling them.

    https://twitter.com/MercedesAMGF1/status/1293461644484501504

  15. You can could make the argument that the FIA created the qualification modes by mandating only a small number of engines could be used a season. …And having 2 electric motor generators and one engine kind of means you are forced into doing this stuff. If they got rid of the MGU-K it would be simpler and these new rules might make more sense.

  16. I don’t have an issue with them banning quali modes but not mid-season. The rules were set, the teams developed their cars to the rules and that’s it. Mercedes didn’t “bend the rules” or find a loophole in them so there is no argument for changing anything now IMO.

    They knew that they would be miles ahead of the rest and could control the race from the front so that’s what they’ve designed their cars to do. Changing the rules so that other teams can compete with them in qualifying isn’t really fair at this point.

    1. But a budget of 260 million vs 80 million is?

      Its a good season to try things, the sport already has too much politic and stick in the mud middle aged guys stroking their chins. Lets try something, if it doesn’t work. So what?

      1. tony mansell, the idea of basically trying to guess your way to a successful outcome really isn’t a great way to run the sport – because there could be a number of instances where that sort of attitude could turn out to cause more damage than good. It’s one thing to put forward a considered idea, and another to go “well, maybe this time it could work”.

  17. I would love to see how the qualifying mode ban would work in ‘this year’ – it would be more effective to demonstrate why such a ban is needed if it brings Mercedes back into the range of… well everyone else, in qualifying. At the moment people might just feel its an arbitrary rule that will be engineered out of relevance by next year, so seeing it *actually* make a difference would be great.

    I doubt Vettel’s chassis change will change much, nor the hotter Spain temperatures on Mercedes dominance. But we’ll see.

  18. Didn’t the FIA already try to do this (controlling engine modes) after Red Bull’s constant complaints about Mercedes ‘party modes’ in 2018.

    I can’t recall exactly but I thought the FIA placed a limit on the number of engine modes and the permitted variability between them.

    Or am I imagining things again…

    1. Not sure about that specifically, but pretty sure there was a restriction against changing engine mode during the first lap to avoid the use of launch maps. They could do something similar, just changing it to you can’t change the map during qualifying and x-laps into the race. Trade off of performance vs reliability should make it less effective. Maybe. :)

  19. I don’t understand what FIA is trying to achieve with this decision especially in the long term. At the moment it is, at least in theory, possible that one team dominates qualifying and another dominates the race and thus we have an interesting chase in the race. If they manage to ban qualifying modes, then the car on pole should be dominant in the race also.

    1. @hotbottoms – that’s a really good point. When quali pace is not the same as race pace, a least you effectively have cars not starting in position (relative to race performance) and that increases the chance of on track battles for position.

      1. What if as a result of this change the team it was supposed to hurt most ends up faster overall in both and it means more dominance…

    2. No it hurts the engines with the biggest ability to turn the wick up. The most powerful engine whatever the protestations of Toto, is Mercedes. This will hurt Williams the most at a guess (alas) but hopefully also the factory team

      1. I think you sum up exactly why some want this by your reference to Williams. Thanks for the honesty. Saves coming up with some convoluted nonsense that its good for the sport.

  20. I miss the qualifying hand grenades of the late 70s!!!!!

    1. Qually wasn’t even on telly till the 90s so I doubt that.

  21. Could Catalunya be ditched for Hockenheim next year?

  22. Technically there is nothing like quali_mode.
    The high performance mode just means maximum sustainable power, maximum vibration, maximum heat generation from the ICU. Same goes for the other components in the hybrid system. It stresses the system so they only budget perhaps 1.5 to 2.5 percent duty cycle of that mode the whole race weekend.
    At different times in a GP weekend, full throttle can 70% to 95% power more or less.

    The FIA should then ban all modes all allow full throttle control by the drivers let’s see how all the engines cope.

  23. Or maybe we could try something and if it works keep it, if it doesn’t rethink it. There was a lot of hay thrown in the air by ‘experts’ on here about the softs used at last weekends race, all wrong in their interpretation, thankfully. If the message hasn’t got through yet that f1 cars are so complex you cannot know all of the outcomes by changing one thing then it never will. This is obviously done to neuter Mercedes a bit, lets see if it works? If it does, we can go racing again and not just for 5th.

    1. Last weekends race? Where the three at the front went into cruise mode for the entire race, and other teams either limped round, gave up the fight early, or just parked it up in the pits. And Pirelli brought truck loads of soft tyres that were no good to anybody and were basically thrown in the bin.

      1. Yes that race that RBR won against all predictions and was very enjoyable.

        But to be honest racefans has just turned into racemoan. Anything and everything. You’re a great example. Find the worst bits and highlight them. You know the motorsport world is very seldom a youtube clip. If you don’t come to accept that then maybe racing isn’t for you. A lot of it can be quite dull. I really enjoyed last week but there were some dull laps.

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