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

  1. ElliottB said on 8th May 2010, 17:40

    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.

  2. Patrickl said on 8th May 2010, 18:06

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

  3. Pawel said on 8th May 2010, 18:21

    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.

  4. STRFerrari4Ever said on 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

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

  6. theRoswellite said on 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.

  7. Icthyes said on 8th May 2010, 20:03

    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!

  8. Spud said on 8th May 2010, 20:30


    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.

  9. Harry Plums said on 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.

    • Harry Plums said on 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.

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

  11. TMFOX said on 9th May 2010, 0:00

    Absolutely not. The whole idea is a joke.

  12. MEmo said on 9th May 2010, 0:58

    Totally against the split! IF, and I capitalize IF!, they split it in the end, they should have one car of each team in each heat, so that they get still some taste of traffic! But definitly NO TO SPLIT QUALI! Drivers: live is tough! Deal with it!

  13. Mike-e said on 9th May 2010, 1:23

    this is a popular thread so this may have already been said, and i havent really got time to read through it all right now to check it hasn’t so sorry if i’m repeating someone elses point. BUT……

    If you split the quali 1 in half, odd-even slow-fast or whatever, what happenes if the first set to go out go out on a dry track, and the second set have to do it in the rain? Its a stupid idea and i think its just bruno senna trying to seem “safety minded” like his uncle… only diference was ayrton senna was fast too.

  14. Jonesracing82 said on 9th May 2010, 1:41

    no way! if they cant find a clear lap in 20mins then thats thier problem, q1 is rather basic with the new cars making up the bottom 6 and 1 established team car dropping out! so it doesnt need to be changed.
    further goes to show how team want to win more than providing entertainment

  15. wasiF1 said on 9th May 2010, 6:31

    No way what so ever??
    It won’t be F1 if that happens. I do want to see the top drivers finding their way out of the traffic for the pole position. & if they sent 12 cars along then the first batch will have trouble doing a good lap as then track will be green.

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