Formula E teams awaiting detail on qualifying format changes

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In the round-up: Formula E will change its controversial group qualifying format for the 2021-2022 season.

In brief

FIA and Formula E yet to tell teams new qualifying format

Formula E is likely to change its group qualifying format, which has been blamed for some of the lack of consistency in drivers’ results last season. However Venturi team principal Susie Wolff said that they have yet to be told what the new format will be.

Speaking ahead of the team’s driver announcement, Wolff said that Venturi’s “clear goal is to move ahead in the team standings. We were tenth last season, we’ve moved up P7 and we want more. And in order to get more, it was clear for me that that made a driver line-up, which would be consistently scoring points. That’s no mean feat, in Formula E, to be consistent, it’s one of the toughest championships to find consistency.”

She confirmed that teams have yet to hear news on what qualifying will look like in the 2021-22 championship. “We still haven’t heard from the FIA and Formula E what the new qualifying format will look like, but with our driver line-up now we go into season eight having no doubt that we have the performance from the car and the right performance from the team. We have two drivers which will bring in big points.”

Abbi Pulling ends British F4 season due to lack of funds

18-year-old Abbi Pulling has been forced to end her second season in British F4 midway through, after she said results had not been enough for funding.

Pulling had been on-track to win a race before being spun off track and has shone at points but said she would not be able to continue.

“I will no longer be competing in the British F4 championship,” she confirmed in a social media post. “I have had to end my 2021 campaign early due to lack of funding. Due to this, I’ve had some really hard days.

“There has been so much potential shown throughout the year but runs of bad luck on track have limited me in securing any further funding for this year.

“I’m absolutely heartbroken that this is the outcome, as I thought this year would play out much differently. There have been lots of ups and downs but it will only make me a better, more experienced driver moving forward.”

World Anti-Doping Agency considers removing cannabis from banned substance list

The World Anti-Doping Agency is reviewing whether cannabis should be a banned substance, following the exclusion of Sha’Carri Richardson from the 2020 Olympics, held this year in Japan. The FIA is a signatory to and follows WADA’s anti-doping rules.

In an update, WADA said that “Following receipt of requests from a number of stakeholders, the ExCo endorsed the decision of the List Expert Advisory Group to initiate in 2022 a scientific review of the status of cannabis. Cannabis is currently prohibited in competition and will continue to be in 2022.”

Among the most famous examples of a racing driver being penalised for a marijuana-related infraction is Tomas Enge, who was excluded after winning the Hungarian round of the 2002 Formula 3000 series after testing positive for cannabis, losing enough points to cost him victory in the championship.

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Comment of the day

Although Formula 1’s silly season has been grabbing headlines, Formula E’s is maybe more dramatic – as the grid shrinks, drivers are scrapping for spaces with a lot of limitations. Following Lucas di Grassi’s announcement at Venturi, Andrew T assesses the remaining chances.

I guess Norman Nato won’t be too happy about it, working through his rookie season with Venturi, even winning the season finale, and still shown the door. But as a team manager, if you have the possibility to sign someone with that vast experience and genuine race craft Lucas di Grassi has, plus he is one of the series’ champions, no matter how sorry you feel for Norman Nato, you just have to make the move.

The Formula-E grid shrinks to 22 cars for the next season, and Audi’s complete departure means that DTM champion Rene Rast is also in the hunt of a seat. And so is Norman Nato…

Happy birthday!

Happy birthday to Adam Milleneuve, Joao Pedro Cq, Handcart and Discotheque!

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On this day in motorsport

Juan Pablo Montoya became a grand prix winner today in 2001
  • 20 years ago today Juan Pablo Montoya scored his first F1 victory in a subdued Italian Grand Prix at Monza, one day after Alex Zanardi was seriously injured in an IndyCar crash and five days on from the 9/11 terrorist attacks

Author information

Hazel Southwell
Hazel is a motorsport and automotive journalist with a particular interest in hybrid systems, electrification, batteries and new fuel technologies....

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36 comments on “Formula E teams awaiting detail on qualifying format changes”

  1. Just filled out the latest F1 Fan Voice survey on the F1 Sprint. At least this one had the option to provide very negative feedback, even though there were some questions where you had no option but to pick an answer that sort of gave acceptance.
    Be interesting to see if this one disappears if the responses aren’t what they want to see.

    1. I still don’t get why so many are rabidly anti Sprint;
      Was 3rd practice so thrilling ?
      Did no-one ever lose or gain places in qualifying due to bad or good luck?
      Was the WDC never lost or won before due to circumstances outside the drivers control?
      For me the extra racing seems like a bonus rather than a gimmick, I’ll complain loudly if or when gimmicks are proposed but I don’t see this as the gateway to gimmickry any more than I see mothers-milk as the gateway to alcoholism.

