Indianapolis 500 testing, 2022

Indianapolis 500 qualifying format and points system changed

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In the round-up: More points will be awarded for pole position for the Indianapolis 500 following a shake-up of the qualifying format.

In brief

Indianapolis 500 qualifying format gets shake-up

The pole position winner for the Indianapolis 500 will earn 12 points this year – worth almost one-quarter of a regular race win – up from nine last year.

The structure of the two-day qualifying format has also changed. On Saturday the positions of the cars which will start from 13th back to at least 30th place will be set. The back row of three cars will also be determined if there are no more than 33 entries in the field.

If more than 33 cars are entered, the last three places and any bumped drivers will be decided in Last Chance Qualifying on Sunday. Later on the second day the Top 12 Qualifying session will decide the third and fourth rows of the grid. Finally the Fast Six session will determine the pole-winner and the five drivers closest to them.

American driver would be ideal for F1 – Stroll

Lance Stroll said that, looking toward the Miami Grand Prix, he was “really looking forward to it and I think it’s great for the sport, is great for Formula 1 and the American market.

“It feels like Formula 1 is doing great right now, the business is really building. So it’s exciting.”

Stroll, who is Canadian, has not had a home race since 2019. He said that “I think to have an American driver, that’s ideal for the US to increase their interest in Formula 1,” however, he added that “Canada’s my home race and will always be.”

Brown bought first kart pawning winnings from Wheel of Fortune

McLaren CEO Zak Brown shed light on how he got started in motor racing in a talk he gave at the Oxford Union recently. Brown said he bought his first kart after speaking to Mario Andretti, using winnings from the teenage edition of game show Wheel of Fortune.

“We went back to the Long Beach Grand Prix in 1987 and got a chance to meet Mario Andretti, one of my heroes,” Brown said. “He’d won the race and I asked him, ‘how did you get started in racing?’ He said karting and there was an ad in the race programme.

“I had been on Wheel of Fortune Teen Week and won a bunch of ‘his and her’ watches, which I then went and sold at a pawn shop, bought my first go-kart, and that’s how I got started in racing.”

Despite his role as CEO, Brown said he regretted “not being fast enough in the race car” because “I’d much rather be in Lando [Norris] or Daniel [Ricciardo’s] suit, but I won’t fit in anymore.”

Andretti aim for race pace fix in Monaco

Andretti Formula E team principal Roger Griffiths said they have prioritised addressing their deterioration in performance on race days, when they tend to slip back following strong qualifying performances.

“The last couple of weeks have been very productive for the team in terms of understanding how the extremely fast pace of the car over a single lap in qualifying didn’t translate into a strong race result,” Griffths explained.

“While the race itself will be the ultimate test, there is a quiet confidence that if this new understanding is correct and combined with the strong qualifying potential of the car, this can offer a great opportunity for both drivers to deliver a good race result.”

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Comment of the day

As F1 teams back a move to press forward with six sprint events for next season, Robert says that the way to resolve confusion over naming of the pole winner may be to use reverse-championship order for the sprint race:

I believe that the sprint race can have a positive future in F1 but feel as if the format should be changed. I don’t like how quali and the main race is linked to the sprint race.

I would rather the quali decided the grid order for the main race and that’s it. I don’t know how to fit the grid order for the sprint race in. Maybe just make it the reverse order of the championship standings.

Happy birthday!

Happy birthday to El Gordo!

On this day in motorsport

Heinz-Harald Frentzen celebrated his first Formula 1 win today in 1997

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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17 comments on “Indianapolis 500 qualifying format and points system changed”

  1. If we must persist with Sprint races, can they at least let the drivers stand on the real podium, and not some upturned milk crates in the pitlane, where the drivers look embarrassed to be present and the paying crowd can’t see them?

    1. The Dolphins
      27th April 2022, 4:15

      I found it particularly interesting last weekend how the 2nd and 3rd place “milk crates” were reversed. Charles finished 2nd and should have been on Max’s right-hand side. Perhaps just another quirk of the Sprint?

      1. Another quirk was the two separate post-Sprint interviews – one by Davide Valsecchi then one by Naomi Schiff. Not sure what happened there, maybe Valsecchi’s for the circuit and Schiff’s for the TV broadcast?

  2. They should just put Indy 500 qualifying back to what it used to be.

    Pole day on Saturday & Bump day on Sunday.

