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

Advert | Go Ad-free


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

  1. Klon said on 23rd June 2010, 19:02

    Well, if you review the failures to meet 107 %, with the sole exception of Senna at Barcelona, every one of them falls under special circumstances (crashes, rain or transmission problem), so it just shows how pointless this rule is.

  2. Jake Butler said on 23rd June 2010, 19:40

    I think a 26 car grid is the minimum for a GP…as do a lot of the F1 world…at least thats what WE (the fans) want Jean-take note! Don’t do a Max-not listen and do whatever you can to **** the sport i love.

  3. HounslowBusGarage said on 23rd June 2010, 19:50

    In many ways I can understand the problem caused by slower teams. Speed differential is a major problem for front runners, but that’s what blue flags are for.
    And I don’t see why the technical brilliance of one team becomes a ‘go home early’ order for another team.
    So I think I’d prefer to see a system whereby Team 13 is not penalised by the super efficient front runner team that turns up with a demon-tweak gaining it a second a lap over it’s rivals.
    Maybe, something 103.5% of the average of all Q1 times, instead of 107% of the absolute fastest.

    • BasCB said on 23rd June 2010, 20:29

      For me the whole rule is nonsense, but for getting a more reliable number making more sense, your proposal seems to be a pretty good one.

  4. S.J.M said on 23rd June 2010, 19:58

    Having read, and re-read the article, im not so against it. Its just Q1 times, and most of the top teams will use the harder compound tyre for this (the slower teams nearly always use softs) so it shouldnt cause too much in the way of upsets to the established teams, and “shouldnt” punish the newbies (assuming their cars are closer to the pack next season)

    If anything, we should see some much more exciting Q1 action, with drivers looking to make sure their in the 107% time. And hopefully, a more mixed grid if the newbies manage to find some more speed. The only other thing i can think of, is that more experienced F1 drivers might find employment as teams look to field drivers who will definatley find themselves qualifying, rather then a young driver with a rich backer/sponsorship who could be a liability.

    • disjunto said on 23rd June 2010, 21:48

      it’s not like the slower teams aren’t going to be going 110% in Q1 anyway attempting to hit Q2, all this rule will do is make it harder for the new teams to get any sponsorship money

  5. Dougie (@f1droid) said on 23rd June 2010, 21:20

    I think simply this is a crazy time to introduce this rule, 2012 would be better to give the new team arriving next year a chance. Not that the FIA obviously wants to do that.

    Personally scrap this rule, and the blue flags, and lets race. Backmarkers always have been a fundamental part of F1, all the best drivers had to deal with them through the ages, now ain’t any different. If Alonso et al was any good this would be a non-event.

  6. disjunto said on 23rd June 2010, 21:46

    sigh, hopefully all teams are up to the 107% mark straight away next season, otherwise I’m not going to bother going to the races

  7. F1Yankee said on 23rd June 2010, 22:26

    i have mixed feelings about this. i like the fact that entrants are required to meet a quantifiable standard for entry. however, this could be a financial back-breaker for multiple teams. it’s going to be a lot tougher to find sponsors if you can’t guarantee an appearance on race day.

    i’m not sure which would make for a better sport:

    1. 12 or 13 teams x 2 cars each, most of them with no hope of winning. despite the high level of parity presently in the sport, the majority of entrants compete for mid-pack status.

    2. 8 teams x 3 cars each, only the largest of franchises survive. sacrifice variety and character for the fastest, most expensive grid possible.

  8. Mr draw said on 23rd June 2010, 23:15

    We needed the 107%-rule in the first races of the present season. Next year it’ll be useless.

  9. OS X said on 24th June 2010, 0:26

    This rule should be phased in for any new team looking to enter Formula One. Maybe 110% first year, then 107% from the second year onwards.

    If this is coming from a safety point of view, then circuits should be graded by the FIA for degree of danger to overtake a slower car. Tracks like Monaco and Canada would be grade 1; Abu Dhabi and China would be Grade 6. Then the cut off time would be 104% + Circuit Grade eg. Monaco 105%, Abu Dhabi 110%. This would save certain teams lacking sufficient pace to be locked out of all the Sundays.

    I really thought that the most obvious change to make in qualification would be the switch to 18, 15 and 12 minute sessions to allow the cars time to have two clear runs in Q3 (remember that the Bahrain lap was about 2 minutes long).

  10. gDog said on 24th June 2010, 0:50

    They need to allow more testing for teams failing to make the 107% mark. If a team is struggling to make the time, how are they supposed to improve under the current testing restrictions? For all teams right now, especially the new teams, the best testing time they have is during the race itself.

  11. gDog said on 24th June 2010, 1:07

    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…

    • sch-who? said on 24th June 2010, 3:00

      Maybe get Ralf Schumacher back as a test driver, he was always good at exploding tyres :)

  12. wasiF1 said on 24th June 2010, 2:19

    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%?

  13. Nixon said on 24th June 2010, 7:40

    Great article Kieth, but i just want to know why is it 107% why not another number? I mean 110% might be a little fairer.

  14. Bleu said on 24th June 2010, 9:30

    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.

  15. GeeMac said on 24th June 2010, 9:40

    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.

Add your comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

All comments must abide by the comment policy. Comments may be moderated.
Want to post off-topic? Head to the forum.
See the FAQ for more information.