Why F1 doesn’t need the 107% rule

CommentPosted on | Author Keith Collantine

The 107% rule would make life even harder for teams like HRT
The 107% rule would make life even harder for teams like HRT

FIA President Jean Todt has hinted strongly that the 107% rule could be revived in the near future.

Neither HRT car would have qualified for last week’s Bahrain Grand Prix had the rule been in place (see below). But why bring back a rule which would only serve to make life even harder for the sport’s most vulnerable teams?

The 107% rule, which prevented any driver who failed to qualify within 107% of the pole sitter’s time from starting the race, was dropped at the end of 2002.

Since Bahrain it’s been suggested that having cars that are more than 7% slower than the quickest runners on-track at the same time isn’t safe.

This is clearly not the case. The slowest qualifier for last year’s Le Mans 24 Hours was 29% slower than the pole sitter.

The Circuit de la Sarthe is narrower than most F1 circuits and they race at night – so I’m not buying any claim that F1 drivers can’t cope with lapping cars that are 7% slower than them.

The 107% rule is a bad rule. It harms the sport and it harms small teams like HRT for whom every minute of track running and every second of television exposure they can get is precious.

Throwing them out of a race weekend when they’ve already gone to the huge expense of flying to Bahrain or Malaysia only makes it even harder for them to compete in the future.

If the FIA really wants to stop cars that are too slow from competing then it should be done without forcing the teams to fly their cars halfway around the world first. They could hold a pre-season qualification test to make sure all the cars can lap within a certain time of each other – but with a cut-off closer to 29% than 7%.

A snobbish attitude to new teams which aren’t on the pace yet does F1 no favours. An important part of racing is having to share a track with other cars and finding ways to get around them. It’s an area where F1 is hardly excelling at the moment.

Having to deal with slower cars and lapped traffic is the down-side of being the race leader. In series like IndyCar, where backmarkers aren’t given the blue flag ordering them to get out of the leaders’ way, it helps keep the front runners within sight of each other, encouraging closer racing.

And isn’t that something we’d all like to see?

Bahrain Grand Prix Q1 with the 107% rule

Pos. # Driver Car Q1
1 5 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1’55.029
2 7 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1’55.313
3 8 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1’54.612
4 2 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1’55.341
5 4 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1’55.463
6 6 Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1’55.298
7 3 Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1’55.593
8 1 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1’55.715
9 11 Robert Kubica Renault 1’55.511
10 14 Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1’55.213
11 9 Rubens Barrichello Williams-Cosworth 1’55.969
12 15 Vitantonio Liuzzi Force India-Mercedes 1’55.628
13 10 Nico H???lkenberg Williams-Cosworth 1’56.375
14 22 Pedro de la Rosa Sauber-Ferrari 1’56.428
15 16 Sebastien Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’56.189
16 23 Kamui Kobyashi Sauber-Ferrari 1’56.541
17 12 Vitaly Petrov Renault 1’56.167
18 17 Jaime Alguersuari Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’57.071
19 24 Timo Glock Virgin-Cosworth 1’59.728
20 18 Jarno Trulli Lotus-Cosworth 1’59.852
21 19 Heikki Kovalainen Lotus-Cosworth 2’00.313
22 25 Lucas di Grassi Virgin-Cosworth 2’00.587
107% time 2’03.081
23 21 Bruno Senna HRT-Cosworth 2’03.240
24 20 Karun Chandhok HRT-Cosworth 2’04.904


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175 comments on “Why F1 doesn’t need the 107% rule”

  1. I have faith that HRT will be right on the backs of the Virgins and Lotii(?) within a few races anyway, they’re really not that far off already, considering they had 0 testing when Virgin and Lotus had 2-3 week’s worth.

    But yes, we don’t need the 107% rule, and I’m one for scapping blue flags and anything else that makes it easy for the drivers. They should quit moaning quite so much, and start racing.

    I never managed to hit anyone on the motorway who was travelling 30% slower than me, let alone 7%, and these Tilkedromes make 3-lane motorways look like narow country roads.

    1. The plural for Lotus is Lotuses :) I wouldn’t have bothered but you did put a question mark after so I’m guessing you wanted to know.

      1. James Hunt used to say Loti, so it must be right…Loti and ‘the Williams pair’.

      2. I use Lotuses and Williamses, but only when I can’t be bothered coming up with a sentence structure that avoids them :-)

    2. So you would be fine if your favourite driver crashed out of the lead while trying to race a car that should be lapped? or if they are trying to lap someone and someone else passes them for the lead? I don’t think you would, They need to keep the blue flags.

      1. Of course it would be fine if my favourite driver crashed out whilst being unable to overtake a backmarker. Same goes for my least favourite driver or any other driver.

        1. I’m sorry but I cant see the logic there, it is just plain stupid in my opinion.

          1. I think the logic is that it would be the same for everyone so it would be fair. And if you can’t overtake a car that is considerably slower than you then tough luck…

          2. Im sorry but if you get paid millions of dollars a year to go racing, I dont think you have the right to complain about a car thats 7% slower in a track thats a million miles wide. 7% means while vettel or whoever is going at 100 miles an hour another guy is going at 93….. hardly sound like a lot to me. Not only that but the FIA allowed these HRT and other people to come to F1 in there crap cars, they cant kick them out when they actually show up to races.

    3. The Dutch Bear
      20th March 2010, 10:31

      Clive James, who did a couple of the FIA season reviews in the eighties (filled with his dry and sarcarstic humor), used to say Lotae. Which I think, I have had some education in Latin, is right.

      1. “Lotus” isn’t a Latin word though; it’s from the Greek, lotos – which means the plural should be Lotoi!

      2. http://stason.org/TULARC/vehicles/lotus-cars/A13-What-is-the-plural-form-of-Lotus.html

        What is the plural form of “Lotus”?

        The preferred plural form is “Lotuses”.

        1. Ok, now that’s settled, what’s the correct collective noun for Lotoi or Lotuses? ;p

          A bouquet? A bunch? A blueflag?

          1. A bucket :)

  2. Fully agree. Crofty on the 5live commentry of practice one said that if the big boys (refering to the existing, and more specifically the top teams) are half as good as they think they are, then they’ll have no problems passing and overtaking the slower cars.

    All news teams have to start somewhere and beating them back down is doing the sport no favours. The teams have come in, found a budget of some sort in a time when the world is pretty much pennyless and have scope to stay in the sport for some period. Shouldn’t the top teams be praising that?

  3. You haven’t hit anyone going 30% slower or 7% slower. But which one is it easier and SAFER to overtake? imo HRT shouldn’t have been allowed to participate in Q at all yet alone the R, where Senna was 7seconds per lap slower than the leaders and that Indian bloke managed to crash on one of the widest tracks today. It’s just as awful as Alex Yoong managed in his best laps.

    1. But it’s like saying that because Fimblewoodchester FC aren’t allowed to play Manchester United in the 4th round of the FA cup, even though they got there on merit, because they’re more than 107 league places below Man U.

      Sure it would be easier and safer for Man U to recieve a bye into the next round, but thats just not the point.

      And the safety thing is just hot air. People don’t die in F1 cars nowadays. The cars are safe, the tracks are beyond safe, and have plenty of room for manouvering. A car travelling at 180 mph, with an incredibly experienced driver at the wheel, should have no problem passing a car that’s doing 167 mph, rookie at the helm or not.

      1. Robert McKay
        19th March 2010, 16:41

        “But it’s like saying that because Fimblewoodchester FC aren’t allowed to play Manchester United in the 4th round of the FA cup, even though they got there on merit, because they’re more than 107 league places below Man U.”

        But that argument rather breaks down if you ask whether on not the new teams actually got there on merit. They won a tender process.

