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)

  1. 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!

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

  3. 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.

  4. -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.

  5. 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.

  6. pSynrg said on 8th May 2010, 15:04

    Absolutely no split. Deal with it!

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

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. Maksutov said on 8th May 2010, 15:20

    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.

  10. vettelfan said on 8th May 2010, 15:43

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

  11. Bullfrog said on 8th May 2010, 15:50

    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.

    • W-K said on 8th May 2010, 16:46

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

  12. Calum said on 8th May 2010, 15:58

    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.

  13. MouseNightshirt said on 8th May 2010, 16:23

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

  14. W-K said on 8th May 2010, 16:44

    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.

  15. W-K said on 8th May 2010, 17:13

    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.

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