Keep historic definition of pole position on sprint qualifying weekends – Steiner

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In the round-up: Haas team principal Guenther Steiner has joined calls for Formula 1 to retain the classic definition of ‘pole position’ following the introduction of the sprint qualifying format.

In brief

Formula 1 introduced its new sprint qualifying format at Silverstone, which added an extra race on Saturday to decide the grid for the race. It stated the race winner would be considered the official pole position holder for the weekend, rather than the top qualifier, in a departure from tradition.

While Lewis Hamilton set the fastest time in qualifying, sprint qualifying winner Max Verstappen was deemed the pole position holder.

Sebastian Vettel was among those to criticise the decision, calling it “wrong”. Haas’s Steiner agrees with him.

“I think if we go ahead with this sprint qualifying for the future, qualifying should be counted as a qualifying, as a pole position and the sprint qualifying as a sprint qualifying win,” he said. “I would do it like this.”

Formula 1 managing director Ross Brawn has indicated the rule may be reconsidered if the sprint qualifying formation is retained beyond this season.

Pirelli reveal Silverstone tyre demands

Carlos Sainz Jnr, Ferrari, Silverstone, 2021
Tyres experience huge cornering loads at Silverstone
Pirelli gave insight into the formidable loads experienced by its tyres last weekend at one of the fastest and most demanding circuits on the Formula 1 calendar.

“There is a lot of lateral energy that is going into the tyre and the front is the most heavily loaded tyre,” said Pirelli’s motorsport head Mario Isola. “We were just checking the other day on on the loads for example in Maggotts, Becketts and Chapel, the sequence, on the loaded side on each tyre there is a lateral load of 1,200 kilos. That is quite a lot on each tyre.

“And there are many corners where we we have more than five G or close to five G of lateral acceleration. So it’s quite a hard circuit for the tyre, especially for the front.”

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Comment of the day

News Focus: As red flags become more common, F1 should ban repairs during suspensions
Rowmk9 argues against the suggestion that because the use of the red flag has become more common, it’s time to take away the automatic right for teams to repair their cars during race suspensions:

I think no repairs under a red flag is not a good idea. The best suggestions I’ve seen in the comments is that cars needing repairs get put in their garages and put to the back of the field for a restart. In the scenario that unfolded at Silverstone, that would’ve put Hamilton at the back and still have a penalty and a win would’ve almost certainly been out of reach then.

However, this could also ‘penalise’ victims of race damage as well as perpetrators (imagine if on lap one in the race there had been another skirmish unrelated to the red flag where the innocent party picked up front wing damage or a puncture). Then this rule completely trashes their race. So on some days this rule would punish a perpetrator of a red flag incident, and on other days it could ruin the races of completely innocent parties who may have picked up damage from being on the wrong end of a poor overtaking move.

Then there is the most important aspect, safety. I think if teams aren’t able to repair damage before a car takes a race restart, that puts them and the FIA in a tricky position if any car with damage is then subsequently involved with a serious crash that results in injury or loss of life.

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62 comments on “Keep historic definition of pole position on sprint qualifying weekends – Steiner”

  1. Any thoughts about the Spa ’98 race at the start?

    No red flag repairs there?

    Just thinking…

    1. @bullmello If I recall correctly, that period between the first-lap wreck and the next start wasn’t under a red flag; rather the initial start was declared null and void, and the race was completely started again from lap 1. That’s why several of the drivers were able to start in a spare car (and why some of their teammates couldn’t take the second start, as their team only had one spare car).

      1. @markzastrow yes, under the regulations at the time, if a race was red flagged within two laps of the start, then the original start was null and void and the race would restart entirely.

      2. This is a good comment @markzastrow

    2. I don’t get why red flag repairs are that bad, it irks me that f1 does not know the meaning of parc fermé anymore, a rule I don’t even care about. I’d rather have a driver getting lucky than having a car missing the race.

      I propose limiting and clarifying the scope of red flags.
      Throw red flags only after pile-ups, barrier damage and accidents that trigger medical assistance.
      Mandate all red flags restarts are standing starts.
      A red flag means the original race is scrapped.
      Prior running defines the grid as is currently the case. After 75% distance a red flag should mean end of the race and award full points.

      Expand sc to cover some of the current red flag scenarios, for example, when, as a result of debris oil or any other time of space or time consuming problem, cars end up stacked in the pitlane, have these scenarios under sc and not red flag. The intent is to clarifying that the race is neutralised, no repairs and no pit stops are allowed, as if the race was paused.