        Perhaps an argument for a better “pyramid” system of motorsport, rather than the franchise system?

        I don’t necessarily disagree with you, I’m just pointing that aspect out.

        1. I admit that the idea of reaching F1 on merit is a grey area, I thought that as soon as I hit the ‘submit comment’ button.

          But they are there, and they were chosen from a group of what’s believed to be 15 or so candidate teams by the FIA… so the only reason Hispania are in F1, albeit by the skin of their pearly white Iberian teeth, is due to the FIA’s merits.

          The FIA runs the thing, the FIA chose them and 3 others over anyone else, therefore the FIA say it’s fine for them to be there.

      2. People don’t die in F1 cars nowadays.

        Tell that to Massa’s wife – he couldn’t have got much closer.
        Tell it to Henry Surtees’ family. Not an F1 car but a formula car built to the same safety standards I believe.
        Racing is dangerous.

        But FWIW I totally agree with Keith’s point – I’ve been to Le Mans and the closing speeds between the fastest cars and the slowest are insane: but the drivers deal with it.

        If you’re trying to find the best driver in the world, being able to overtake slower cars quickly and decisively is surely something they should be capable of?

        1. Jarred Walmsley
          19th March 2010, 18:54

          Well those things were not relating to the speed or crashing which I think is the point he was trying to make. The cars are very safe and under normal circumstances people do not die in them, the Massa and Surtees accidents were both freak accidents that could not have been avoided

          1. We want turbos
            19th March 2010, 21:08

            Exactly!!! Look at kubica at Montreal 180 mph into a wall n walked away and to be fair it was the most reliable car of last year that caused massa’s accident.

          2. Exactly exactly. Obviously Henry Surtees accident was incredibly tragic, and Massa has lived to tell the tale of his, but both were effectively freak and rather nasty blows to the head, which could happen anywhere. Neither were directly related to a violent racing accident or anything to do with the car, like the last 2 men to die at the wheel of a Formula One car were. It’s been 16 seasons now since a driver’s death in F1, the biggest gap ever, and hopefully it’ll carry on forever, but there have been many many major crashes during those last 16 years which drivers have walked away from. Kubica’s accident in Canada instantly springs to mind, as well as, was it Luciano Berti in Spa in 2001/2002? That was major, he was able to hobble away. Even Martin Brundle’s crash in Melbourne in 1996 looked very, very nasty, the car folded in 2 and disintegrated, he jogged back to his spare car.

            Yes motorsport is dangerous, and quite frankly, it wouldn’t be half as amazing to watch if it wasn’t. I just feel that everything in F1 is so, so safe now, that they could probably start to let the lead back out a bit with regards to cornering speeds, track design (remove all those ‘Senna S’s that hastily got shoved in 15 years ago) and just the general racecraft.

            Give these guys a chance, if in 10 race’s time, they’re still 10 seconds off the pace, then yet, questions should be asked, but don’t pull the rug out from under their feet before they’ve even had the chance to get their balance.

      3. These guys aren’t there on merit… they have yet to show that.
        MU players shouldn’t be injured by bitter loser(y) teams just because either.

    2. “You haven’t hit anyone going 30% slower or 7% slower. But which one is it easier and SAFER to overtake?”
      Someone going 30% slower than you, surely? As you get past them quicker and you have a larger choice of overtaking points for that reason?!

      1. Totally agree.

        I think it’s also worth pointing out a comment made by Chandhock on the BBC coverage of Qualifying.

        He said that they would be trying to stay out of the way of the front teams because they didn’t want to ruin anyone’s race.

        Now surely as long as the slower drivers are aware that there are going to be faster cars coming up behind them, and the faster drivers are aware to keep an eye out for the slower cars, then these drivers (who are supposed to be the best in the world) can cope with the speed difference…

        1. And the teams now have the use of sophisticated GPS tracking of the cars.

          The teams at the back know exactly when one of the front-runners is approaching.

      2. Utter rubbish – it’s much safer to be lapping backmarkers that are relatively close to the pace.

        Tailenders who are 30% slower than the leader may be easier to pass but are much more of a danger. You have to lap them much more often during the race, increasing the risk, and the speed differential is much much higher – you can be on top of them before you or they realise it. Is it safer to drive on the motorway at 30mph surrounded by cars going perhaps three times the speed? Of course not.

        This is why the challenge of multi-class endurance races like Le Mans is so great. Race-bred Peugeots and Audis are competing alongside virtually road-spec Ferrari GT cars. The difference in both straightline and cornering speed is huge. The likes of HRT, Lotus and Virgin lose time round the corners because they have less downforce, not so much down the straights.

  4. Robert McKay
    19th March 2010, 16:24

    The 107% rule is useless from a safety point of view as they have to trundle round for three full practice session and a qualifying session before you chuck them out, just as you have finally stuck them to the back out of the way for the race.

    From a standards point of view, though, I think at some point you have to arbitrarily say “this team is not fast enough to be racing at the pinnacle of the sport”. For example, 10 seconds plus is too big a gap and makes the sport look a bit daft.

    Haivng said all that, I have no problem with the Lotuses and the Virgin’s pace, which I think is entirely respectable given how quickly those teams came together. And the HRT’s weren’t so far off the other new teams, given they were essentially doing a shakedown.

    My issue more was with the HRT’s having so little track time before going into quali, Chandhok especially, He coped admirably with it, but I’m not sure it’s a precedent we want to be setting.

    Anyway HRT have got over their most difficult weekend, and can begin to hopefully start competing as opposed to just participating.

    1. I agree Robert, personally I dont mind either way about the 107% rule (I dont think it will be needed after a few races anyway), but F1 cars running at GP2 pace is pretty embarrassing for the sport.

      I disagree about blue flags being removed as well, we already have enough trouble in qualifying with blocking ruining people’s races, can you imagine what would happen if a leader got cut up by a backmarker and was run off the track/damaged his car?

  5. Well, I’m against the 107% rule, but the new teams should rise fast in terms of speed. Otherwise it really makes no sense to be there.

    1. I think it is early to say mandatory 107% rule because they weren’t as far off as I expected and seemed to get out of the way just fine.
      As far as the absolutely defenseless opinion that there should be no blue flags, maybe these people need to watch a few other racing leagues. Lapper’s have to get out of the way; it is unfair to punish leaders by being a freaking roadblock and safety hazard. Whats next would be my question, why not let a few camel roam around the track at Bahrain or maybe a herd of cattle play a role in determining the victor at Silverstone?

      That’s a bad opinion and unqualified to say the very least. I’ve heard dirty jokes in better taste. This is the supposed to be the pinnacle of sports and I am of the opinion that one of the things that separates F1 from Nascar is that the drivers have class, know how to speak in an interview and get the hell out of a fight they aren’t in. These naysayers of the blue flag probably have their friends jump people in the street they can’t beat themselves. Weakness. Weakness.

      1. The banning of blue flags is something really weird. There are some basic principles of auto racing, they should respect them.

      2. If there’s a fight between two cars, it should be a fight for the higher position. That’s all.

  6. im all for the 107% rule.

    i say if cars are too slow theres no point being in the sport because its not like your gonna win anything anyway. is all the HRT’s do is slow up the track and the race.

    1. So where do you draw the line? 20%? 10%? 5%? Because 7% is completely arbitrary.

      1. Keith, everything is arbitrary. What isn’t arbitrary is what a panel votes on. Regardless of the actual number, teams, the FIA and drivers all agree on what is an acceptable number and that is all that can be said to be on par and fair. If one were to say that 5% is too little and 10% too great, then a good compromise is 7-8%. Period.

        1. Not everything is arbitrary – Keith’s point (as I understood it) was that there is no evidence base that clearly points towards 7% being right and everything else being wrong.

