Andreas Seidl, Silverstone, 2021

“Big mix-up” in qualifying unlikely despite format change – Seidl

2021 British Grand Prix

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Formula 1’s new format for this weekend is unlikely to produce a drastically different grid, McLaren team principal Andreas Seidl has predicted.

Teams have just a single hour of practice today to prepare for this afternoon’s qualifying session. That will set the grid for Saturday’s new sprint qualifying race, which decides the starting order for Sunday’s grand prix.

While McLaren tend to be lower down the order on Fridays compared to Saturdays, Seidl said the change in format will lead them to alter their approach.

“I would think that for qualifying today there’s not a big mix-up compared to what we usually see,” he predicted.

“On our side we normally tend to be a bit on the lower end of the ranking on Friday and then make our way forward until Saturday lunchtime. But I think that’s purely related to the way how we approach weekends normally.

“I don’t expect a big issue for us having only one session compared to all the other guys around. So to be honest I don’t expect a big change in the pecking order.”

As overtaking in sprint qualifying is likely to prove no easier than in the race, Friday’s early qualifying session is expected to be crucial to a team’s result. Seidl said it is important they gain useful from from the single hour of practice which precedes it.

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“It’s obviously very compressed, you have to get in this single session what you normally try to put in three sessions. So I think it’s even more important than it is anyway, to be as prepared as possible going into this session.

“It is also clear that on a day like today you need to be very careful in trying new things, for example, or new parts. Because in the end you need to cover some basics in this 60 minutes because afterwards you have to lock in your car going into parc fermé for qualifying. So you have to make some important calls on brake wear, plank wear, cooling set-up and so on.

“Of course at the same time you want to have a performing car going into qualifying so that’s where you have to find the right balance in terms of which fuel loads do you want to run, which tyres, in order to be as prepared as possible.”

Seidl said ensuring his team complies with the heavily revised regulations will be a key priority this weekend.

“I think in general the biggest challenge of this weekend is the operational side. Also the sporting side in terms of making sure you adhere to the regulations in terms of parc fermé and so on.

“We are all used to a certain race weekend sequence now for many years, everyone is trained to that, and that is where we put a lot of focus as a team in order to be ready on the operational side.”

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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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3 comments on ““Big mix-up” in qualifying unlikely despite format change – Seidl”

  1. I agree that it’s not likely to mix things up as many think it will, At least not if it’s something done more permanently in the future as teams will simply adapt to having less running & a more normal order will quickly return.

    People always bring up how weekends where they get less running often leads to better races but the thing to remember with that is that is more as a result of them going into a weekend expecting a normal amount of running which then ends up changing meaning they can’t do the run plans they expected to & therefore have less data than they expected to.

    It reminds me of the high degredation tyres. They saw higher than expected tyre wear at Montreal in 2010 & how that impacted the race so tried to emulate that everywhere. However in making high deg tyres the norm they lost all of the elements that made the Montreal 2010 race as good as it was, Those been how nobody was expecting high wear & so nobody really knew how to manage it. They lost that when high deg became the norm & something they could all prepare for.

  2. F1 banned almost all testing, introduced a token system, budget limitation, material limitation, etc. What was the effect so far? Did we see low budget teams achieving something memorable? Now they hope to mix up the order by limiting further the practice. Let the rich teams spend their money, let them try, experiment, fail or succeed, why do we have to waste a whole year or more? What’s the point of spending less and failing more in a sport like F1?

  3. The classic definition of “insanity” comes to mind for some aspects of the “new order”.
    If there is standard qualifying to establish the order for a race, there is inherently a degree of randomness due to the difference between the two events. If the “qualifying” is used to set the order for a race, to set the order for the main race, would you really expect that there would be more or less mix-up in the main event.?
    All the rumbling seems to be that the Sprint “Race” will be a procession, but are they not setting things up for the main event to be even more processional than normal.? Update on Sunday.
    Having whined enough, I really do like the aspect that all the drivers will start on new tyres and have free choice of what compounds to race and when, yes, still two compounds required. This will be an interesting aspect.

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