      1. I don’t think someone could encapsulate how pointless and gimmicky Sprint is then to compare it to 3rd practice and try to pass it off as the superior option. Can’t compare it to qualifying or the race, have to compare it to a practice session that gave twice the amount of on track action (ie practice 3 is 1 hour long, sprint is roughly 30 minutes).

        1. Practice 3 may have twice the session time – but certainly less action, fewer interest points and less impact on the whole event.
          And there’s no point comparing the sprint race to qualifying or the GP, because there is still qualifying and the GP.

          1. There’s a lot more of interest going on in practice 3 then people realise. This is the last session to get setup right and gives an idea of whose looking strong going into qualifying. It has a massive impact on the event, especially if someone crashes heavily and puts themselves out of qualifying.

            Sprint race in comparison is 1 lap of any interest followed by a procession that emphasizes F1’s problems, simply waiting for the session to end more then anything else. There’s little to no action or points of interest. it’ just a thing that’s there to waste time (much as Practice 2 is when sprint’s involved as no set up changes can be made due to cars being in parc ferme conditions).

          2. I think Craig hit the nail on the head here:

            much as Practice 2 is when sprint’s involved as no set up changes can be made due to cars being in parc ferme conditions

            This is a very unfortunate side-effect of Sprint.

            I’d rather the schedule be as follows,
            Friday: FP1 (teams likely doing long runs to setup for the Sprint & Race), Sprint (do whatever gimmicky stuff here as far as reverse grids, special tires, award some points, but it doesn’t determine Sunday’s grid or perc ferme)
            Saturday: FP2 (teams likely doing short runs and setup in preparation for quali), Qualifying (this what determines the starting grid and cars are placed in parc ferme until the start of Sunday’s race)
            Sunday: the Grand Prix

      2. I can only repeat what I posted yesterday:

        unfortunately most fans love random factors (just check the r@te-the-r@ce scores here for red-flagged races like Monza 2020).

        But many fans get all upset when these ‘random factors’ are introduced in a meritocratic way by the sports owners.

        It seems that the main reason many commenters dislike Sprint races is because it is introduced by the owners.
        The ‘purity of racing’ argument falls flat on its face when seeing the reactions to races which were upset by a red flag and created a ‘natural’ sprint race after that with an arbitrary and incomplete ‘grid’.

        1. No, people dislike sprint because A) it’s rubbish and B) it detracts from other aspects of the weekend without adding anything.

      3. @hohum Practice 3 is a session where teams use for themselves to find the best set up for Quali. It might not be as exciting as Quali or the Race, but at least it makes some sense.

        Sprint is there just as a gimmick. We had Qualifying where the grid was decided, we had a Race where the points were awarded and now we have this hybrid in between for no reason other than to bring sponsorship money to Liberty.

        You can have 24 Sprint races all Saturday (1 every hour). At each one the grid will be set by the previous one and at the end it will decide the grid for the next one.
        Then is the question going to be “ohh, do you think that sleeping or doing chores during the day is more thrilling than 24 Sprint races?”. NO!
        The questions you should ask are “why do we need ANY OF THIS? – What’s its purspose in an F1 weekend? – Is quantity is the same as quality?”

      4. @hohum I was more pointing out that at least this survey wasn’t a set of loaded questions that gave no alternative but to support the premise so it was very unlike previous ones I had completed.

        That being said, I gave sprints a chance, only to find that sprint weekends ruin my ability to watch qualifying (the proper one) and the sprint live because of the changes they made to timetables. I hate watching replays – call me strange but sport is designed to be watched live. So for me these weekends have added nothing and I’d prefer they drop them.

        Add to that the they continue to push the concept of reverse grid, even though it was given a form no and I don’t believe for a minute they’re not going to give us the worst of possible outcomes.

        1. @dbradock, Understood, my post was more of a supplement than a riposte to yours.
          To others;
          I’m sure the teams still work on setup in practice.
          I, and many others, don’t have the luxury of watching every, or any, sessions live so are not affected in that regard but understand that point for those who can.
          If the sprint is dull it must highlight F1’s problems and spur F1 into loosening design restrictions, especially as cost is no longer relevant.
          Dull races !? does it make a difference to the racing if the car that leads every race is orange, black or blue?

          1. Edit; last line ;should read “leads everyLAP not “race”

    2. @dbradock I don’t usually bother with these surveys as I found some of the early ones I did a bit too leading.

      I did however fill out this one & made sure they know exactly how much I don’t like this gimmick race format & how much I don’t want to see any gimmicks in F1 at all.

      The pinnace of the sport, The top of the ladder should be well above such things. Should be about as pure racing as possible. Leave the gimmicks & such to lesser categories. If some ‘fans’ want to see shorter races, reverse grids, flappy wings & comedy tires then watch one of the lower series & leave F1 alone.

      1. @roger-ayles I found that too in past surveys. It seems that the people designing these surveys must have at least gotten the feedback that their questions were way obvious as to what outcome was desired and have at least changed the style of the questions.

        Whether the results will be reported honestly or not of course remains an entirely separate question.