          1. Tim, every rule is arbitrary. The existence of the planet is arbitrary. As stated above, as you missed it, the best we can do is agree on a number. I’m not saying 7% is the number – it doesn’t matter – what I am saying is that if there is to be a number it has to be an agreed upon number. If one person said that the cut-off is 6.849% then I’d say that sure, that’s pretty “arbitrary” and since one person came up with it, we have no reason to accept it. However, I am sure someone on here with too much time has figured out why it was 107% in the first place. My guess is a combination of data and a voting panel… This is a fair way to come up with a rule (regardless of the number).
            Next you will tell me the number of laps

  7. theRoswellite
    19th March 2010, 16:34

    Exactly, these new teams need help not an arbitrary limit imposed just before the race. It is the FIA that is limiting their testing time. I would suggest trying to assist them in improving their performance by allowing them unlimited testing time for a given period…say, half the season.

    1. Good idea. Agree.

    2. Makes sense. In fact I’d say the whole first season.

    3. I agree this sounds like a nice idea, but it enters a bit of a grey area and feels a bit like you’re coddling the new teams.

      I think there’s something to be said about having to pay your dues. Someone made a comment in another post listing the first race results of many other previous now-established teams. Everyone was placed on the same footing before and had to deal with the same rules the big boys did. Giving the new teams more testing time is saying “these rules apply to some, but not all.” What happens if a new team gets off to a great start and are right up there? Unlikely, I know, but look at Brawn last year. What constitutes a “rookie” team? Giving an advantage to a team just because it’s new would be a double standard. If you’re going to play, you play by the same rules as everybody else.

      That said I am NOT in favor of the 107% rule. I am not surprised by the new teams being slow, but I do not think they should be excluded for it. Let them pay their dues and hopefully someday they’ll be one of the regulars.

      1. This has budget cap written all over it.
        Everyone or noone should be allowed to test IMHO.

        The bigger teams have vast sums of money to spend that the smaller teams simply don’t have. So even if testing is brought back, the bigger teams have a bigger margin to test more parts than the smaller teams ever could have.

        The budget cap, if it ever gets enforced, should only apply to the racing car. Let teams spend what the like on motorhomes or wages or any kind of perks they like. The fact is all the perks in the world won’t make the car go faster.

        Bring back in season testing, bring in a budget cap of a reasonable level, then we’ll see whats what.

        Also, as I’ve said before, do away with the silly Q3 rules, allow refuelling if the team wishes, get shut of the two compound per race rule.

        Sorry if this sounds as if I blurted all this out in a hurry, but I did.

        Go HRT!!!!!!

        1. I wasn’t saying I was for or against in season testing, simply making some arguments against the idea of “new” teams being allowed to test while others arent. If you’re going to ban in season testing, do it for everyone equally.

          1. Allowing the new teams to test in season, would be just another new way to punish the best. As we see with the rule about the top ten qaulifiers tyres this season. You dont make the worst better by punishing the best.
            What I would like is that when new teams applicate for participation in F1, they should have at least some experience with runnig a racing team. For me it seems ridicoulus that Prodrive didnt get a spot this season. I mean, if the mechanics in HRT cant even tightened a wheelbolt properly, then why let these people in to such a great sport.

          2. Yes, because non of the established teams has even sent their car out on track without the wheel on correctly or with the fuel hose still attached have they.

            I’d also point out that HRT was Campos who do have considerable experience of running a racing team…just not an F1 team.

    4. I am absolutely for extra testing for new teams. I hope that next years team/teams get some extra time. It is my understanding that the new teams weren’t even sure that they would have a team till late last year and then had to build a car with less time than the Ferrari’s and Mclarens of the world. What? Yeah, give the new teams a few extra weekends of testing before imposing rules.

      1. I feel the new teams should not have been let in so late in the day. There should have been a definite 3 month cutoff prior to the start of the season by which all participants should have been registered ( no exceptions) thereby ensuring that every team gets the mandatory testing done before the start of the season.

        1. nothing against the slower teams. It is good to have more cars on track but just need to ensure that they have sufficient test time.

  8. Agree with Keith.
    They spend a lot, with the testing limitation they aren’t able to develop other way than during race weekends, and some would also keep them off the race???
    I add that in the past some of the most difficult drivings for the leaders was when they had to overlap someone else. It’s been part of Senna or Schumacher talent to be strong and resolute in overlapping, why now cut this part off???

  9. I agree completely.

    If it’s not safe then cars shouldn’t be on track during practice sessions and qualifying. It doesn’t make sense to exclude them from only the race.

  10. Bring back the %107 rule and lets go back to 9 teams? That’s the spirit. We should take a look back at the racing we all think we remember. One or two cars race out half a lap in front and we all start yawning. Back more than 20 years ago the only thing that mixed up the results were heavy mechanical non finishes which gave the odd backmarker and chance to slip into the points.

    1. I’m against the 107% rule but it wouldn’t take us back to 9 teams – Virgin and Lotus were both well within it at Bahrain. Only HRT was outside it at 108%.

  11. I don’t see any need for the reintroduction of the 107% rule either. If there is any danger in situations like this it will be due to the drivers more than the car, and the FIA can always revoke the drivers super licence like they did with Ide a few seasons ago if it becomes apparent they are a problem.

  12. Crid [CridComment at gmail]
    19th March 2010, 17:12

    Brilliant blog post. Blue flags are madness. Why do people prattle about “overtaking” when there are rules to make it unnecessary?

    There’s a lot of be said for a sport where the Michael Shumachers and Lewis Hamiltons are compelled to show a little humility to Karun Chandook around the paddock.

  13. I disagree on this for once.

    If F1 teams cannot field a car that is within a certain range (107% or otherwise), then we might as well have a B-class race and be done with it.

    Last season Force-India after starting the season at the back, nearly ended up winning Spa – I cannot see that happening with HRT for example and there lies the problem.

    The problem lies with the FIA letting underprepared teams into F1 in the first place. All this talk of 26 car grid is missing the point, because why not just fill the back of the grid with GP2 cars in that case?

    I understand you need revenue by running in races in order to fund development, but there has to be a limit otherwise F1 becomes devalued and will no longer be the ‘peak of motorsport.’

    1. Mark Hitchcock
      19th March 2010, 18:04

      “Last season Force-India after starting the season at the back, nearly ended up winning Spa – I cannot see that happening with HRT for example and there lies the problem.”

      That’s one of the reasons why the slower teams shouldn’t just be dismissed. Yes it’s extremely unlikely HRT will come close to winning a race this year, but they may well be on pace with the back of the pack in a few races time. And then in a couple of seasons they’ll be in the points and eventually fighting for wins.

      I don’t think having slow teams devalues the sport. If anything it puts into perspective how good the front-running teams are.

      1. “I don’t think having slow teams devalues the sport. If anything it puts into perspective how good the front-running teams are.”

        was about to make a similar point myself

  14. I agree with not having the 107% rule and scrapping the blue flag.

    We would get far better and more exciting racing if the leaders got bunched up behind a backmarker…. then we would see who was the real racer who could overtake and we would be treated to real racing action.

    BTW havinga a 107% while at the same time preventing teams from testing combines to make F1 an elite closed shop.

    1. absolutely agree with scrapping blue flags – they remove a great element of racing.

  15. if you get rid of all the slow cars you would end up with 8 or 10,and you would still have a back marker if you only had 2 cars 1 would be a back marker,the sport needs slow cars we all love losers

  16. Having a 107% rule would be another attempt at making F1 elitist to the extreme (I do agree F1 should be the pinnacle of motor racing though) and it would further sanitize the sport. I say make a ferrari driver pass a HRT, Virgin or lotus car if he is that good he doesn’t need the FIA to make racing easy for him, and he is no more deserving to race then them.
    Once again its a case of the FIA protecting the big teams with the big brand bucks and the ‘racing heritage’!
    BTW Im a Red Bull fan and yeah seeing a start up team grow to being a front runner is what F1 is all about!