      1. “I don’t get why red flag repairs are that bad”

        because Hamilton benefitted


      2. @peartree Red flags are already only thrown when the race cannot be continued under Safety Cars (regardless of the reason the cars cannot run). In the rules, a pile-up that doesn’t block the track, damages the barrier and requires medical assistance can be handled under Safety Car if it is on the start line and running through the pits allows the incident to be safely handled. Restricting it further leaves a gap where cars need to be stopped but are obliged to continue. Stacking the cars at the end of the pitlane causes problems because anyone who needs to have their car checked over won’t unless they’re guaranteed a meatball flag or DNF for continuing… …which tends to result in more yellow/red flags when the problem boils over.

        The reason red flag restarts can be rolling is that otherwise, some stopped races would never restart. Standing starts are required where possible.

        Scrapping the current race and 75% rules went out with the discovery in 2003 that the FIA was not capable of tracking that level of complexity. It is no help if the fans can track an event but the official race standings don’t reflect it.

        1. @alianora-la-canta mate I know how it is right now, I don’t think you raised anything I did not address. The major intent is to clarify that red flags mean that a race is re-run, and SC means neutralised race, for all intents and purposes. There is no good reason not to have a standing start, if it is to wet to start, it is too wet to race, if there are mangled cars under sc, pit for repairs.
          I’m suggesting that f1 should adopt something similar to what I wrote.

          Motogp keeps track of 75%, in fact most of what I based myself upon are timeless motogp rules. That said I only suggested this rule for logistics.

          1. @peartree Races are not re-run on red flags, and for the reasons I specified in my previous post cannot be re-run. These also need to be treated as neutralised.

            MotoGP is not run by the FIA, rather by FIM (which competitors consider capable of handling complex rules like 75% ones. The FIA has already failed on that one, so isn’t trusted with it again).

          2. @alianora-la-canta you are being thick. I’m sure you have realised that I’m trying to change the rules. Another thing FIM does that I’d like to see on f1 is the long lap loop, in fact I’m not a big fan of it in motogp but in f1 it could replace 5s penalties.
            By the way, red flag races were actually neutralised back in the day. the infamous suzuka 96 race was won on aggregate time, there were a few more.
            Let’s agree to disagree.

          3. @peartree You are being dishonest. You should have realised that there is good reason why the rules are not changed the way you want them to be, for I have specified them multiple times. Red flag races back in the day also allowed repairs (for the reasons I specified), unlike your erroneous claim.

            I cannot agree to disagree with someone who is knowingly spreading false information.

          4. @alianora-la-canta Do you understand English? I never said red flags did not allow repairs, and I’m not against it, I’m in favour of it.
            How can I be dishonest when I’m proposing changes? I know the rules and I’m in fact honestly proposing changes.
            I don’t need you to tell me the rules are not as I proposed them to be, that is obvious since I’m proposing changes not stating what they currently are.

    3. @bullmello There were red flag repairs in Spa 1998. The main reason people retired was that many chassis were damaged – which wouldn’t be repairable on site regardless of red flag repair rules.

  2. I’m sure RB and Merc had simulated all likely lap 1 scenarios, maybe Ham decided he was not going to take it past copse. Bernie is right there was no penalty, but in the end of the day it is a racing incident, Ham caused it and it all fortunately went right for Merc and all wrong for RB. Not only there was no penalty for it, in the end it couldn’t have gone any better. This leaves a sour taste but that was inevitable, these kinds of clashes. You don’t need data to show Ham was going to understeer wide, you can see from the replay that he brakes later than Max, considering he is on the inside he should have braked earlier than Max. I don’t think there is any solution for it. On red flags we want as many cars as possible, not like you can reliably engineer a red flag and penalties that ruin your opponents race or that are genuinely dangerous perhaps should be revised, eye for an eye. Schumi on villeneuve was swiftly judged, even before the first replay. Was it so crystal clear? I argue you can’t say for sure, nevertheless f1 was not going to allow it to define the championship. Masi instead rather say “feel free to go upstairs and talk to the stewards”.

    1. ‘you can see from the replay that he brakes later than Max’

      If my understanding is correct, they don’t brake for Copse. Maybe L1 with full fuel? Could someone clarify?

