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

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

  1. I know what I would do if I was a new team struggling to meet the time.

    During free practice setup the cars with all the go fasters gismos banned over the last few years, traction control, ground effects, sucker fan, active suspension, rockets (ok that might be a bit far). All quite discreetly of course and in the name of testing future developments. Go out and set some blistering lap times to get within the 107.

    Then comes Q1, revert the car back to a legal spec, fit an exploding tyre, leave the pits near the end of the session, explode the tyre on the slowest corner in the circuit, run out of time during Q1 to fix the car, fail to qualify and then say, “hey, but look at the times we’re capable of in free practice…”

    Of course, after a few races of the same pattern people might start getting a little suspicious…

  2. According to me the rules are not clear.
    Why would there be a exception? Why will the stewards decides the grid slot?

    What will happen if it rains then the lap time may vary more than 107%?

  3. The testing rule could be that allow each team one test day for the time they miss 107% and are not allowed to race. Must be used within two weeks and race engines used.

  4. I’m really disappointed that this rule has come back. In the era of testing bans, teams like HRT need all the track time they can get during race weekends. This includes the race. The 107% rule should have come with an additional ryder that a team which consitently (say 3-4 races in a row) fails to meet the 107% marker should be granted additional “on track” testing time.

  5. This is ridiculous… An act of exclusion against the new teams. They have equal right to race in Formula 1 as they pay the same amount of money and put in their efforts.

  6. This is from the RBR forums but I thought i’d share it here to demonstrate how pointless the 107% rule is

    Also, this was not me posting on RBR

    black fair said…

    I’ve checked the other races:

    Chandhok would’ve missed the season opener in Bahrain(bit unfair given it was his first time in the car).

    All cars would’ve made it in Australia.

    Lucas Di Grassi would’ve missed Malaysia.

    All cars would’ve made it in China.

    As mentioned, Bruno Senna would’ve missed Spain.

    All cars would’ve made it in Monaco.

    All cars would’ve made it in Turkey.

    Karun Chandhok would’ve missed Canada.

    The rules state that “Only in extreme circumstances – such as a heavy rain shower during Q1 or a failure to post a quick enough lap – will drivers be granted special dispensation to start by race organisers, who will judge the competitor in question by fastest lap times from practices sessions across the weekend.”

    Under this subjective exemption, I believe they all would’ve been able to race:

    Chandhok in Bahrain because it was his first time ever in the car. Di Grassi in Malaysia because his time was like 5 seconds off his team mate suggesting a problem. Bruno in Spain because he only missed by 100th a second. And Chandhok in Canada again because his time was way off his team mates suggesting a car problem prevent posting a quick lap.

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