  17. Blue flags are needed.

    Imagine if they weren’t. Imagine if a new team is struggling towards the end of the season, and a team competing in the title offered to give them money (say £50,000 for purpose of example) if they purposely blocked their rivals cars.

    Is that fair? We need blue flags to stay, we don’t need slower cars interfering in the race at the front in my view.

    1. That is what good rules and stewarding are about. I am sure, somebody would find out and get the FIA to look into that.
      It does happen even with the blue flags, i.e. sauber running with the ferrari engine.

    2. I think that would fall under the “unsportsmanlike conduct” behaviour rule.

      1. Yeah, thats what Formula 1 series needs, more re-examining of past events to make “arbitrary” judgements. This would remove the racing elements that removing the blue flag proposes to increase. Oh yeah, Schumacher won his first race in over three years, but wait, there was a backmarker that blocked Vettel and now he is given the win (two days later).
        Besides, The series could use a little less scandal and a little more sizzle.

        1. I see absolutely no connection between what you’ve just said and my comment.

  18. I am against the 107% rule. It would only hurt teams who were chosen by the FIA to compete.
    Not only is the rule arbitrary, but the safety aspect is nonsense.
    As stated by Robert McKay and argued by James Allen before, in all training sessions we have cars running with over 10% speed difference, with some cars even doing test starts (there is even an added point of new, untested parts being used).

    I think it would really be good to make entry of new teams based on
    1. rules being set from the start of the year before racing
    2. have the applicants which really make sense test their cars in a test session in january, having the slowest 1-2 teams from the year before there as well and let them show what speed they have. The best 1-3 or those that make a certain time limit could be in to join the grid.
    3. Let them test in the time before this session to get their cars reliable and working.

  19. I do like the idea of dropping blue flags as well. I read Heikki Kovalainen mentioned it to his boss as an improvement idea as well.

  20. John Edwards
    19th March 2010, 18:25

    Totally agree that the 107% rule should not be reintroduced.

    These days there isn’t any testing so how can teams ever improve should they be off the pace.

    Stupid rule, the sooner they forget about it the better.

    24 cars on the grid is better than 22.

    Besides HRT will be well under the 107% time by mid season.

  21. Last place teams should be able to test all year long.
    Of course their own budgets would limit the amount of testing time.
    This would allow the new and slower teams to develop more quickly to be competitive.
    You can then award test days to the teams who struggle to develop. A mid field team would have less test days and a top 4 team would have none. That’s the price for being the best.
    I don’t agree with the 107% rule. They paid to be there like everyone else.
    Just my two cents.

    1. sounds reasonable

  22. With the testing ban, it will be extremely difficult for a struggling team to ever catch up to the rest of the pack, and so they will be doomed to spend their entire season outside the 107% at every race. This would be damaging to teams such as HRT.

    Having said that, I still believe F1 should be the pinnacle of motorsport, therefore teams which are so slow shouldn’t be there in the first place as they are barely any faster than GP2 cars. I know teams have to start somewhere, but look at Virgin and Lotus, they are doing a good job.

    1. I’m sure the leading cars on their very first day out testing were much slower and sorted their way through the winter to be where they are today. HRT is exactly at the beginning of that cycle. FIA ensuring that every team tests before racing is more important than thinking of enforcing the 107% rule. We wouldnt be having this discussions if the proper process were followed.

  23. I really find it difficult to understand those defending the 107% deal and bashing HRT. If Bruno Senna had been .159 secs quicker (which is a very narrow margin!!!) he would have made the cut and nobody would have been able to say he was too slow. This makes the whole aqrgument seem rather futile.
    On the other hand if HRT -or any other of the shoestring teams- turns out to be consistently slow they might end up weeding themselves out of the field: if time goes by and their performances don’t improve they’ll probably find it ever tougher to find sposorship and pay-drivers willing to commit to a flop.

  24. With this rule wouldn’t it have meant that Fisichella would not have qualified for the Brazilian GP last year? He only managed a 1:40.703, whereas Barrichello ran a 1:24.100 on pole. That would have meant a Ferrari, albeit a very slow one, sitting the race out. That wouldn’t be good for the sport would it?

    Or does this rule not apply when it rains during quali?

    1. well said….. one bad choice of tires for a good team would also run them the risk of being excluded if the 107% rule was in place. I think 107% enforcement is not really the way to go.

  25. I don’t know what the 107% stands for per circuit or even per corner. So, maybe the actual speed difference at spots where this is dangerous should draw the line.

    I”m not sure, but I can imagine that a difference in a high speed corner like suzuka 130R of less then 7% can be more dangerous then in a slow corner.

    That is, IF you really want to draw a line.
    For me it is no issue, since we have only two cars over the limit in their first actual test. Even if the rule is reintroduced, HRT will be within the limit in a few races.

    And the NO-blue flags is a good idea indeed!

  26. I don’t understand why people want to drop the blue flag. It will just ruin some peoples race. Its not like the backmarkers were actually competing with the leaders, so why make them a moving obstacle? I can already see some end of season races with drivers purposely going slow to hold up title contenders ( 1997 Jerez?)

  27. have there been a regulatory change this year? In previous years a driver was not allowed into Qualification if he didn’t turn laps in FP on second day. Case in point Timo Glock and Toyota in Japan last year.
    “The team applied for permission for Kamui Kobayashi, who completed both Friday practice sessions, to race.

    But stewards said the rules require a driver to take part in at least one practice session on the second day of the event, the Saturday, if he is to race. ”

    So with that in mind since Karun didn’t turn a single wheel he shouldn’t been allowed to participate in the Qualification at all? Why was he allowed to?
    if there been a written rule change then ok. But this seems once again to be a unconsistent stewards decision that is highly questionable.

    1. This was mentioned during the BBC commentary and yes, apparently there has been a rule change after the Glock incident last year.

  28. latley there has been a big emphasis on trying to get 26 cars on the grid for the GP, but we have 24 at the moment, if the 107% rule is back then we might end up with 22 or 20 cars and we will be right back where we started, sounds like alot of money wasted.

    with no inseason testing, and possibly no race time how do you expect hispania, to ever gain pace?

    in all honesty (weather the FIA is doing it intentionally or not) it sounds like the FIA is making it easier for teams that dont need help and harder for those who actually need it.

  29. The reintroduction of the 107% rule can only be a good thing for the sport. I know that many of you on this site think that cars should be allowed to turn up at the first race of the season without even i lap of testing but I have to saw how wrong it is. Yet again the talk is of cost and the cheapest easiest entry into F1. Can we ever remind ourselves what this sport actually represents? The idea of letting cars drive outside a set limit only proves that they have no chance of anything. If you don’t make the grade you don’t race. This sport which I have followed every way I can is going to the dogs and nearly as fast as some of the teams that are now there. It is not because Ferrari and Mclaren have been there for 35 and 60 years it’s about being competitive and developing into an F1 team and having achieved nothing just because you made the pit lane. Let them test, develop and improve and when you are in the 107% you can race. The issue of not flagging backmarkers only continues to weaken the sport. Why not introduce stray big game animals or foam baths on the track to add to the sport?? It was always for the best of the best, let’s keep it that way.

    1. Remember Toyota? Came into F1 in the most expensive way, spent vast amounts of every year, and now…?

      If a small team is too slow, then it’s because it’s a small team. Where is the actual damage to the sport? People weren’t saying the Premier League was going to the dogs when Derby County barely won a game in a whole season; they recognised the team was poor and the negative publicity was confined to the team, not the league. And this is a sport where, as many smaller clubs have shown in the past two seasons, you can do well without massive budgets. This, in a sport where spending is even more extravagant than F1.

