Should Monaco qualifying be split? (Poll)

Drivers don't want to be stuck in traffic during qualifying

Drivers don't want to be stuck in traffic during qualifying

As predicted here two weeks ago some drivers have been complaining about the amount of traffic during qualifying sessions in F1.

Charlie Whiting has told the teams the session could be split so that not all the drivers go out at the same time – if they can agree on a solution.

Do you think qualifying at Monaco should be split?


Although it’s not clear exactly how it would work, splitting qualifying would mean having 12 instead of 24 cars on track at once, making it easier for each driver to do a lap without getting stuck in traffic.

Whether you consider that a good thing or not probably determines where you stand on this debate.


Last year 26 GP2 cars participated in a qualifying session of similar length at Monaco. Why should F1, with a higher standard of drivers, make life easier for its competitors than a junior category?

Timing a qualifying run and doing as quick a lap as possible despite traffic is an important part of a drivers’ skill – and all the drivers have to cope with the same problem.

This debate strikes at the heart of the problem of “improving the show” in F1. The teams want to be able to do clear, unimpeded laps because they want to be able to get the very best out of their car.

But seeing drivers cope with difficulties like traffic makes F1 exciting – just as we saw at Sepang when the Ferraris and McLarens made mistakes in qualifying and started at the back of the grid.

Anyone who supports the idea of splitting qualifying has lost sight of the fact that F1 isn’t just about who can build the fastest car – it’s also about who can make the best use of it over a race weekend.

They should leave Monaco qualifying alone. At present the drivers have a choice between going out early when the track won’t be as grippy but will be less busy, or going out later when the track offers more grip but, inevitably, more traffic. Whoever calls that decision best and sets the fastest time deserves to be on pole position.


Do you think qualifying should be split at Monaco? Cast your vote and have your say below:

Should qualifying be split in Monaco?

  • Yes (22%)
  • No (74%)
  • No opinion (4%)

Total Voters: 1,270

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Read more: Traffic a greater challenge in next races

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75 comments on Should Monaco qualifying be split? (Poll)

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  1. Ned Flanders said on 8th May 2010, 12:26

    Heart says definitely not!
    Head says it might be the sensible thing to do

  2. No. Finding the space to put in a clear lap and set a representative time is part of the challenge of qualifying. If the drivers are concerned about traffic, it simply means that they aren’t good enough at this crucial skill.

    The only way I can see it possibly being acceptable is if the session was split into two, with odd-numbered cars in one session and even-numbered cars in the second session. Dividing the field on performance alone would be grossly unfair.

    • steph said on 8th May 2010, 12:29

      I’m getting really bored of myself here but once again (for possibly the 100th time) I agree with you when it comes to F1 ! :P
      Although I don’t think there should be any split, not with odd or even at all.
      Besides, quali will be more all over the place if people get held up so it’ll be more interesting. They can’t split the race and will have to deal with it then so they may as well get used to it in quali too

      • Don’t worry Steph, we still have politics to disagree on. ;)

        The odd/even split is not something I would favour, but it would certainly be preferable to dividing the field due to performance or whatever. I still feel that negotiating traffic is part and parcel of qualifying – we don’t want to have to go back to that single-lap nonsense we were stuck with in the early 2000s.

    • MigueLP said on 8th May 2010, 17:05

      your talk reminds me about an certain bbc f1 commmetator find your own words and opinion

    • LewisC said on 11th May 2010, 15:30

      That’s actually a very interesting idea – the faster guys would still have to deal with the slower guys but with more space to do so.

  3. Jim N said on 8th May 2010, 12:26

    Keith, I agree 100% with your arguments against splitting qualifying. Summed it up nicely.

  4. Pete said on 8th May 2010, 12:29

    I’m 100% against it. What’s next? The FIA deciding when teams have to go on to wets if it rains just to make sure the big teams don’t get caught out… Actually, why do they just start in order of how many points they already have so the big teams will always be at the front. No? No.

    Stupid, stupid idea.

    It’d take a lot to put me off F1 and the FIA have tried really hard to make that happen so far without success but this may be one step too far for me.

    • Hey said on 8th May 2010, 18:21

      Although apparently all this has come from is a flippant comment from Bruno Senna. To be fair to F1.

  5. sw6569 said on 8th May 2010, 12:29

    The main problem with for is that the track gets quicker the whole time. It’ll be unfair for those in the later session.

    I would suggest a return to a one hour session for this weekend only – perhaps with all cars having to make a run once every 15 mins and allowing them 12-16 laps in total or something like that!

    I think the main problem nowadays is that F1 is so commercial that every point (which may as well = qualifying position in monaco) is worth so much money that its unfair for a top team to be blocked by a slower team. it may be great for the fans but its not so great for those trying to make money!

