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

  1. Tiomkin said on 23rd June 2010, 16:20

    Why is this a good thing? Imagine a very fast redbull or mclaren and a half empty grid behind them as most don’t qualify. If I paid to go to a GP and that happened I’d want my money back plus expenses. Second thought: I’ll just stay at home.

    All this tinkering makes me mad. LEAVE THE RULES ALONE.

    • Adrian said on 23rd June 2010, 16:23

      I think that would also fall under the “Exceptional circumstances” clause…

      • Tiomkin said on 24th June 2010, 16:20

        Then why bother having it if you aren’t going to enforce it. No other sport in the world would do this crap, year in year out. Rule meddling.

        Once again I classify F1 as ‘sport entertainment’. In the same bag as pro wrestling.

  2. Michael said on 23rd June 2010, 16:26

    Shouldn’t it be called the 93% rule?

    • Jarred Walmsley (@jarred-walmsley) said on 23rd June 2010, 21:07

      No, because if it was 93% then the pole time could be 93% less than the slowest time, so the slowest time could be almost double.

      the 7% rule says that the slowest time cannot be any more than 7% slower, i.e. a 1:20 pole time means the slowest time could only be 1:27

  3. Calum said on 23rd June 2010, 16:44

    If the new teams are going to lose track time next year for not being able to qualify and participate in races, how are they supposed to improve and be able to get good enough to actually be able to compete!!
    A solution could be if they don’t qualify for Sunday, they can get a race distance on track after the race/ after qualifying in order to test some and get track time they would have missed. If they can’t race then it’s pointless them being there in the first place!!

  4. If given an exclusive license to race in F1, how can they then say if your not fast enough go home? Especially when there is limited testing time for car improvements DURING the season???

  5. TBone said on 23rd June 2010, 17:12

    I see some sense in the rule but can’t see how it’s fair on the new teams. At the moment HRT, Lotus and Virgin realistically only have 20 minutes in Q1 to produce their quickest time. They will have no chance to respond to new fastest times being set in Q2 or Q3 – at tracks like Canada and Monaco which rubber-in much more over the course of a weekend, they’re effectively being double punished. So they will find themselves qualifying 24th but well within 107% of the fastest Q1 time, only for the front-runners to improve in Q2 or Q3 and knock them out without any chance to respond.

    • nvHerman said on 23rd June 2010, 17:23

      Thought the article stated that the 107% will be based on Q1 Pole time, so your hypothetical situation will never arise

  6. ccolanto said on 23rd June 2010, 17:17

    I’m glad they specified Q1, or else we’d see a lot of drivers being affected by weather conditions, like we seen in Malaysia this year or Monza last year.

  7. Icthyes (@icthyes) said on 23rd June 2010, 17:18

    So a new team that comes in only 0.2s behind the next fastest car but is outside of 107% can’t race? And then they don’t get the data from racing, so stay behind and consistently fail to get outside of 107%. Team goes broke, people lose their jobs. Second joke announcement of the day, what’s F1 coming to?

    • BasCB said on 23rd June 2010, 20:24

      I think that is exactly the point. Luca gets what he wants, all teams applying for next year just pull out before wasting any time on this scam.

      I see no good reason for this. If they want to have a possibility to punish drivers going to slow, then do it another way with more parameters to get a permanent superlicence.

  8. glue (@glue) said on 23rd June 2010, 17:23

    aside from the fact that maybe the cars next year will be within 107%, what about the fact that there aren’t spare cars any more?..if anyone(especially a frontrunner) makes a mistake in qualifying, they’re out if they didn’t have a good enough time..but I guess that’s what all those “exceptional circumstances” are about

    I do think it’s a good rule however, despite it set to be useless at some point

  9. Hallard said on 23rd June 2010, 17:27

    This is assanine. Doesnt everyone WANT 26 cars on the grid? Now they’ve made formula 1 an even more daunting task for potential new entrants. Also, I think that the new rule where the rear wings can be continuously adjusted in qualifying (also ridiculous), may widen the gap between the top teams and the backmarkers in qualifying, depending on how well they can implement such a system.

    • BasCB said on 23rd June 2010, 20:26

      They will probably not even go through the trouble of equipping it. Same for KERS. They lose only say 2 % of time, so maybe we will have only 14-18 cars racing.
      Good time for Ferrari to begin about bringing a 3rd car agaiin.

      • Hallard said on 23rd June 2010, 20:56

        More good points, BasCB. I didnt even consider the potential KERS debacle…

        And all this comes in the midst of a GREAT formula 1 season! Why must they “improve the show”?!

      • Rob said on 24th June 2010, 12:57

        Exactly – everyone wants 26 cars but only 20 will be fast enough, so along comes Luca on his noble ‘prancing horse’ to generously offer to fill out the grid with additional cars.

        Bernie and Jean drop to their knees and throws their hands to the heavens praising the saintly Italian on his magnificent steed. Such is their gratitude for this selfless act they gift Ferrari the opportunity to score manufacturer points on up to 4 cars, and a veto on any rules they don’t approve of, as well as the new ‘Luca says’ event at every grand prix where Di Montezemolo rides around the track on a cherry picker before the race, shouting through a loudhailer at the crowd telling them what he was thinking last night after a few glasses of wine.

        I can’t wait!

  10. PJA said on 23rd June 2010, 17:34

    I thought I would have a look at the recent article on the 1993 South African GP and see which drivers would not have qualified if this system had been in place, (hopefully my maths is correct).

    The pole time set by Prost in the Williams-Renault was 1’15.696 (75.696 seconds) so 107% of this would be 1’20.995 (80.995 seconds).

    So Barbazza in the Minardi-Ford in 24th place would have just sneaked in with 1’20.994 but the two Lola-Ferraris of Alboreto and Badoer would not have made it.

  11. Fer no.65 said on 23rd June 2010, 17:35

    This is virtually killing the new team even before it’s born as one…

    why couldn’t FIA choose which team will compete next year the same day they clarify all this rules?

  12. taurus said on 23rd June 2010, 17:53

    Stupid decision. Be prepared for a return to 20 car grids.

    Backmarkers are part of the sport, frontrunners should have to negotiate them and deal with them.

  13. Lee Sharp said on 23rd June 2010, 17:53

    people have been asking what happens if a driver spins or crashes out, the rule of if a driver sets a suitable time in practice is used already in american for Indycar.

  14. Steph90 (@steph90) said on 23rd June 2010, 18:16

    The one thing I don’t like about this is that it’s a completely random number.

    Maybe it’s needed now. We’ve always had slow cars but with GP2 cars it isn’t the same anymore as F1 cars should always be quicker. I don’t think it will make any difference though as this year’s new cars should be quicker or out of the sport and the new teams coming in aren’t under such a cloud of will-there-won’t-there be budget cap.

    • George (@george) said on 23rd June 2010, 18:23

      Any number would be a random number though, if they’re going to bring in the rule they have to draw the line somewhere.

      • Steph90 (@steph90) said on 23rd June 2010, 22:18

        Well they could have done 100%. They could have picked an actual number of seconds. I take your point but 107% is the randomest of the random

        • George (@george) said on 24th June 2010, 0:42

          They couldn’t do it as a number of seconds as tracks vary from say 1m15s at monaco to over 2 minutes. At the start of the year all of the new teams were around the 107% mark, iirc only Hispania were out of it in Bahrain, which in itself shows that it was doing it’s job (they had no testing, hadn’t even driven the car for christ’s sake).

  15. George (@george) said on 23rd June 2010, 18:23

    I’ve always been a mild fan of the 107% rule, unless a team really struggles with the new tyres I think it’ll go unused.

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