    2. I know that many of you on this site think that cars should be allowed to turn up at the first race of the season without even i lap of testing but I have to saw how wrong it is.

      I don’t think they should either but surely we can agree that letting them turn up and kicking them out again is an even worse waste of time and money?

      It was always for the best of the best, let’s keep it that way.

      No it wasn’t – a glance at some of the grids of the fifties, sixties, seventies, eighties and early nineties shows that. It was only in the mid-90s when Max Mosley and Bernie Ecclestone became preoccupied with reducing the number of entrants that that changed.

      1. I have to say that I too get fed up with this precious attitude which somehow believes that letting new teams into F1 will ‘devalue’ the sport. What rubbish. Ferrari et al feeling that way I can understand because it’s in their interest to safeguard their ‘brand’, and to have less competition, less pesky backmarkers. But really, did jokers like Andrea Moda cheapen F1? Did anybody seriously think, way back when, “Oh my God, any sport than allows those clowns at Forti to compete is not fit for my precious time and investment?” Of course not! These teams were sideshows to what was going on at the front. At worst, they baulked the leaders a few times during races. At best, they created some wonderful, priceless folklore for F1 die-hards, as well as opportunity for endless ‘if only…’ type speculation. Sometimes the well-versed motions of the top teams can get a little too slick, and some of the ‘human’ element can disappear (although of course in reality this element does exist in every team, even if it is hidden behind the corporate talk and practiced motions).

        With reference to 2010, all of the new teams are built on solid technical foundations which means that, even now, in their first races, none of them constitute or will become safety hazards. HRT has Dallara bulding their cars. Virgin has Nick Wirth on the case while Lotus has Mike Gascoyne and half the old Toyota team. In other words, none of these cars are being knocked up in a shed at the bottom of some deranged entrepreneur’s garden. Considering the restricted running and limited resources at their disposal, they’ve all shown great pace and have done more than enough to prove they deserve their place in F1. Give them a chance. Everybody – team, driver, business – has to start somewhere. You can’t expect to come out of the womb and simply get up and walk. The growing process is often messy and unpleasant but necessary.

        I think it was Bernie E who said: “First you’ve got to get there, then you’ve got to get rich, and then you can get honest.”

        1. The rich are never honest.

  30. I think the lack of blue flags in the US is more important because they bring the safety car out for pretty much anything. More so in Nascar then IRL. In turn however this means staying on the lead lap is very important as if you can stay infront of the leader once that inevitable safety car comes out you are the best part of a lap up on where you were before (compared to the leader). this means drivers will fight tooth and nail to stay on the lead lap and back markers will fight it out with the leaders as they try to lap them. While yes it makes good viewing… its that one step too far that makes the race a bit Jerry Springer (read fake).

    1. Not to sound with any disrespect, but so you ever wonder why they do this?

      Nascar and the IRL usually are on shorter tracks, with the majority being 1.5 miles. They are also caring a much higher average speed. In F1 marshalls can clear up a wreak and move the cars before the others come by again. In Nascar/IRL the cars will go bye twice or three times at full speed.

      Again, the majority of the tracks in Nascar and IRL are banked Ovals, which mean the cars will self clear down the track. I can’t say this for the IRL except for the Indy 500, but in Nascar the field size is just about doubled, meaning cars are continuously circling the track at full speed. With the more cars, this means accidents have a higher chance of involving more than 1 car making clean up longer.

      As for road courses, Both Nascar and the IRL have sectional yellows instead of full course cautions depending on the severity or lack of the incident.

      1. …and to be fair, they get the safety car out in F1 these days for the most puiffling of incidents…

      2. There was no jibe meant towards either Nascar or IRL in my statement, for the most part bringing out the safety car is absolutely the right thing to do.

        Though anyone that things Nascar don’t manufacture reasons to bring out the safety car is kidding themselves, the old “competition caution” always makes me blush.

    2. Plus they only turn left, have closed frames designed for impact and still have rules as to what is allowed when blocking.

      1. “still have rules as to what is allowed when blocking.”

        Rules for blocking? The only rule Nascar has that is remotely relevant to blocking is driving on the apron on superspeedways. The apron is obviously not the racing surface.

        And if you want to start a safety argument Nascar isn’t the one to start with. There hasn’t been a death in F1 since ’94. There have been three since 2000 in Nascar.

  31. The 107% rule should not exclude the slower teams but should be used to allow extra testing days to help them up to speed. A much better solution IMO.

    1. That is a great idea in my book – as long as nobody goes intentionally slow to get free testing time!

      1. Which will of course happen, the teams aren’t stupid, they will do what they can to get more testing time.

      2. Well, we thought no one would crash intentionally to bring out a safety car!

        1. Yeah well, We didnt think someone would crash into another car intentionally to win a championship either and looked what happened.

  32. I agree with Keith. On the subject of safety, and in particular closing speeds; I thought I would do the math.

    When I ran through the figures for Bahrain Q1, Vettel’s quickest lap works out at an average speed of 122mph, whilst the 107% cutoff, which Senna just missed, averages 114mph; a closing speed of a little under 4 metres per second.

    If 4m/s is a safety risk, then McLaren’s rear wing for this season ought to be banned on safety grounds, as this is allegedly the kind of advantage it gives them, and as for KERS last year (and technically this year); cognitive dissonance anyone?

    1. Very good point Andy

    2. I’m not sure that’s a fair analysis of the problem as that includes average speed and not closing speed, but all the same fair play Andy C.

      1. Yeh, it’s not completely representative, but I think average closing speed is a reasonable approximation in the absence of instantaneous closing speeds for every part of the track.

        1. I have to agree, I think as a high level analysis its fair to assume the speed difference applies pretty evenly across all parts of the circuit. Lack of down force will make them slower on the corners but lack of aerodynamic performance will make them slower in a line too… average it out and I suspect your calculations are probably closer to the truth than you will get credit for.

  33. The 1907% rule doesn’t need to come back, and like the talk about brining in two mandatory pitstops, is just a knee-jerk reaction to what happened in Bahrain.

    There is no in-season testing allowed, save for special circumstances (bringing in a new guy). Practice and the race are all these teams have to improve their cars. So why prevent a team which needs to get up to speed from getting the needed mileage?

    I’#m sure HRT will soon be within the 107% anyway and the whole thing will be forgotten.

    As for blue flags, I do think they should go, but then what happens at Monaco? Remember Coulthard complaining he was being held up by an Arrows so they could get more TV time from having a McLaren stuck behind them? And this was racing for position as well, which went against Coulthard’s argument. What if it was a car being lapped? Could there be blue flags for some tracks and not the others? Maybe dress it up as a safety rule, so that at the tight circuits a lapped car becomes a hazard and must move over?

    1. 1907% Even USF1 could manage that with one of their company trucks!

    2. Here’s a thought: if we got rid of the blue flag rule would teams be less inclined to run their cars so marginal on cooling that they can’t follow another car closely – like we saw with Ferrari at Bahrain?

      1. I think they’d actually continue to run it marginally, gambling that the extra performance advantage would get them up at the front. Maybe there needs to be standardisation of a minimum size, as right now it’s hurting following and overtaking?

  34. I think they should consider a weaker 107% rule as a window one [maybe over 5 set of races], on failing this they [F1] can consider asking[and ensuring] the team to get more resources or help to alleviate their speed / reliability issues [rather than telling them not to race]. Innovation can come at the back of the field as much as in the front.

