Backmarkers to struggle in qualifying as FIA revives 107% rule for 2011

Bruno Senna would have failed to qualify in Spain by 0.01s under the 107% rule

Bruno Senna would have failed to qualify in Spain by 0.01s under the 107% rule

The FIA has announced it will bring back the ‘107% rule’ in 2011.

From next year drivers whose best times are more than 7% slower than the fastest time set in the first part of qualifying will not be allowed to start the race.

The World Motor Sports Council announced today:

From 2011, any driver whose best qualifying lap exceeds 107% of the fastest Q1 qualifying time will not be allowed to take part in the race.

Under exceptional circumstances, however, which may include setting a suitable lap time in a free practice session, the stewards may permit the car to start the race. Should there be more than one driver accepted in this manner, the grid order will be determined by the stewards.

The 107% rule was previously abolished at the end of 2002.

Had the rule as proposed been in place this year it would have prevented both HRT drivers from starting in Bahrain and Malaysia. Lucas di Grassi would have been out of the Malaysian race as well, leaving just 21 cars on the grid.

Bruno Senna would have missed out on racing at Barcelona – by just one-hundredth of a second – and Karun Chandhok wouldn’t have been on the grid at Canada last week.

All this assumes the stewards not handing out dispensations – without which Fernando Alonso would not have been able to start at Monaco either.

Read more: Why F1 doesn?t need the 107% rule

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107 comments on Backmarkers to struggle in qualifying as FIA revives 107% rule for 2011

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  1. Kate said on 23rd June 2010, 14:00


    Hopefully it will stop Luca whinging at least.

    • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 23rd June 2010, 14:09

      Oh, I expect the new teams will be considerably faster in 2011 than they are this year.

      • matt90 (@matt90) said on 23rd June 2010, 14:48

        Except for the new team coming next year. Of course, they should be better prepared than the teams this year, but that’s dependant on how much the FIA mess about before picking someone, and if they face any financial difficulties between now and the first race. If they arrive in financial doubt, and then have the season that HRT have had so far, they wouldn’t have competed in enough races to maintain sponsorship and could go under. Hypothetical of course, but it seems silly to introduce this rule until all teams have a season of competing under their belts.

      • Apart from Team 13, whoever they may be. They might need a helping hand.

      • BasCB said on 23rd June 2010, 20:11

        That is, except the 13th team! Good the FIA waited with announcing them until after this clarifying of rules.

        Those appliants might just give up altogether now. Time is running out to do a decent car, they will be up against cars with KERS and adjustable bodywork and will possibly be at the race weekends only on friday and saturday.
        As they will have no possibility to test between races and no race-miles to get experience (like HRT is now doing impressively) it will be impossible to get anyhwere during the year. So why bother.

        • Ben Curly said on 24th June 2010, 11:24

          Exactly. This rule is closing the door for the new teams. It’s a pity really.

          It would be a good idea to allow the teams which are not allowed to race to get a bonus practice session, during which they could test and maybe improve their car. Otherwise this rule will be bad for the sport.

    • Sush Meerkat said on 24th June 2010, 9:36

      No no, he’ll find something else to complain about.

  2. zecks said on 23rd June 2010, 14:05

    But what happens if like in monaco this year, a driver who is fast enough (alonso) crashes in P3 and doesn’t post a time in Q1, would they not be allowed to start?

  3. Mark Hitchcock (@mark-hitchcock) said on 23rd June 2010, 14:05

    Doing their best to put off new teams from joining next year aren’t they?

    • matt90 (@matt90) said on 23rd June 2010, 14:52

      Yeah I was thinking that. Any team which has applied but already had some reservations is going to be doubting their application.

    • Yeap I agree.

      What new team in their right mind would want to apply to compete in Formula 1? In the event that if they are accepted they aren’t even guaranteed a spot of the grid for the races, who is going to pay to design, build, and send cars around the world to maybe be allowed to compete?

      As seen this year most new teams have enough trouble getting a car to the first race, understandably, I imagine it’s a steep learning curve. So given that, all new teams are going to start off slow. With in-season testing banned, how are new teams meant to get some mileage down in order to understand the car to enable development of the car to improve it, to be competitive, if they aren’t allowed to take part in the race?

      If there is no opportunity for them to take part in the race to develop and improve, how will they attract sponsors? If their cars aren’t seen on TV then sponsors aren’t interested. If they don’t attract sponsors then they don’t have money. If they don’t have money, they don’t pay their bills and they collapse.

      So the powers that be want more people to invest millions of dollars to be allowed to enter Formula 1, but then want to make it as hard as possible for any new team to have any chance of surviving?

  4. DaveW said on 23rd June 2010, 14:08

    What if an excluded driver is named Valentino Rossi and he is driving a no-points Ferrari?

