Should Monaco qualifying be split? (Poll)

Posted on | Author Keith Collantine

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

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

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  1. Absolutely no split. Deal with it!

    May as well go back to the ridiculous 1 car at a time format otherwise…

  2. It’s time for the new teams to show their colours. Are they professional enough? Are they welcome? Or are they simply Formula 1b?

    Sure they’re slower, but it’s not all about speed, lets see how the new teams do in a packed session. Maybe it will be some of the front runners who muck up.

    Also, Q1 will be the first test of what lap 1 will be like, it’s better for safety to run them all in qualifying.

  3. I vaguely seem to remember the pace of the Super Aguris being a similar concern when we approached their first Monaco Grand Prix, in 2006, as they were a long way off the pace of the front-running cars at that time. As it happened the only major traffic problem occurred when some lunatic parked his car on the track.

  4. Clearly the answer to this pole is “No”.

    As many have said, the main problem is that the track changes and in general gets quicker as function of the number of tyres that effectively hit it. So provided that the weather conditions stay the same, the first group of 12 will always be disadvantaged.

    The qualifying should not be split. But what could be done instead is to force all the cars out at start of each qualifying session. This may help improve the track conditions sooner and reduce the chance of everyone rushing out in the last minute.

    Otherwise, nothing else can be done.

  5. No, definitely shouldn’t split qualifying. But, if Vettel gets held up and knocked out then I will be ranting about it, lol.

  6. What a bunch of wowsers. The drivers who complained should be given their own separate qualifying session. They would all start the race behind the ones who didn’t moan. Before the session, the crowd would be issued with rotten fruit to throw at them.

    1. The one who asked for the split qualifying was Bruno Senna, it was not one of the fancied drivers.

  7. I don’t want tem to but if they did,

    Round 1 has the odd number cars,
    Round 2 is made up from even number cars.

    Top 6 from each go to elite quali for a top 12 shootout
    Bottom 6 from each go to lesser quali to figure out back of grid.

  8. MouseNightshirt
    8th May 2010, 16:23

    No – what happens if it rains in the second of the two sessions?

  9. I voted yes. Reasoning being that this is an unusual year with at least six slow cars. These slow cars if on their attempt at a fast lap have no reason at all to pull over if caught by one of the faster drivers and there are very few passing places.

    If one of the fastest cars is behind one of the slowest cars there will probably need to be an 8 second gap between them so that they do not meet. Not going to happen.

    I would not expect a split qualifying session next year.

  10. My understanding of the split, would be that a number of the top drivers would be given byes into quali 2.

    If the number of top drivers were to be six. Then 18 cars would take part in quali 1, with the usual 7 to drop out. And then the eleven remaining would be joined by the top six and quali 2 and quali 1 would continue as normal.

  11. I’m sticking by what I’ve been saying since this issue came up. Extend the first session and possibly the second session to 40 minutes and 30 minutes respectively.

  12. The problem only exists for Q1. So realisticly only one driver would suffer since the slower teams won’t make it through Q1 anyway.

  13. Consistency has always proved fair. They need to leave Monaco quali alone. F1 is a battle for first not a show of who can be fastest. There is strategy at every step and quali traffic is part of it. If you get caught out you get caught out.

    Your boss isn’t gonna care that you came in late due to traffic so why should F1.

  14. STRFerrari4Ever
    8th May 2010, 18:24

    No let them all qualify at once the positives are that with each lap the track will improve more and more so it could be a potential lottery in the sessions :D

  15. It just makes it more interesting too if some of the drivers in the better cars are crammed up at the back.

  16. theRoswellite
    8th May 2010, 19:25

    Qualifying at Monaco is a tradition, drivers have been fighting for a good time since the 50’s. The present drivers and teams need to take on the challenge!

    For me the other real issue, acknowledging that “tradition” might not carry a lot of weight with younger fans, is the possibility of a disparate playing field.

    If the field is divided in half, the second group should have the benefit of more rubber on the track.

    But, the greatest problem is precipitation. It will occur for one group and not the other, or the amount will differ. In any case if won’t be an equal playing field.

    For me, the real concern is safety. Are we creating a situation in which drivers take risks in their driving brought on by too many cars on the track, or too much of a speed differential between cars.

    That is a question the drivers might answer.

  17. No. One of the few reasons for keeping Monaco is the challenge it offers both for the race and qualifying. There’s always been a risk of cars getting caught out, whether we had 26, 24, or 20 cars.

    I’m not sure why Senna suggested this. He has little chance of making it out of Q1 on pace, so what’s his reasoning? Altruism? He’s in F1 to place as highly as possible, even if he was so generously-minded – and if anyone’s going to benefit anywhere, it’s going to be someone like Senna in the HRT at Monaco.

    Perhaps he’s worried about getting penalties for “blocking” other cars? But he’s at the back of the grid anyway!

    Why Senna called for this makes about as much sense as carrying it out!

  18. No.

    I refer you to this link:

    There were 26 cars in thi qualifying session too.

    Granted this was back when we had the two hour-long session format but still.

    The difference between the fastest and slowest cars in this session was NINE SECONDS.

    Don’t change qualifying.

    Leave it as it is please.

  19. Harry Plums
    8th May 2010, 21:31

    I dont want the FIA to make special provisions to ‘split’ the qualifying for Monaco, as this would only set presidence for further rule changes as the FIA see’s fit.

    Here’s why……

    The FIA allowed the new teams to join with absolutely no evidence that they would be fast enough to comptete. There is, currently, no rules stating what minimum speed you must carry in order to go racing. [at least none that I’m aware of]

    Unlike other motorsport events, in F1, once your team is approved to join F1 at the beginning of the season, your already ‘pre-qualified’ to go racing every Sunday regardless of your pace on any given weekend. The teams aren’t qualifying in the tradional sense of the sport – they’re merly setting the grid.

    Furthermore, with the limited testing, any idiot should have sussed during the off season that there would be the potential for new teams to struggle to keep pace, therefore causing slower cars to be a hinderance to the faster, established teams.

    This isnt, and should never become, NASCAR where cars take to the track one at a time and then set their fastes possible lap in a clear track. It’s setting your fastest lap under the prevailing conditons at the time, come rain, shine or, in this instance, traffic. Thats the ‘spirit’ of how F1’s qualifying is meant to be.

    With that said, I have no problems with the teams making a pact, similar to their mutual ban of KERS for 2010, whereas the slower teams agree to go out in Q1 for the first 7.5 minutes and then the remaining teams take to the track for the final 7.5 minutes.

    Although similar to a ‘split session’, at least this would keep the FIA from making more unnecessary rule changes to F1.

    1. Harry Plums
      8th May 2010, 21:39

      I failed to state that the only reason I have no problem with the teams making a pact to spilt up, is ONLY due to safety.

      As much as I dont want a split session, I would consider it, only, under a valid and proven concern for safety.

  20. Just imagine this as Monaco in real life with traffic, just at 130 mph. Be a right lottery of a race cant wait.

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