    Compete, but not squeeze out the smaller guys. It is important that sports be looked in the open spirit that it all started with, Let be clear about one thing ! We want racing between good teams with different approaches to the same problem [drivers, CFD, more more] … and hopefully develop better technology which reaches the cars, roads, defence, and a lot of other things

  35. No 107% rule.

    Yes to Blue flags.


    1. 100% agree with you

    2. Basically those are fine the way they are.

  36. I don’t think the 107% rule would be fair with the current 3-part qualifying. The slowest seven are finished long before the pole time is set, and maybe they’ve chosen not to do a final run, for any number of reasons. Track conditions may be faster by the top-ten session, say if it had rained before qualifying and washed all the rubber away.

    Even if we’d had the 107% rule in Bahrain, I suspect Hispania could have appealed (if they’d had the energy left to do so) and been let back in the race.

    I’d love to see the blue flags relaxed and the art of lapping put to the test again. Maybe the blue flags could be applied more strictly at street circuits (Prost, Hill and the other new stewards could help define the limits) – I remember good battles at Monaco being ruined and broken up by some backmarker wombling round on his own. As Vettel pointed out, it wasn’t a problem at Bahrain, where drivers can see futher ahead than Monaco or Singapore.

    1. Even if we’d had the 107% rule in Bahrain, I suspect Hispania could have appealed (if they’d had the energy left to do so) and been let back in the race.

      Given how strictly the rule was enforced last time – at dry events at least – I doubt it.

    2. Good point Tom and Vettel, I would tend to agree certain tracks have a much more dire need for safety. Australia at dusk gets pretty bad visibly and could create really bad situations. As far as Monaco goes, for sure there is a visibility problem, but they are going so much slower at that track that I don’t think it would ever come to a life-threatening end so I’m gonna have to say no 1XX% rule there- ever. Besides, there’s no place for them to pull over to except the pool.

  37. The 107% rule served a purpose. It was installed to get rid of the teams who simply couldn;t and would never be able to compete.

    In this case F1 (or FIA) practially begged these new teams to come in. They didn’t have to put up a deposit, were promised monetary incentives and were promised help from the bigger teams. It would be rather daft to make it impossible for them to get up to speed.

    If HRT is still not up to speed mid season then I’m all for getting rid of them, but they do deserve a chance.

    In the end the cars shoul be within the 107% time if it’s in the rules or not. Otherwise it will indeed look bad for F1. What’s the point of having cars doing GP2 times in a F1 race? Let them move to GP2 then.

    1. It was installed to get rid of the teams who simply couldn’t and would never be able to compete.

      Either that or it was a self-fulfilling prophesy which send potentially viable teams to an early demise.

  38. Going too slow is dangerous, that’s why people get pulled over at the sides of motorways for doing less than 50mph.

    1. Motor racing *IS* inherently dangerous – the comparison is spurious.

      And as many others have pointed out, HRT were within a whisker of the 107% rule despite not testing! It’s not like we’re talking about The Lola’s from 1995…

  39. I am opposed to this rule. The more, the better.
    People gotta make a living

  40. Sponsorship is hard enough for even the more established teams to find at the moment. Bringing back the 107% would make this nearly impossible for the new teams to find if there was a chance they may not even race. If the 107% rule is brought back in and without the promise of a budget cap, I seriously doubt many applicants for the new entry process for next season.

  41. Absoulutly right Keith. The 107% rule was stupid and ruined some teams.

  42. Perhaps if they do put the 107% rule into effect next year they’ll also be smart enough to make some type of testing exception for the teams that don’t make the 107%.
    Maybe allow them unlimited testing until the next race
    or something along those lines? This way all the established teams are ‘safe’ on track during the race, and
    you haven’t totally squashed any of the little guys.

    1. Personally, I’m beginning to think that the whole testing ban is a BAD idea.

      I’m all for reducing costs, but testing is important and I bet the teams spend more on on crazily-priced ‘nuts and bolts’ and their computer simulations than they would if they went to the track to test.

      1. I like what USF1 had included in their deal with the FIA… that they would be able to go out on there own track. I think each team should be close enough to a track to do private testing. This way the cars won’t fall apart like Bruno’s did and they could save money as well on travel. There should be at least a mandatory 1 trip to the planned test sessions however as testing on your own track is never gonna be the same as testing on a hot tacky track where side by side analysis can be done.
        Give these teams a chance to be safe and cost effective at the same time, but require them to show up before the first race!

  43. “The slowest qualifier for last year’s Le Mans 24 Hours was 29% slower than the pole sitter.” I believe the gap that so wide it is caused by varying classes on Le Mans. Take a look at qualifying result per classes on Le Mans, there we can see how competitive actually their racing.

    1. Yes, but Keith’s point was that you have cars with vast speed differences sharing the same track without it being considered a safety issue…

  44. I don’t think we’ll see a comeback of the 107 % rule this season, as allegedly they would need unanimous agreement from the teams to change the rules. As long as every of the driver in the slower cars shows they’re familiar with the practice of letting by the leaders as per the blue flag rule, I don’t see a problem with cars finishing two or three laps down at the end of the race.

    Reintroducing 107 % on the short term would seem like a knee-jerk change to me. First of all, it would not do the new teams any good if they were denied the opportunity to keep developing their car on the race track. Because there are no tests during the season, each Grand Prix distance is a valuable part of every team’s program. Also, I’m not at all expecting the new teams to be this far behind all season. I think it’s quite reasonable they’ll be able to put development to their cars so that they will catch up a second or two over time, because a pretty basic car, arguably, presents the most opportunity for improving in a relatively short amount of time, just by adding more sophisticated and more effective parts.

  45. I also disagree with the 107% rule. It brings nothing to the sport. We (Fans, FIA and more established teams) should support the new teams. In the current economic climate, raising the funds for a new F1 team is no easy task. Just look at the USF1 fiasco. In fact I think the new teams should be allowed to unlimited testing (or as much testing as they can afford) during their first season in F1. That would allow them to get their car up to speed quicker and develop their infrastructure.

    1. Yes i agree the new teams need a leg-up from the whole of F1 during there first season especially regarding testing.

      I seem to remember in the mid noughties teams outside the top 4 had certain testing advantages during GP’s why shouldnt those teams outside the top 10 ie new teams have certain benefits for joining the sport during these difficult times., especially when you consider only one will receive prize money under the concorde agreement!

  46. This whole discussion is ridiculous. HRT will be within 107% by the time we get to Malaysia, if not already in Melbourne. And the rule really won’t be helping anyone since the biggest speed differences occur in free practice.

  47. With no 107% in effect yet, the situation will reveal itself pretty quickly over the next couple of races. If HRT turn out to be nothing more than traffic hazzards (especially if they are held responsible for contributing to a race outcome by the top teams) then we can expect to see it being implemented. HRT should get some time to develop the car, but by say by Monaco they haven’t showed the ability to keep up, then we need to look at the 107% rule.

    On the other hand, wouldn’t this mean that any team that, say, had mechanical problems with one or both of their cars that they wouldn’t be allowed to race? Even if a Ferrari, Red Bull, Renault, etc. started from the back, they could still feasibly climb their way up to 10th at least to get valuable points.

  48. Your article is as fine as ever, Keith. Your point is spot on. But I disagree: if a team isn´t fast enough it shouldn´t compete. True, that will kill new teams, but if they aren´t fast enough, they shouldn´t be in F1 to start with.

    1. We can’t let teams build cars and come to races, which is the first time we can find out if they’re “fast enough”, and then tell them they have to go home because they’re not, just on the point of principle, dark horses, or a few fans complaining it somehow degrades the sport. It’s a miracle HRT attended at all, now we should be saying they can’t race?

      The original 107% rule was brought in when you could test during the season, when there was no excuse not to be up to speed. HRT didn’t exactly plan for their finances to go awry and have no chances other than at race weekends to improve their cars. So we should be saying that teams can spend all that money and hire all those people, only to then guarantee them their failure?