    • Matt said on 9th May 2010, 3:57

      If they were dead keen on doing something different I’d be happy with a return to a one hour session for Monaco. Don’t worry about making them run once every 15 mins – if they want to risk leaving to the end without one in the bank that’s their own problem

  6. BasCB said on 8th May 2010, 12:29

    If they had a field of 30+ cars, it might be worth considering splitting Q1 up in two “heats” but with 24 cars that is just back to a few years ago.
    Just concentrate on getting the perfect timing of the lap and your king. That is a very good thing to see in a driver, Vettel did it several times, Schumi used to know about it and Senna was expert, so no let them cope with traffic.

  7. George said on 8th May 2010, 12:35

    I voted no, but I feel for the guys in slower cars, one of them is bound to get blasted for not moving over.

  8. It’s surely just a component of Grand Prix racing? What I really don’t understand is why it’s the drivers in the slower cars making this argument. Trulli’s Lotus could find itself in Q2 if his immediate rivals hit traffic and he gets a clean lap.

    The drivers have just got to get on with it!

    • Jarred Walmsley said on 8th May 2010, 21:05

      I think it’s because they don’t want to be blasted by the faster drivers for not moving over like George said above.

  9. No. No. No. No!

    I have no idea why they are even talking about this. It’s racing GET ON WITH IT!

  10. Lee Sharp said on 8th May 2010, 12:39

    Definately not, all cars should have access to the track at the same time for the same period of time.

    We all know how quickly the track conditions can change and how much that can affect the cars performance. It needs to be a level playing field and the only way of doing that is by having all the cars in the same sessions.

  11. It will only matter in first part of the qualifying and they have 20 minutes to get the fast enough lap not to get stuck in slowest 7. What is next? Race will be split in 2 tiers because of the traffic?

  12. With this very tendentious text, it’s quite easy to predict the outcome of this poll. Not that it changes a thing, ’cause, if drivers are hardly listened to in F1, never mind the fans.
    But my opinion is pro, for Monaco, that is.
    The argument about GP2 is rather irrelevant, as GP2 cars are quite slower than F1 and a bit more equal, so their facing traffic is more up to the time you go to the track.
    Monaco is short and narrow. It’d be dangerous (safety first, innit?).
    Also, I think the idea of separating odd and even numbers would be great. One drivers per team each time. Then divide Q1 in 10 min + 10 min, and so on with Q2 and Q3.
    We’ll have to wait and see. xx

    • Jarred Walmsley said on 8th May 2010, 21:06

      Q3 does not need to be split as in total theres less cars on the grid then there would be in a Q1 split

  13. DASMAN said on 8th May 2010, 12:52

    No,no,no – if these are the qualy rules they want, then the FIA and temas have to live with the consequences….rules are rules.

  14. taurus said on 8th May 2010, 12:54

    Why dont they just get on with it and stop trying to over-sanitise everything?

  15. Karan said on 8th May 2010, 12:59

    I don’t think the problem is too many cars, the problem is the huge gap between the front-runners and the back-markers. The back-markers won’t even get a lap in, they’ll just be letting everyone through.

  16. samakafuzzy said on 8th May 2010, 13:34

    You cannot really compare GP2 cars and the differences between them in pace, compared to the differences between Red Bull and HRT in Formula 1. It’s much more dangerous if the car in front has rubbish downforce, on one of the tightest tracks in the world, and there’s another 22 cars out there as well! Personally, I think they should split it, 2 Q1 Sessions, 15 minutes long, slowest 8 overall go out, then 6 out in the Q2, and top 10 in Q3. I would split it by odd numbered cars in the team, so 1,3,5,7,9,11,15,17,19,21,23,25


    • samakafuzzy said on 8th May 2010, 13:37

      I only want this though as I want a new team in Q2 on merit, and the extra rubber in the second Q1 session may help launch them into it!

  17. No, no, no! What we need is to make qualifying LESS efficient, not more so.

  18. Sven said on 8th May 2010, 13:50

    Perhaps extending Q1 from 20 min to 30 – 40 min would somewhat reduce the problem with traffic. At least it would be fair to everyone.

  19. -A- said on 8th May 2010, 14:15

    I’m against special favours, i.e. a split qualifying for Monaco. There is a high probability that at least some drivers will, at some point, get stuck behind someone else on a fast lap, but those conditions are the same for everyone, and professionals at the highest levels of motor racing can be expected to deal with that.

  20. rampante said on 8th May 2010, 14:27

    The problem at Monaco is there is only space on the track for 1 car. Even the 3 new teams put in a quali lap and need to be looking forward and not behind them. In a race they get out of the way. Off line is only half a car wide on most of the track. The bottom six could go for it alone and let the rest get on with it. I don’t agree with splitting quali but when one of the top 8 drivers and more to the point “your guy or team” lose out the argument changes. A driver can get past someone in a race but to try and do it in quali when there is no track to pass on is to compromise your grid position.

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