Fernando Alonso, Renault, Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, Montreal, 2005

Bring back one-lap qualifying to stop drivers getting in each others’ way – Alonso

RaceFans Round-up

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In the round-up: Fernando Alonso says that the old one-shot qualifying system used between 2003 and 2005 was ‘good for drivers’

In brief

One-shot qualifying was ‘good for drivers’ unlike current system, says Alonso

Alonso says F1’s former one-lap qualifying system was ‘good for drivers’ compared to the current three-stage knockout system.

Alonso raced with the system between 2003 and 2005 where each driver was given one flying lap on a clear track to set a lap time and determine their grid position.

Asked if he felt restarting Q1 in Baku yesterday with two-and-a-half minutes remaining after a red flag made the end of the session too much of a lottery, Alonso said “yeah, it is a lottery.

“The old format that we all had a ‘Super Pole’ – one lap alone on track – maybe that was good for TV and it was good for us as well. At the moment there is too much interaction with other cars, with tows, with traffic, with yellow flags – and this is not the best.”

Stewards call for rules rethink after Haas investigation

Pit lane, Baku Street Circuit, 2022
Both Haas drivers were cleared over the Q1 incident
The FIA stewards have recommended a rethink of Formula 1’s regulations governing the pit lane exit after both Haas drivers were investigated, then cleared, over violations during qualifying.

Kevin Magnussen and Mick Schumacher were investigated for failing to leave the pits in the correct order. The pair merged into the queue of cars which was waiting at the exit when Q1 restarted with two-and-a-half minutes remaining. This potentially put them in breach of rules which require drivers to leave the pits in the order which they arrived at the exit.

However the stewards noted that because the Haas pit was adjacent to the exit, and the queue had formed before their drivers were sent from their garages, “it would have been extremely difficult, if not impossible, for the team to determine which order the cars should depart.”

This is not the first time such a confusion has arisen, the stewards noted, and requested the rule be reviewed. “The stewards recommend that this particular regulation be examined, as this case is almost identical to that involving Williams Racing in Mexico 2021, where no further action was taken.”

Boschung penalised for crash which delayed F1 qualifying

Ralph Boschung was given a three-place grid penalty for causing a crash at the end of Saturday’s Formula 2 sprint race. The stewards ruled he failed to leave enough room for Calan Williams on his outside at turn one, forcing him into a barrier, after which he was hit by other cars.

“The stewards determined that car 21 [Williams] was entitled to a minimum of a car width at the exit and as car 15 [Boschung] did not leave this space is judged to be wholly at fault for the incident.” Boschung was also given a penalty point on his licence, putting him on a total of four.

The repair work arising from the crash delayed the start of F1’s final practice session by 15 minutes, causing a corresponding delay to the later qualifying session.

Grid penalty for Herta

Colton Herta will be relegated six places on the grid for today’s IndyCar Grand Prix of Road America for an unapproved engine change. The Andretti driver will fall from fifth to 11th on the grid, promoting Patricio O’Ward, Romain Grosjean, Felix Rosenqvist, Scott McLaughlin, Scott Dixon and Simon Pagenaud.

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Comment of the day

With George Russell warning that F1 is risking a major accident due to how much new cars bounce over bumps, @robbie believes there is a lot for the teams to discover with the new technical regulations.

It’s early days and it is up to teams to figure this out. And as they do they’re still way better off than having clean air dependent cars. This change was badly needed and there is much development that will come yet. Once the teams that are struggling can adapt some of the ideas Ferrari and Red Bull got right from the get-go there will be a convergence of performance and much less porpoising. RBR has shown you can have an insignificant amount of it and be in championship level form.

But the difference to now and last year is that now all the teams can see what the others had on their drawing board back when this was all much more of an unknown between teams, and there was great surprise and delight at all the different iterations, the different takes each team had on interpreting the regs at pre-season time. Stability in the regs for next year should start to make the cars look more similar and have less and less porpoising.