  5. mani said on 23rd June 2010, 14:14

    I just don’t like this may or may nots in the rules… can’t they write a concrete rule???

    However, 2011 would be the right time to bring it in, if at all it has to be. New comers had their time to settle down this year and they should be within 107% next year.

    • Red Andy (@red-andy) said on 23rd June 2010, 17:20

      The force majeure element was in place back when the original 107% rule was being used. Back at the French GP in 1999, six drivers (I think), including Damon Hill in a reasonably quick Jordan, failed to set a time within 107% of Barrichello’s pole time because of the appalling weather conditions. All were allowed to start the race as their performance was obviously out of their hands. Basically the FIA can’t legislate for every eventuality, so they have to write possibilities like that into the rules.

  6. This is not good for the 13th team, who now have more speed to find in increasingly less time. This is why I don’t currently approve of Todt & his FIA.

    …and why do the stewards need to decide the order. Just do it as per the lap times, outside 107% or not, and if no time just at the back as currently.

    • BasCB said on 23rd June 2010, 20:15

      That’s for the Ferrari guy who threw his car in the wall on saturday morning!

    • macahan said on 23rd June 2010, 23:14

      The only way I can see this to really be of a good use is to allow a team that fails and has less then 2 years on the grid to allow them more testing. So say you fail to hit the 107% in quali or practice and it’s a team that not done 2 seasons they would be allowed 1 extra test day per time they fail. This year that would have allowed HRT 6 more testing days. Or simply limit the total amount of testing days to say 15 full day regular testing days but they are allowed to spread them out over the first 6 races. With a special dispensation that a new entry are allowed to do 2-3 extra testing days as late as 8th race. This would allowed HRT to still done testing even though their car wasn’t ready until first race. They could brought it home done a couple of testing days gone to next race ran there and done a couple of more testing days.
      Basically as is today HRT has FINALLY made the same amount of distance as all other teams did before the first race and we are now on race 9. With testing I am fairly certain they would been way clear of the 107% margin. Virgin are and they only got a few days testing before the first race and had to treat their first few races as testing weekends.
      As late as Lotus got their team application approved and car finished they to could used some extra days of testing after the season started to give them the chance of getting to same level of testing as all other teams.

      This would also allow teams to do some single one of testing after the start of the season but no later then say 1/3 into the season IF they gave up 1 or 2 testing days pre-season (like Red Bull they didn’t use all test days before first race) so hypothetical they could used a couple of testing days after the fact. Maybe trade 1.5 days of pre season testing for 1 day testing in the first 1/3 of the season.

    • qwerty_uk said on 24th June 2010, 9:00

      “Increasingly less time”.

      That’s well bad :-)

  7. Shimks said on 23rd June 2010, 14:29

    What a terrible decision. Totally useless and very harmful.

    Idiots. I’m very disappointed.

    • Todfod said on 23rd June 2010, 14:34

      I’m actually looking forward to this rule being implemented. This year, HRT and Virgin have been nothing more than roadblocks for the front runners, and I think their presence has done nothing for the sport so far.

      I do not know about you but I am not looking forward to another ‘Tortoise Racing’ F1 team.

      • matt90 (@matt90) said on 23rd June 2010, 14:55

        Give each team a year and it will be fine, and there’ll be more competition. But this rule could prevent next years new team from establishing itself, which might not make much of a difference at the time, but will possibly deny us the chance of them improving and competing for the following year.

        • Todfod said on 23rd June 2010, 17:50

          I do not know if we really need more competition.And how will a 13th team improve the quality of the races?

          • Achilles said on 23rd June 2010, 18:34

            F1 needs fresh blood, all the teams must recognise this, this kind of ruling will not be welcomed by potential sponsors of new teams,
            Williams are already struggling, and along with Ferrari, and Mclaren, have served F1 longest, without enough cash to compete, will we see one of the historic teams fall foul of a poor ruling?

          • matt90 (@matt90) said on 24th June 2010, 1:52

            Well how would it detract? What’s the harm in adding another tem to mix it with the midfield within a couple of years.

          • Shimks said on 24th June 2010, 9:28

            Hi Todfod. I disagree with you for several reasons.

            Most people love an underdog. I relish watching the new teams trying to establish themselves and grow stronger. It’s another interested aspect of the sport. Also, more cars on the grid: more drivers to watch, more teams to watch, more variables thrown into the mix. I was really disappointed we only got 12 teams onto the grid this year and I can’t wait for 26 cars.

            And I really don’t understand people’s negative opinion on back-markers. An integral part of racing should be to lap slower cars as successfully as possible, losing the least time. The drivers of slower cars are no more dangerous than other drivers on the circuit. If they are, they shouldn’t have been granted a super licence. The passing of back-markers throws another skill test at the front-runners. That’s why I am also opposed to blue flags. I don’t see why they are necessary, and I think they are often dangerous. The drivers have team radios for when they are in any doubt whether they are racing an HRT or whether it is a backmarker. I think there should be a change in the rules: back-markers should not fight for position against front-runners, but should in no way need to allow cars past. Like I said before, it should be up to the front-runners to use their skills to pass cars as smoothly as possibly. The races would be much more interesting like this.