        And it seems, given the way in which “sprints” are being introduced/forced and not “trialled” we won’t have seen the last of this sort of gimmickry. I continue to hold the belief that in a couple of years, the majority of races will be sprints (1 Saturday, 2 Sunday) and the traditional F1 weekend will become a thing of distant memory.

        1. Coventry Climax
          19th September 2021, 15:08

          To me, the sensible thing is then, to NOT fill out this nonsense in the first place, because if you do, it’s like giving a voice to someone -e.g. a criminal, politician or such- that deserves no voice.
          I know it won’t make any difference, as it is clear they do exactly as they please anyway, but at least you know that it is a downright lie when they -once again- claim it is ‘what the fans want’.

  2. ….what qualifying will look like in the 2011-12 championship

    I’m curious about that too…..please keep us posted.

  3. Yas Marina doesn’t seem to be adding any banking. Is it because they want to keep the previous layout as an option?

    1. I can see a little bit of banking at the end of the video.

  4. I realise it’s hyped beyond all recognition, but Marko’s comments are disturbing. Hamilton got struck on the head by a car wheel, and all he complained about was a sore neck.

    1. Marko is the root of much of the bile that eminates from RB which Mercedes must react to.
      Those comments are appalling, everyone seems to agree that without the halo’s protection Hamilton would have been seriously injured at least.
      The man is vile.

      1. petebaldwin (@)
        16th September 2021, 9:29

        Yeah and without seatbelts, Verstappen would have likely died at Silverstone. Luckily we have these safety measures in F1 now.

    2. I have a long running issue with Red Bull’s attitude and this level of hypocrisy only adds to it.

    3. @sham

      Marko wasn’t complaining about how Lewis reacted, but how Mercedes reacted. If you can only attack Marko by making stuff up about what he said, that says more about how unreasonable this entire hype is.

    4. He had his head extended forward and some weight on it.
      The issue is that the driver is strapped in and have very little room to move so a load like that will put some strain no doubt on the spine anywhere from the neck to lumber region.
      How many times have we sprained ankles or knees only to discover the discomfort several minutes or hours later.
      Marko can have himself as a subject and redbull can recreate the scene so we know if it hurts or not.

      1. Zing! Poor Alex strapped in the sim while Marko drops cases of Bull on his head.

      2. Coventry Climax
        19th September 2021, 15:13

        I suggest you first try a 51G impact yourself, before writing down this nonsense.

    5. Red Bull should stick with trying to kill people with there fizzy pop…

  5. The Abbi Pulling news is highly distressing, considering that, at least in my mind, she is the best female driver after Jamie Chadwick in terms of potential. She should be picked up by one of the big junior teams.

    1. I agree. She’s been one of the brightest stars of WSeries this season.

      Since she wont be in F4, I hope she is able to take part in the last two WSeries races.

      1. THe good news is that W Series provides the budget themselves, you don’t need to bring any budget to compete, probably exactly for this reason, so she should be able to focus on that and show her skills to be picked up by a team for the future in other series too @major-dev, @ajayrious

        1. Coventry Climax
          19th September 2021, 15:16

          If she manages to indeed show her skills well enough to be really noticed, that’s all the more remarkable, because the pressure to do just that must now have gone up enormously.

  6. Glad to see they are looking at modifying the Formula E qualifying format as I think that is one of the worst qualifying formats i’ve ever seen. Not just in terms of the way the groups are organised which disadvantages the drivers towards the top of the championship but also the format itself.

    It just always feels a bit pointless to me to have the 4 5 minute segments when they can only do 1 lap at full power & therefore wait until the final minute meaning your spending most of qualifying watching cars sitting in the garage or on slow preparation laps. And then the top 6 shootout also falls a bit flat as there’s never really any tension or excitement to it for me.

    I’d just give them a 30 minute session to do as many laps as they can get in. Fastest on pole, Slowest at the back.

  7. I’m finding this constant dispute between RedBull and Mercedes very annoying now, Both crashes were minor moments with potentially grave circumstances but such rivalry and on track incidents are part and parcel of the sport and always have been, however the bickering between teams is a real turn off and risks alienating new fans who want to see the action on track and not having to full into either a Max or Lewis camp. The FIA should have a meeting with the 2 teams to explain what is required in the championship and not to bring the sport into disrepute.

    1. petebaldwin (@)
      16th September 2021, 14:56

      They do it in football – if you bring the sport into disrepute, you get a fine. It’s very much needed in F1 these days.

    2. @broke1984 Sadly I think the bickering between teams probably just adds to the clicks and ‘fan engagement’ on social media, so F1 are more likely to encourage this behaviour than clamp down on it. As long as the comments don’t pass a certain threshold for offensiveness at least which might force them to act to protect the sport’s image.

  8. Yes, sadly the “boo hiss” mentality of the pro wrestling and maga crowd is all too prevalent in life and social media.

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