      1. RandomMallard (@)
        21st July 2021, 7:08

        @ltdslipdiff It’s hard to tell exactly, but Lewis does definitely appear to brake for Copse, likely because he is on the tighter, inside line. He also brakes when taking that inside line to pass Leclerc at the end. Max on lap 1 appears to lift through Copse, but not directly brake for it. This makes a bit of sense considering he was on the wider line, and that RB seems to have more downforce in the car concept.

      2. F1oSaurus (@)
        21st July 2021, 10:05

        @ltdslipdiff Exactly, Copse is a flat out corner. Which makes it even more weird to put the blame on Hamilton since he was the only one actually trying to avoid the incident.

        Reality is they both expected the other to yield and neither did.

        1. What an(other) ignorant comment.
          As @randommallard explains above, Copse is only flat out from the racing line (for the best cars).
          A tighter turn in requires a bit of braking or you will not even make the corner, let alone give a car on the outside enough space.

      3. @ltdslipdiff Braking doesn’t happen on qualifying laps in Copse, but above a certain threshold of fuel, lifting is necessary. Some have to brake on high fuel, especially if (like Lewis and Max in this case) a line other than the theoretical ideal one is taken. If two cars are in Copse on high fuel, both must brake in order to take lines compatible with each other.

      4. @ltdslipdiff @scbriml @f1osaurus Generally cars brake for copse except on Q trim, or fresh tyres and low fuel.

        Steve on the “not wholly to blame” article there is a picture that shows both cars leading into copse, Ham is not fully alongside, about a third along the way, and in my view as I try to explain, Ham only gets more alongside because he broke later. Frankly discussing being a third, halfway or fully alongside leads nowhere, one car definitely hits the other.

        1. F1oSaurus (@)
          22nd July 2021, 15:31

          @peartree Still not braking and especially not after they already turned in. They would slow down before that.

          Hamilton was pretty much fully alongside and certainly well past “halfway alongside” which gives him the corner:

          The fact that he slows down after that point to try and prevent Verstappen crashing into him doesn’t change this.

          1. @f1osaurus as I’ve said Lewis only got that alongside because he missed copse’s braking point.

          2. F1oSaurus (@)
            23rd July 2021, 7:36

            @peartree Indeed and that is not correct.

        2. @peartree What picture?

          I suggest anyone interested watches Jolyon Palmer’s analysis on the incident on a well known video website. Most especially his analysis of Verstappen’s steering inputs.

          Either way, it matters not. The stewards ruled Hamilton predominantly to blame and penalised him. No amount of post-race analysis will change that, least of all in the minds of those that have already decided.

    2. Ham decided to do at Copse exactly what Max had done at turn six. A move that Max is renowned for, Horner brags about, and a number of fans applaud. And it was always going to be at Copse if not before for Ham because of Max’s weakness with the line he takes through Luffield. In the same way that Max knew if he could keep Ham at bay until he cleared Copse the race would be is.
      In hindsight it was always going to be at Copse where neither of them would back down.

      1. clearly u dont know anything about racing or motorsports. turn 6 is not the same as copse so u obviously overtake differently.

        1. A get out of my way or crash move is a get out of my way or crash move in any corner. As numerous drivers and experts have made clear in the past about Max, included Horner. And as some have done in describing the turn 6 move in this case. And you are in no position to get personal giving your pathetic and frankly childish posting history. Now go away and think about what you have done.

    3. @peartree “you can see from the replay that he brakes later than Max, considering he is on the inside he should have braked earlier than Max.”

      Hamilton was just about fully alongside Verstappen leading to Copse. When the cars touched, Hamilton’s front wheel hit Verstappen’s rear wheel. How is that possible if, as you claim, Hamilton braked later? It’s unlikely that Verstappen braked (Copse is normally flat out), whereas Hamilton needed to, given his tighter line.

  3. Re COTD
    Imagine in that scenario where an ‘innocent party’ picks up front wing damage or a puncture. What happens then?
    Well, in every other scenario other than a red flag, so if we have: SC, VSC, yellow flags or no flags at all, the ‘innocent party’ has to pit and rejoin at the back of the field. Even though it wasn’t the driver’s fault, it trashes their race because these things happen in a race and sometimes are beyond the driver’s control.
    So why should a red flag be any different and miraculously give the ‘innocent party’ and everyone else a free pass?

    In the event of a red flag teams should not be allowed to change tyres freely – for example I don’t think Verstappen’s crash in Silverstone left any significant debris so that the teams would have to change their tyres. However FIA should allow tyre changes if there is a crash with significant debris (like in Baku) or if there are difficult weather conditions.