      1. We see if they are “fast enough” in qualy through the 107 rule! They aren´t within the 107, then they are not “fast enough” and don´t race! End of story. You have your opinion, I have mine.

        1. Except 107% is completely arbitrary…

          1. Ok. There you have a point! I´d stay with that number: 1) because it was already used in F1, so it´s kinda historical and 2) it´s quite tough, so as I said, leaves only the “fast enough” teams in the race.
            But you are right: the number is really arbitrary…

  49. Great article Keith, I also agree with you. Am I right in saying all the drivers now have a lights system on-board and they are aware if a faster car is aproaching from behind, plus all the new teams are aware of the penaltys involved so they will be on the radio to tell their drivers to let the leaders pass. the 107% rule is too harsh on the new teams as you pointed out. All I say is give um a chance to come up to speed and welcome to F1.

  50. José Baudaier
    20th March 2010, 3:29

    This 107% rule is really stupid. If the FIA wants the cars get better it should open test dates for the cars below the 107%. This way the teams would be able to do an actual proper test (which HRT wasn’t able to do so before) instead of having to wait weeks for a “race test”.

    1. I really like your idea: all cars beyond the 107% don´t get to race, but should get (let´s say) one more hour of practice on friday. That should balance things out…

  51. Rum and Coke
    20th March 2010, 6:51

    Of course the 107% rule is needed!!!! Its lunacy to suggest there is no place for it!! Purely on the grounds of safety is enough reason to reinstate it, and should be done so as soon as!! You cannot have drivers pedalling around at the back 9 seconds off the pace as we saw in Baaaahrain!! Makes F1 look like a 2 tier series watching cars being lapped time and time again! I know I dont want to see my favourite driver plough up someones chuffer !!! #:)

  52. If we have 40 cars desperately going for 26 positions, then we don’t need an arbitrary speed cutoff. Surely there are enough teams in the world who can build and run Formula 1 cars within 1% of the leader. Formula 1 just needs to let all of them play and sort themselves out the natural way.

  53. Personally I don’t think it helped either HRT driver that they were on a new track layout that they weren’t familiar with, so as well as learning the car they were learning a large section of the circuit.

    Once we get to tracks that Senna and Chandhok have raced on before then I think their laptimes will dramatically improve as they’ll be focussing more on the car than learning the track.

    I do also agree with everyone saying that all the new teams will quickly close up the gap to the back of the existing teams.

    After all it’s often been said that it’s a lot easier to find those few seconds to get you close to the pack, than the tenths and hundreds that get you from the back to the front.

    I’m against the 107% rule, I’m for getting rid of blue flags, but I do think that the FiA should stipulate that whoever gets the 13th grid slot for next year MUST attend at least 1 pre-season testing session.

  54. Great article Keith, couldn’t agree more…

  55. ExplosiveFace
    20th March 2010, 11:21

    FIA: Okay, new team time.
    HRT: Yay, we made it!
    FIA: Oh, you’re 10 seconds off the fastest time? Sorry, but there’s this new rule. You’re out.

  56. Formula 1 indeed doesn’t need a 107%-rule. It wouldn’t fit the current qualifying format either, because of the post-qualifying parc fermé.

  57. It is more of an attempt by F1 honchos to make the race even more boring.They have a lot of practice in this subject. Lets not upset the apple cart by having one of the top notch prima-donnas, having to deal with a slow paced car in his quest for glory. Why make him have to pass anyone, by God, he qualified 1st so he has a 98% chance to win the race anyways. There are no passes in F1 for the first 8 cars. This is a Sunday drive in the park.

  58. Why make F1 so easy for the top drivers? It’s supposed to be a challenge.

    If Alonso/Button/Schumacher/whoever have a problem in Q1 and set a lap 20 seconds off the pace, there would be outcry of ‘oh they would have qualified, let them in the race’. but if Senna/Chandhok/Di Grassi make a small error on their lap and set a time 2/10ths outside 107% they’re kept out of the race.

    More to the point, whats the difference between 107% and 106.9%?

    Stupid rule.

  59. Bring back the 107% rule, but allow anyone with a car that meets technical specifications to participate.

    No guaranteed grid positions, no restricted entry process. Limit 2 cars per team.

    Top 26 within 107% in Q1 get to race. Qualifying is much more interesting when someone has to go home.

  60. Accidental Mick
    20th March 2010, 15:34

    I am repeating myself from a previous chain but I feel strongly on this.

    Keith is right. This is racing! That means that a faster car/horse/push-bike/runner has to overtake a slower one. If you find that difficult, stick to simulators.

    We need blue flags because drivers cannot see anything in those stupid little mirrors.

    1. “We need blue flags because drivers cannot see anything in those stupid little mirrors.”

      Why do we need another thing when the other thing is the problem?

  61. Well Le Mans 24 hours race cars do have different aerodynamics and that makes it easier to pass. Besides, don’t F1 cars go a LOT faster? I do think it’s a stupid rule but it does have some validity. A team like HRT that didn’t get their act together before the season started harms the sport’s image. Their first weekend was a total joke. There is some validity in getting new teams to prove themselves before starting the season IMO. What way to do that is debatable and I think Keith’s idea of pre-season qualifying is good too. That does raise a few questions as to when etc.

    But the main reason I’m against the 107% rule is that the FIA is just TOO LATE! I mean, I’m not an expert on F1. But if I was the head of the FIA and I saw 3 new teams, all with restricted budgets and all with that new Cosworth Engine, I’d think about it a little longer than 3.5 seconds. You KNOW the’re bound to be slow and probably unreliable, so you KNOW you should take measures BEFORE the season starts. It doesn’t take a professor to see that. This should be a wake up call to the FIA to start thinking about their decisions instead of just doing whatever springs to mind.

  62. William Wilgus
    20th March 2010, 18:20

    I can think of at least one track where the 107% makes sense: Monaco.

  63. In the 70s there were entries for one race only.
    Sometiimes this lead to a grid of 30+ cars. So severe accidents happened due to the big grid or the slower cars then. There is no reason why anyone that builds an F1 car, is ready to enter in all races should be banned from actually racing.

    1. No severe accidents happened!

  64. The problems with these new teams is not just the lack of pace, but the lack of testing and preperation they have been allowed to do over the winter. HRT are a classic example, the car only being launched a few weeks before the Bahrain event. The first time their car saw action being in Bruno Senna’s hands in Thursday practice, a driver who has spent a year on the sidelines with no prior F1 experience of note.
    When we think of the now absent Toyota and Honda teams who, despite all their billions of dollars worth of investment in F1, achieved so little, it really puts things in perspective.
    Personally, I think the ban on testing was a mistake. If anything it costs more money than it saves, stiffles the development of new drivers coming up through the ranks, and denies fans the opportunity to see the cars in action. Let people see these cars enmasse, whether the tests are conducted in Spain or England, and split the proceeds between the teams taking part. Offer an incentive!
    If we are not carefull, we will be left with a grid with only four or five teams, giving the FIA no choice but the deploy the three car rule. New teams have to be encouraged.
    If it were up to me, the eight engine per season rule would be scrapped. Give the drivers hard tyres only and manual gearboxes.

  65. If they re-introduce the 107% rule and keep the testing ban any new team that comes into F1 are doomed. End of argument.

    My proposal is that if teams fail to meet the 107% rule in quali, they should be allowed more testing time between races to help get them back up to speed.

  66. I’m not going to read any comments right now, but I agree with this article entirely.
    F1 has changed completely from a few years ago. It is even more difficult for a new team to enter F1, despite the absence of the $50M bond, than it was in the late 20th century.
    Even teams that have spend hundreds of millions in recent years still get it woefully wrong, what then do you expect from a team without even the basic infrastructure.