Happy birthday!

Happy birthday to Zimkazimka and Deb Trom!

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Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...

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31 comments on “Bring back one-lap qualifying to stop drivers getting in each others’ way – Alonso”

  1. Boschung was racing, Calan’s move was unwise, crashes happen, why all the penalties? Track is unsafe because it fully adheres to fia grade 1 certification, right?

    1. I guess they were mad at having to delay f1 quali so they felt they had to give a punishment that hurt them equally. Disgusting behaviour from fia not surprised liberty want to turn f1 into DTS LIVE. They can both kiss my ring. I cant wait to see liberty’s vision implode right infront of their face.

    2. Boschung ran Williams against the wall. I don’t see how giving him a penalty for that is controversial, even if it wasn’t intentional. He had to leave room (even if there wasn’t a wall, although the stewards aren’t being very consistent), and he didn’t.

  2. He’s right though. One lap qualifying would improve everything and have zero negative consequences.

    It would mean everyone had a fair crack with no interruptions.

    Got to giggle at Fernandos beard and hair dye though, the guy has loads of grey like the majority of 40 year olds.

    1. We had one lap qualifying in the past and it was really dull to watch on TV and even more dull for those in the stands.

      It lacked the build up of tension and excitement we have now, The first half was less interesting as you knew those at the back weren’t fighting for the front spots and the last half was less exciting as you could see the order forming well before the final seconds so the end always lacked that growing tension we have with the current format (At the end of each segment).

      Not to mention how it was more unfair given things like track evolution with the last cars having the best of the track. And also changeable weather which could turn the session into a meaningless, irrelevant lottery.

      It was a nice idea on paper but when used in practice it was simply awful and hardly anybody liked it which is why it was a format that they tried tweaking several times before dropping after only 3 seasons.

      They tried it, it didn’t work and what we have now is miles better!

      1. The repetition of Q1, Q2 and Q3 is actually not that great.

        In MotoGP, Q1 has more value as it is based on practice times with those going through actually having a shot at pole.

        Formula E has a much better format this year, though they still can’t have all the cars on track at the same time.

        F1 needs a kind of a Super Pole at the end to out more emphasis on single lap supremacy, so wouldn’t really mind if only Q3 became a shootout as it would make things a lot more interesting than the dual runs they get now.

        1. They could tweak the current format by a handicap system in Q1, whereby those ahead in the championship get fewer runs than those in the back (maybe the first five getting just one run each, 6-10 two runs etc). Besides ensuring fewer cars on track, this could throw up some real surprises and a “non-fake” reverse(-ish) order if some of the top drivers screw up their only lap.

      2. Top 10 single lap qually. Changeable weather is a mute point as current format is affected by it.

        I don’t think drafting metagames or red flags randomly ruining runs makes for a format that’s “miles better” all for one overly excited moment of crofty shouting who’s behind by how many tenths without actually seeing anybodys laps.

        1. @skipgamer Changeable weather indeed is a valid point as everyone only had a single flying lap, so if rain hit, all runners past that point suffered & the other way round if the rain stopped later.
          The 2006-present format gives everyone as many chances as one pleases & they can do their laps whenever they want within a given run time, so no one particularly gets directly affected due to having a fixed running turn.

        2. Changeable weather is a mute point as current format is affected by it.

          How can that be a mute point?
          Now you can decide when to go for your lap, in a sequential single lap system you cannot!

    2. Noticed any botox yet like button?

    3. There are negative consequences though!
      First, and most crucial to Liberty, is the one-at-time qualifying format was long and relatively boring — each driver having an out lap, timed lap, and in lap…. although it was perfect for American-style broadcasting that crams in as many ad breaks as possible.
      The one lap format is also unfair to drivers for at least 2 reasons: first is the different track conditions at different times. Usually the track gets faster, but sometimes it might rain or be drying out which has an even bigger impact. Second is the ability to prepare the tires on the out lap. Some need 2 laps to get the tires in the right range.