    1. @black I disagree. Continuing with a possibly very worn tyre set would be an unnecessary safety issue. Simpy nothing wrong with changing tyres, doing repairs, anything, so no justifiable reason for any action.

      1. @jerejj I’m not trying to say that the teams would not be able to change tyres at all, I’m just saying the shouldn’t do that as freely as they do now during a red flag, like as a free pit stop for the entire grid.

        If we have a VSC / SC, then the teams gamble, they pit and the drivers may fall back the order but with fresher tyres relative to their competitors. Red flags should be treated the same way in my opinion (unless there are specific reasons, like a Baku crash with lots of debris, or changing weather conditions, where FIA should allow a ‘free pit stop’ for all of the teams).

        Maybe spend 1-2 laps behind the SC before the red flag (or after – depends on the event that caused the red flag, if it’s safe to deploy the SC for 1-2 laps before they bring out the red flag), let the teams decide if they want to pit in that ‘window’ for new tyres or front wing etc, and fall back some places down the grid (if the red flag is shown halfway during the race, a team that would pit under that scenario, would only lose a few places). And after these 1-2 laps, bring the cars to the pits and if a team wants to make a change, like new tyres, front wing or other ajustments, they should be able to do it, but the car should be sent at the back of the field before the new restart.

    2. @black Because in most situations severe enough for a red flag, it’s possible that many people are innocent victims, and that not all of them are obvious.

      Leaving it to the discretion of the FIA (even with theoretically objective criteria) would almost inevitably lead to unsafe situations where discretion for an innocent person to make repairs/swap tyres doesn’t happen. Discretional powers used wrongly would expose the FIA to liability, but are unlikely to improve the FIA’s actual decision-making, so are unmitigated downside.

  4. Yea I agree with COTD, repairs should be allowed but it should be like as if they pitted for the repairs so should drop down the order. They could be placed at the back of the grid (maybe no need to become a pit lane start?) and I say any tyre changes should also be considered a ‘pit stop’ so should also be placed at the back of the grid.

    Incase there are multiple cars that need a repair or change of tyres, I’d say they can just look at the current position before the red flag. For example say cars at P1, P4 and P10 wanted to repair their cars or change tyres, they would restart the race from P18, P19 and P20 respectively.

  5. GtisBetter (@)
    21st July 2021, 6:10

    F1 fans:” there are to many rules.”

    Also F1 fans:”we need different rules for every possible outcome after a crash.”

    1. Comment of the year!

  6. Ecclestone is wrong. Masi already stated that the severity of the outcome to this kind of incident can’t have a bearing on the penalty according to rules of conduct. Last “causing a collision” penaties to be issued during the race for Norris and Perez were 5 second penalties. Hamiltons 10 seconds is consistent with that.

    1. But it’s a bit strange..
      If you ignore a red light you will receive a fine.
      If you ignore a red light and kill someone you will end up in jail or at least a hefty punishment.
      So it do matters in real life. So should it during a race.
      Now you can crash 18 drivers out of the race with a 18×10 sec penalty. A guaranteed win (with bottas second of course)

      1. erikje Multiple breaches in the same race provides discretion for stewards to increase the penalty. Someone crashing into several drivers in the same race (in separate incidents) would risk disqualification, even if everyone involved finished.

    2. @broke1984 5 seconds vs 10 is not consistent, especially as the stewards have said the 10 was for an incident where the other party bore partial responsibility (which according to the Sporting Regulations, and precedent from other Lap 1 crashes, should mean no penalty at all).

      It looks like severity of outcome does have a bearing on the penalty, whether Masi is willing to admit it or not.

    3. @broke1984 @alianora-la-canta Russell got a 3 place grid penalty for nudging Sainz, a worse penalty for a better outcome.

      1. @peartree There’s nothing in the rules that permits an X second penalty to be issued for an incident prior to the race, and the session was allegedly part of qualifying. The stewards had to give a grid penalty.

        1. Of course, I think the incident was Sainz’s fault rather than Russell’s, but that’s a whole different argument…

        2. @alianora-la-canta the rules are great aren’t they? They elected to give russell a penalty post sprint qualifying race rather than during it. Race direction is always so well prepared…

          1. @peartree The rules didn’t give the wrong person the penalty, the stewards did. Also, post-race time penalties are a thing, but post-qualifying time penalties haven’t been a thing since 2006 (when it was discovered that they don’t work in that context). If the sprint qualifying had been a race, then post-race time penalties would have been permitted. They are not, because it isn’t.

