‘Fuel burn’ qualifying laps get dropped

2008 F1 seasonPosted on | Author Keith Collantine

Felipe Massa, Ferrari, Istanbul, 2007 | Ferrari MediaGood news – there will be no boring hiatus at the start of part three of qualifying in 2008. The FIA has finally gotten around to banning the ‘fuel burn’ phase (as many people had expected).

I was hoping they would do this by getting rid of ‘race fuel’ qualifying altogether. Race fuel qualifying was introduced in 2003 in the hope that it would mix the grids up more but it had clearly failed.

Unfortunately race fuel qualifying – for the top ten drivers at least – will remain.

The revised sporting regulations has changed the duration of the three parts of qualifying from 15 minutes for each part to 20, 15 and 10 minutes respectively for parts one, two and three.

Any cars that participate in the third part of qualifying will have to set their fuel loads at the beginning of that part and will not be allowed to add further fuel until after the race has started.

Mark Webber, Red Bull-Renault, Melbourne, qualifying parc ferme, 2007Although race fuel qualifying remains, banning ‘fuel burn’ is clearly the right way to go – but why has it taken the FIA two years to get around to it? They made a minor tweak to the system in 2006 to reduce the amount of time spent burning fuel but this proper fix is at least 12 months overdue.

Here are the relevant bits of the new rules:

29) Refuelling

b) Fuel may not be added to nor removed from any car eligible to take part in Q3 between the start of
Q3 and the start of the race, unless any eligible car was unable to take part in which case c) below
will apply.

[…]

33) Qualifying practice

33.1 The qualifying practice session will take place on the day before the race from 14.00 to 15.00.
The session will be run as follows :

a) From 14.00 to 14.15 (Q1) all cars will be permitted on the track and at the end of this period the slowest five cars will be prohibited from taking any further part in the session. Lap times achieved by the fifteen remaining cars will then be deleted.

b) From 14.22 to 14.37 (Q2) the fifteen remaining cars will be permitted on the track and at the end of this period the slowest five cars will be prohibited from taking any further part in the session. Lap times achieved by the ten remaining cars will then be deleted.

c) From 14.45 to 15.00 (Q3) the ten remaining cars will be permitted on the track.

The above procedure is based upon a Championship entry of 20 cars. If 22 are entered six cars will be excluded after Q1 and Q2 and, if 24 are entered, six cars will be excluded after Q1 and Q2 leaving 12 cars eligible for Q3.

Photos copyright: Ferrari S.p.A. | Red Bull / GEPA

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