            The only possible benefit I can see coming out of the 107% rule is that it could help there being less disparity between the performance of teams after engine freezes. Maybe the 107% rule would help highlight inadequacies in the engine-freeze rule, which is another rule I think is ridiculous for F1. But that’s another story.

      • Metallion said on 23rd June 2010, 22:50

        I don’t think the problem is the new teams being slow. The problem is that they had to get their cars ready in a very short space of time because of political matters and then on top of that there’s no testing allowed anymore. So of course new teams will need a year or two to get up to speed.

        I think with the 107% rule back, more testing is required. With the 107% rule and no testing, how would HRT ever have got any miles on their car. It’s fine for established teams, but not for new ones.

  8. Patrickl said on 23rd June 2010, 14:29

    In Q1 the topteams aren’t doing their fastest laps anyway. They can often find another second or even more in Q3.

    • DaveW said on 23rd June 2010, 14:35

      If I expect to qualify on pole or thereabouts, I would relish the chance to knock a couple backmarkers out of the race before it even began, by putting my foot down a bit in Q1. Especially at Monaco or Canada.

  9. “Under exceptional circumstances, however, which may include setting a suitable lap time in a free practice session, the stewards may permit the car to start the race.”

    Are there any clear specification on what these “exceptional circumstances” will be?

    “Should there be more than one driver accepted in this manner, the grid order will be determined by the stewards.”

    Again, any clarity on what basis will be done?

    • Those “exceptional circumstances” is to allow a McLaren or a Ferrari to race when any “exceptional” situation put them in the 107% rule…

      • Dan Thorn (@dan-thorn) said on 23rd June 2010, 15:09

        Usually wet qualifying sessions were exempt from 107%, and sometimes if it was a driver or teams home race they’d be let off. Most teams who didn’t qualify within 107% would usually appeal – for example at Canada Chandhok was outside 107% because of a gearbox problem and would probably have been allowed to race.

  10. Macca (@macca) said on 23rd June 2010, 14:43

    This will make the top teams push harder in Q1 next year to try and eliminate as many cars as possible.

  11. David said on 23rd June 2010, 14:44

    This 107% rule is valid on safety grounds as closing speeds have been visibly dangerous at times this year. It really has seemed like the front runners have been absolutely flying past the HRTs and the like at certain venues. However, I think to introduce it from the start of next season is premature. The new teams should cope with the change but the as yet to be announced new team will find it very difficult to achieve a lap time within 107%. It is necessary to introduce this rule again though in order to maintain F1 as a single category series, any slower than 107% and you might as well invite the top GP2 teams to have a go as they would be better organised than the rabble at the back at least.

    • BasCB said on 23rd June 2010, 20:20

      Thats utter nonsense. During Friday and saturday morning you have cars running with different fuel loads, tyres and testing completely new bits. So times can have enormous differences.
      So what will deciding on this AFTER qualifying help safety? In the race the drivers can drive as fast or slow as they want. Look at Schumi or Vettel losing up to 5 seconds per lap, or drivers on slicks in the wet (or wets on a drying track).
      Safety is a nonsense with this rule. To do this on safety grounds, the FIA would have to make teams prove a certain level of speed BEFORE taking part in trainging with their car or driver. That’s what the selection proces, testing and granting superlicenses is about

  12. matt90 (@matt90) said on 23rd June 2010, 14:57

    Actually, had the rule been implemented this year I expect HRT would have missed more races than the ones mentioned. For every race they would have missed they would have lost what was essentially testing time, and may not have progressed as much as they have, therefore missing even more races.

    • bosyber said on 23rd June 2010, 15:25

      Quite. And similar to Virgin, who needed a bit of time before discovering their fuel-pickup problem (that also would slow them in qualy.) Not to mention time to sort the Xtrack gearbox hydraulic problems.

  13. Rubbish Dave (@rubbish-dave) said on 23rd June 2010, 14:58

    If they aren’t going to allow slower teams to race (which I find absurd), then I hope at least they’ll allow extra testing for them to both find the required speed, and to make up for lost track time.

  14. PJA said on 23rd June 2010, 15:07

    This could hurt whoever is chosen as the 13th team for 2011. The amount of time they will have to get a car designed and built will mean they will be off the pace and then they might not be allowed to race.

  15. Dan Thorn (@dan-thorn) said on 23rd June 2010, 15:11

    Fine with me. The only worry is that it’s going to have a bit of an unfair effect on the 13th team next year, unless they’re extremely well prepared. Another HRT-like situation and it’s going to be tough for them.

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