    None of these top 9 shootouts ot last chance hour and the other stuff they keep trying to throw at it every few years. It’s just more confusing, Provides less interest & takes away all of the elements that used to make Indy qualifying so tense and thrilling on both pole & bump day.

    The fact they have had to constantly mess with the format since they initially changed it a decade or so ago should be proof enough that the more traditional format was better as it stood and worked for decades with very little change and no complaints. It just worked perfectly and should never have been changed.

    1. And they should also stop allowing them multiple attempts with the 2 lines and they having the option to have a risk free run by keeping there initial time.

      You go out and do a run, You complete the run and that time/car is locked in unless you get bumped. You wave the run off before taking the chequered flag you get another attempt but you can only do that twice. If you decide to have another go you have to withdraw your time/car and make the new attempt in the t-car.

      That used to create a ton of jeapody as there was more pressure to get it right the 1st time. Now they can just keep doing runs so theres less pressure and less jeapody which has taken away a lot of the tension and excitement.

      Plus the top 9 get another go in the shootout and they all get multiple runs anyway so its all been diluted down so much that its lost everything that made it so great to begin with.

      1. And we should all go back to life as it was in 1950.

        1. Obviously not.

          It’s just in this specific case the qualifying format as it was worked & was tense/exciting & that nothing they have tried since has worked anywhere near as well in that regard.

          The fact they have had to keep changing it every few years on top of the fact there is less interest in Indy qualifying now than there was is proof that the changes haven’t been as good or worked as well as what they started with.

          1. F1 changed their qualifying system multiple times too.
            They could have left it alone, but instead they tried to find something that was even more appealing. Eventually, they did.

            Indy is going through the same phase. They’ll eventually find something that strikes a satisfactory balance for viewers, competitors and stakeholders alike – and who knows, it may be substantially ‘better’ than what they had in the first place.
            But they’d never know if they never changed anything.

            Two things come to mind:
            You can’t make an omelette without breaking a few eggs. And,
            You can’t please everybody.

            On declining interest – motorsport globally is seeing declining interest, pretty much directly in line with declining interest in motoring.
            The best they can do is try to slow the decline as much as possible, by trying to be as interesting an engaging as possible.

        2. greasemonkey
          27th April 2022, 15:35

          No back to the 50’s for nostalgia’s sake, but sometimes sweet spots are found, sometimes by luck, sometimes by design, generations before now. The Marshall Superlead (Plexi); some dumb luck some design. Steering wheels. Wheels.

          Sometimes it is best to grill a good steak as it has been done forever. Our ancestors had the same genes (and intelligence) as we do.

          Indy 500 bump and pole day drama, wrt stories with humans doing human things, I think stuff like 1995 (where even Penske failed) is more compelling.

    2. They’re doing this as there is no bump day this year. They’re scrabbling around desperately trying to find a 33rd entry as the grid isn’t full yet. Everyone guaranteed to qualify.
      This is an attempt to drum up alternative excitement to cover the loss of bump day.

  3. Ah, Frentzen’s first win! As a lifelong fan of Williams and Damon Hill this was the most annoyed/conflicted I ever was after a Williams race win…I still don’t know how I feel about it to be honest.

    1. Do you know I don’t think I ever really forgave Williams for dropping Damon Hill. Especially once he was WDC. I thought it quite obvious that he was as good as or better than Frentzen. I thought then it was an act of treachery. I still do really and I have not ever seen Frank in the same light since.

  4. Maybe 2024, the planned season for the Andretti team entry.

    The Best Car Web post on RBR’s struggles this season is good.

    Qualifying could merely decide grid order for both Sprint & race simultaneously.
    Nothing wrong with this option.

  5. At least they’re not having an ‘Indy 100’ to determine the staring grid for the 500 …

    1. Would it really be so bad if they did?

  6. I sort of agree with COTD. I don’t like the sprint races really but if they have to stay (which seems is the case), then I would rather they were a standalone event that did not effect the main Sunday race at all.

    I would still award them some points that contribute to the WDC and WCC standings but not have them effect the starting grid of the main race.

    As @jerejj says above, a solution is that the qualifying session could set both grids. Or perhaps the top part of the grid for the sprint could be in reverse champ order, similar to F2.

    1. I meant reverse qualification order, not championship order!

Comments are closed.