      Jockeying for track position, made worse in cases when there’s red flag like today, is not even a significant flaw with the current qualifying format. It adds to the excitement.

      In conclusion, Alonso must really despise the sprint qualifying!

    4. Only little girls giggle. I mean seriously. Giggle?

    5. It was the worst format I’ve ever seen. Boring as hell. When raining it was pure luck where you’ll end up. Plus slower teams get even slower because of track evolution.

    6. No, he’s not. There is a rule actually – if Alonso says something, he’s wrong.

      Just like in Miami – he said he gave back the time back after he cut the chicane, and in the same time he has done purple in S3.

      Cynic, liar, cheater. That’s who he really is.

  3. Oh, yeah, Alonso? Then tell me why it got scraped? You Hyprocite!

    1. Alonso is proficient in referring to wet weather conditions.

    2. Because he was loosing to Kimi most of the times

  4. I enjoy watching them trip all over each other.

    1. Yes I haven’t got a problem with it. In terms of making for an exciting race the last thing you really want is the cars qualifying in order of fastest to slowest. What if the FIA just removed all the blocking rules and restrictions and just made it a complete free for all, allowing team play and blocking, I’m sure it would make for some mixed up grids.

  5. Or they could go back to just taking the fastest practice lap. Qualifying is really the only thing not broken, so maybe just leave it?

  6. Tiaki Porangi
    12th June 2022, 5:49

    100% agree with Alonso on that one! Supercars uses that for the Top 10 shootout and it’s fantastic.
    For F1 – give each driver in Q3 two laps: a warm-up lap and a final lap – to set their time for the grid.
    No tows, no slip streams, nothing.
    No one else on the track at that time, just the driver qualifying at a given time. Impose maximum time limits and have the drivers go out in a random order – just to mix things up a bit.
    The current format is too gimmick-rich: tows, slipstreaming, blocking, driving unnecessarily slowly, drivers moaning about this and that…makes for poor racing.

  7. No, the single-lap format had more cons than pros, mainly weather condition-related or their possible impact.

    COTD: Indeed.

    1. Do people realized that solving or rather reducing porposing means sealing the edge of the car with some kind of vortex or to create an outwash, in simpler word creating “dirty air”. I’m afraid that as team progress with that, the benefit of current cars might decrease.

  8. @willwood thanks a lot for linking my article. I am extremely grateful.

    1. RandomMallard
      12th June 2022, 14:10

      @f1frog It was really interesting! Your “Classic Championship” article was a fun read as well.

  9. I loved single lap qualifying. Some drivers chickened out and do a middling banker, and others went all out to go for either pole or last. This helped mix up the grid, making for a better race. It is harsh if there’s rain, but maybe they could switch to the old format whenever there’s rain forecast.

  10. I loved the one lap format. Really showed who could deal with the pressure. You also got to see every driver do their lap and really see the differences between driving style and how the cars were working.

    I’d favor a normal Q3 and then go to the one lap format for Q2 and Q1.

  11. When they initially started discussing using a single lap format for 2003 I was very much in favour of the idea as I like the prospect of been able to watch every lap.

    However after seeing it for a few weekends I found that in practice it was rather dull & just lacked that build-up of tension & excitement we got with the prior 1 hour format & which we have with what they have used since 2006.

  12. Bring back one-lap qualifying to stop drivers getting in each others’ way – Alonso

    Please, no!
    Traffic and flags are part of racing, deal with it. There is more tension in the current format than we had in the past – just look at the end of Q1 or Q3 yesterday.
    Qualifying is working as intended, don’t try to fix it.

  13. I get where the COTD is coming from but trading supposedly closer racing with potential injury is not a good trade. And the fact that either the models didn’t show this in the preseason, or if they did it still didn’t get addressed, is a massive failure of the models.

    In the future, when there are drastic rules changes, there needs to be some way to validate the models with real world testing prior to preseason test day 1.

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