Stefano Domenicali, Ferrari, Suzuka, 2011

Domenicali wants qualifying rules change

2011 Japanese Grand PrixPosted on | Author Keith Collantine

Ferrari team principal Stefano Domenicali says the qualifying rules should be changed to stop drivers aborting flying laps.

Four of the ten drivers in the final part of qualifying at Suzuka did not set times. Three drivers did the same in Singapore.

Domenicali said: “Once again today, as has happened before during this season, we have seen cars – no less than four in Q3 – give up on doing a flying lap.

“Far be it for me to criticise those who made this choice, which is absolutely respectable from a technical point of view, I think it shows something is not right in the way qualifying is run and we should give it some careful thought for the future, because I don’t think it’s such a good thing for the spectators in the grandstand, who, I must say here are amazing in the way they make you feel their passion for Formula 1 and for those who are watching on television.”

Renault chief race engineer Alan Permane explained why neither of their drivers did a run in qualifying:

“We decided that in a straight fight in Q3 we would have struggled to make much more ground on our positions in the top ten – it would have been difficult to beat [Michael] Schumacher anyway – so we decided to put both cars out on [scrubbed] medium tyres to ensure we had the luxury of choosing our starting tyre tomorrow afternoon.”

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74 comments on “Domenicali wants qualifying rules change”

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  1. I think a special type of qualifying tyre is needed to stop teams from not going out in a session. If you gave everyone a couple of sets of super sticky tyres that only last a full flying lap, you will see the drivers out almost the entire session trying to set the absolute fastest time, without worrying about not taking too much out of the tyres to be used in the race.

  2. Giving teams quali tyres doesn’t guarantee that teams will do more runs. Remember they have to manage fuel as well. Bring back the days of re-fuel and give quali tyres and we’ll be in for a great race weekend

    1. @dt

      Bring back the days of re-fuel

      This has nothing to do with the problem of drivers not setting times in qualifying. Qualifying fuel loads are not linked to race fuel loads (and nor should they be).

      Bringing in-race refuelling back would only serve to make racing more predictable as we saw the last time we had it in F1. It’s been thrown in the garbage, let’s leave it there.

  3. I don’t like qualifying tyre idea because it’s quite expensive solution, but given situation today, it would be much better than nothing. Is it coincident that Japan suggested tyre rule change again?(I mean, monsoon tyre last year)

  4. Maybe they could give the teams that made the cut to Q3 a set of brand new options and if they choose to run a flying lap on it they will be able to trade in another set of options of their own choice for the 4th set of options they used in Q3. They would therefore end up with as many tyres as the others, for the race, but they the extra lap in Q3 would be free, so there would be no reason not to.
    That would mean that a team that runs options in Q1 and Q2 can basically for free set a time in Q3 on a new set because that set would then go instead of one of the sets they used in Q1 or Q2.

    I think that would be a better solution then giving all the drivers a set more, because then they would just save that for the race as well and the situation would be the same, along with using more tyres over a weekend.

  5. If a driver doesn’t set a time in Q3, then the next fastest driver from Q2 should take his place.

    So if one driver in Q3 didn’t set a time, then the driver who finished 11th in Q2 would swap race grid positions.

    If two drivers didn’t set times in Q3, then 11th & 12th would start 9th & 10th respectively.

    So tomorrow’s race would start:
    7. Sutil (11th)
    8. Di Resta (12th)
    9. Barrichello (13th)
    10. Maldonado (14th)
    11. Schumacher (7th)
    12. Petrov (9th)
    13. Senna (8th)
    14. Kobayashi (10th)

    Note that Petrov & Senna are ordered by their Q2 times, not Q3 defaulted times.

  6. Its simple – for every qualifying session you are in, you MUST set a laptime. If you get through to Q2 or Q3 and dont set a time, you go to the back of the grid.

    I’d also like the times to be representative, so if someone gets through to Q3 but sets a fastest time that is slower than someone knocked out in Q2, they line up behind them on the grid. This would stop drivers doing a two minute lap to save their tyres.

    Getting rid of the silly two-compound rules might help too.

  7. I don’t think the problem can be solved by handing penalties to those teams/drivers, which refuse to drive in Q3 as some people have suggested in the comments. It’s hard or impossible to make sure that those drivers would make their best and wouldn’t just save their tyres. Neither do I think that some sort of extra set of tyres for Q3 would be a solution. It makes thinks too complex.

    In my opinion, there are five simple options:

    1) Keep the current rule. Sure, some teams will not drive in Q3, but does that really matter? It doesn’t really bother me, but the rule allows more options for strategy, which in my opinion makes F1 more interesting.

    2) Force everyone to start the race with the set of tyres that they used to make their fastest time in the last part of qualifying that they took part in. This would stop teams from not driving, because they want to have more options on Sunday. However, teams could still save their tyres.

    3) Let everyone decide on Sunday, which set of tyres they want to start with. However, teams could still save their tyres.

    4) Make qualifying positions matter more. Give the eight or nine best drivers some sort of advantage. For instance, let them use DRS one lap before others.

    5) Give teams separate sets of tyres for qualifying and race. All teams can decide on Sunday, which of their race sets they want to use.

  8. I don’t see anything wrong with it! It’s simply how people make use of the situation.

  9. If you get through to Q3 you must set a time or you go to the back of the grid.

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