          2. @alianora-la-canta you replied saying “The rules didn’t give the wrong person the penalty, the stewards did.”
            Except I never made that mistake I said and I quote “Race direction is always so well prepared…”
            Also you implied that I was agreeing with your assessement that Sainz is the guilty party when I was replying to your theory on why Russell got a grid penalty.

  7. The discussion yesterday about the red flag rule became very ‘politicised’ with even unwarranted attacks on the author.

    I’m especially disappointed how ‘fans’ here argued differently the when comparing to the Sprint race, discussions; both should be about the purity of the race, and not who benefitted this time.

    Too many saw the article as an attack on their preferred driver.
    But the article should be seen (like the Sprint articles) as about the purity of the sport and fairness of the race.

    I’ve always been against the Red Flag rules (and even the SC rules) as it artificially resets the race.
    But it seems most ‘fans’ here solely let there opinion be let by which driver they support, or how much action (or surprise winner) a late reset creates.
    Weird crowd.

    1. Better to avoid the 100+ comment sections. All sorts of stupid arguments get heated for no real reason.

      Great for the engagement metrics, pointless for any reasonable discussion.

  8. Easy in hindsight, but Lando should’ve merely ‘walked away’ rather than stay talking with two randoms. Hopefully, he doesn’t trust literally just any stranger.

    COTD is spot on, although no change is necessary or justified. Leave things as they are because ”If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

  9. Bernie gives his expert opinion on Ham 4 days after opining that it was clear to all that Ham had lost his hunger for a fight this season.

    1. Yeah I thought Hamilton wasn’t fighter last time out according to Bernie…

      1. There we go then – it’s all Bernie’s fault! :-D

  10. “I am told by Red Bull there is data to prove Lewis was significantly faster into Copse than at any other time and he would not have made the corner without running wide, and inevitably contacting Max.”

    You don’t need data for that. He had a tow and was as fast on the inside as Verstappen on the outside racing line. He knew as well as us he was never going to hold his line, but that was anyway the plan.

    1. Exactly the same as Verstappen into Turn 6, he had an inside line and took way more speed than you normally would for that approach, he did it cos he knew it would run Hamilton off the track had Hamilton actually tried it round the outside, fortunately for Hamilton he is wise to that and backed out.

    2. @balue definitely maybe. I agree, shocked you didn’t get a load of “controversy” for this comment. Probably one of the likely rehearsed lap 1 scenarios.

  11. Sprint is here to stay. I’m not sure how I feel about it. Yes, the cars were less heavy and they could push all of those laps flat out. For Perez it ended up in a mistake and I was suprised that it was the only bigger mistake that happened. I would be happy if sundays main race could provide same kind of racing. I’m not sure does it really devalue the main race. It’s not like they are driving 17/60 laps on saturday and 43/60 on sunday. I said this earlier but why couldn’t those “sprints” be non championship races. Don’t let them mix up the sundays gp and it could also be a chance for those rookies/3rd/test drivers who cannot test nowadays as much as 15 or 20 years ago so they could get the experience not only for driving but also for racing.

  12. F1oSaurus (@)
    21st July 2021, 10:23

    I agree that it makes more sense to call the fastest driver in Q3 the pole, but then the confusion is that normally the pole sitter starts the race from P1. Still a race result has noting to do with getting pole.

    The easier solution would be to stop having sprint races. Or if these gimmicks must continue, then base their start order on something else than Q3. Current WDC standing, previous race result, FP2 order or something like that.

  13. If I am right in thinking that the FIA has never before given points during qualifying it seems that they should continue that tradition as the reward of starting position for the Grand Prix is enough.

  14. @f1osaurus I’m afraid that sprint is here to stay. Maybe Q2 times could decide who starts where for the sprint?

    1. This was not suppose to be a stand alone comment. I thought I pressed reply but it seems not

    2. F1oSaurus (@)
      21st July 2021, 14:44

      @qeki Yes if they must keep doing it I’d rather they do not diminish Q3 and the notion of getting pole.

      Q2 order would be a good candidate too yes

    3. @qeki If Q2 decides starting order for the sprint, then what would be the point of Q3? I’m slightly confused!

      IMHO, the winner of the event that decides the starting order for the GP should be the pole winner. After all, they’re the one starting the race “on pole”, whereas the winner of Friday qualifying could be starting the race from P1 but also anywhere down to P20.

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