    Indeed we want serious and `competent teams, but it cant happen over night.

  67. Spot on Keith, no 107% rule should be allowed. If there were an excess number of teams competing for limited places, you could justify a pre-qualifying round or qualifying within 107%.

    These were hand picked teams adjudged by the FIA to be competent race teams. Let them run until they develop the skills and or sponsorship to get competitive. After all, it is a learning process. And what the hell, back markers getting lapped may be the only passing we see this year.

  68. Chris Snell
    22nd March 2010, 1:50

    Maybe the blue flag should be taken back to its origins – a warning of a faster car approaching from behind – not a mandatory ‘Get out of the way or be punished’ rule.

  69. I just caught a couple of minutes of the Bahrain GP… the part when Ferraris overtook Vettel. And it felt really boring and drab to me. “It must have been me missing a lot of the race or checking it at the wrong time”, I thought… But as it seems now the race was exceptionally boring and everybody thinks so!

  70. I am not in favour of the rule. It’s counter productive and self defeating. Many of the top teams were once at the bottom of the grid and life would have been all the harder with the addition of this rule. Give the lads at the end of the grid a break. They already have lots to deal with not to mention wildly differing budgets and resources…

    1. I wonder what Ferrari would have had to say about this 107% rule if Luca Badoer or Giancarlo Fisichella had fallen foul of it last year… hmmm… me thinks they would have been singing from a very different hymn sheet… just a thought…

      1. you got hat right :)

        1. sorry meant to say ‘that’

  71. if someone could flesh out a bit just what notifications drivers receive of cars approaching from the rear/cars up ahead, it would help me to understand the safety element of the 107/blue flag disputes – given the knowledgeable folks on her, I’ll just say thanks in advance! :)

    1. I don’t think that you need a 107% rule, as long as you have a blue flag rule. Backmarkers can make for a very interesting race. A faster car getting around a slower car is good to see, but a slower car holding up a race leader would be a nightmare. I’m sure even the Lotus could find a way to hold up a Ferrari if a Lotus wanted to.

      Considering the problems of passing any car in F1 I think that the blue flag rule is fine as it is. If the aerodynamics of the cars were changed to allow passing then you could consider revising the blue flag law.

  72. Daniel Meyer
    23rd June 2010, 19:15

    Quote: “This is clearly not the case. The slowest qualifier for last year’s Le Mans 24 Hours was 29% slower than the pole sitter.” Does the author understand Le Mans? The circuit is massive and there are 4 different classes also it isn’t about raw pace, but strategy and reliability. Think before you write, don’t compare endurance and F1…

    Quote: ” They could hold a pre-season qualification test to make sure all the cars can lap within a certain time of each other – but with a cut-off closer to 29% than 7%.” Oh yes just make them fly to testing at all the circuits for the season before it starts??? That makes no sense. Certain cars can be substantially slower or faster at different circuits, just look at Ferrari at Istanbul. You would have to test at all tracks to make that workable and what if they don’t make it at pre-season? Then they can’t participate at events and develop their cars throughout the practice sessions? The entire concept is frivolous.They get TV coverage in practice and qualifying so let them have their time but don’t let them ruin a good race.

    7% is a huge margin too. Let’s say the average track is 80 seconds at top qualifying pace for Q1. That means a slow team could be 5.6 seconds off the pace. Thats a huge margin by modern F1 standards. It’s not going to play out weaker teams all that much, only remove slow cars when they are going to be a nuisance.

    To those of you who say the back-loggers are good, I beg to differ. Have any of you gone karting? You should know the frustration of being stuck behind a slow driver with little grip who blocks the racing line, makes contact or any one of a hundred things that slow you down and allow your competitors to catch up with you. It doesn’t add dynamic, it removes the principles of fighting from behind, opening up the gap etc etc. It just makes racing difficult. What about when two rivals are battling it out, go in for a pit-stop but are separated on the exit by a slow car. It widens the gap and removes the fun of an epic battle. Decently fast cars don’t allow to large a gap to form and the battle that takes between them is good to watch.

    Come now, we need this rule! It was removed in the first place because Michael Schumacher was so blisteringly quick and there was such a huge discrepancy in times. That has come down and now we need the rule to stop this discrepancy in times occurring again. It drives development and speed!

    1. Does the author understand Le Mans? The circuit is massive and there are 4 different classes also it isn’t about raw pace, but strategy and reliability. Think before you write, don’t compare endurance and F1…

      I used the Le Mans example to debunk the ‘safety’ argument for the 107% rule, not to pretend endurance racing and Grand Prix racing are alike. The comparison is entirely valid for that purpose.

      Oh yes just make them fly to testing at all the circuits for the season before it starts?

      I didn’t say anything like that. The teams already congregate at the same circuits for pre-season testing (with the rare exception of HRT this year) so some kind of evaluation could easily be introduced there.

      It just makes racing difficult.

      Which is a good thing in a world championship where we’re trying to find out who the best drivers are. Drivers getting caught behind backmarkers gave us some of the most exciting and pivotal moments of the last race.

      It was removed in the first place because Michael Schumacher was so blisteringly quick

      No it wasn’t. It was removed because qualifying with race fuel loads was introduced in 2003.

  73. rlatchana (@)
    26th March 2011, 14:11

    I suggest a different rule… lapped cars should leave the track!

  74. The 107% Rule.
    It worked in round One. HRT was Out, cause they are not good enough.
    This weekend in Malaysia we saw how weak that 107 rule really is.
    The teams view Q1 like practice. Fastest time was a 1:36 in Q1 and the slowest a 1:42. It’s worth saying here that Vettel was 10th in Q1.
    In Q3 Vettel got Pole and had a time of 1:34.
    The 107% rule should apply to the Pole time. Not the time guys are making it around in Q1, testing their set ups. The good team it seems view Q1 like More Practice.
    107% of the best qualifying time, Period. That should be the knock out standard. The 107 rule is feeble otherwise.
    We watch F1 to see the best drivers, the best teams, the best machinery and the ultimate in racing. Delivering the audience anything less makes a fan’s heart look elsewhere.

  75. Couldent agree less!

      1. I will answer properly later when less asleep :)

      2. Ok :)

        I think having a car 129% off the pace would be dangerous, we have seen accidents already that prove that. I really dont think using endurance racing is a good comparison to F1 corner speed manly, plus the cars are very different.

        A snobbish attitude to new teams which aren’t on the pace yet does F1 no favours. An important part of racing is having to share a track with other cars and finding ways to get around them. It’s an area where F1 is hardly excelling at the moment.

        Having to deal with slower cars and lapped traffic is the down-side of being the race leader. In series like IndyCar, where backmarkers aren’t given the blue flag ordering them to get out of the leaders’ way, it helps keep the front runners within sight of each other, encouraging closer racing.

        This is probably a little out of date, the new teams have been more or less accepted, and I think the amount the back marks effect the races is just about right. Not having blue flags is a whole other argument. The rule has been around for a long time (apart from a gap) with good reason.

        Above all though, whats your problem with the rule, considering HRT and Virgin are within rule? If they are within it now, going backwards isnt an option. If its on there radar, they should not be in F1. Thats my opinion. This is the pinnacle of Motorsport, the top top class. If a driver went only a fast as he needed to and not push 100% he would have no future, so why accept this attitude with teams?

        Anything below what they are doing in terms of performance or ambition is too low, therefore wanting to drop the rule to 110% is a joke. HRT do fill a role, the driver over the hill who has already had too many chances, and the pay driver (which thankfully now deserves to be in F1). Having the rule forces teams to at least try and go faster.

        As for the pre-season test idea, teams are slower/faster at different tracks so….it would not work.

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