Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, Singapore, 2013

FIA confirms Q3 changes to encourage more running

2014 F1 seasonPosted on | Author Keith Collantine

Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, Singapore, 2013The FIA has confirmed further changes to qualifying ahead of the first race of the season.

Updated Sporting Regulations published by the FIA today include a series of changes intended to encourage drivers who reach the final stage of qualifying to set a time.

Any driver who reaches Q3 must now start the race on the set of tyres which he set his fastest time with in Q2. As before, this only applies if dry weather tyres were used for both Q2 and the start of the race.

Every driver will also be allocated an additional set of “option” compound tyres. Those who reach Q3 may only use it in that part of qualifying, and those who do not reach Q3 may only use them during the race.

This increases the total allocation of dry-weather tyres for each driver this year to 13. This is an increase from 11 last year, including the extra set of “prime” specification tyres for first practice which was previously announced.

The durations of two of the sessions have also been changed. Q3 has been extended by two minutes to 12 and Q1 shortened by a corresponding amount, in order to give drivers more time to set laps in Q3.

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99 comments on “FIA confirms Q3 changes to encourage more running”

  1. This is far too confusing. It would make a lot more sense if FIA introduced “qualifying only” super-soft tyres.

      1. Why not just get rid of the rule that you have to start on the tyre you qualify on? Then people would go out in Q3 with the only incentive of improving their grid slot….. no wait…. thats too simple.

        Why not spin a wheel, and whoever it lands on gets a free pass to use 13 extra sets of uber soft tyres and gets a 2 lap headsl start? Does that sound more like something the FIA might impliment?

    1. Chris Brighton
      12th March 2014, 19:40

      It really isn’t confusing.

      1. Agreed Chris. Short story: person with fastest time in Q3 gets pole.

        1. As opposed to the fastest time in Q3 not getting pole last year? Wouldn’t it be way simpler if teams had their 13 sets of tyres for the weekend and complete freedom in their strategy?

      2. It is confusing. They should make the sports regulations more clear and less dfficult to understand in order to attract a new audience. I mean, I understand what’s been said here, but I’d understand if someone else doesn’t. It doesn’t makes sense either. Just keep it simple and give drivers who reach Q3 an extra set of SuperSoft’s.. How difficult should it be?!

        1. It really isn’t confusing.

          Maybe not to us, but what about the viewers who are new to F1? I prefer it if F1 to be simple and straight to the point. There is a reason to why European football is so much more popular than American football or Baseball – people prefer simple sports more than overly complex ones.

          1. Not here in america, and these are the stupidest people in the world here. And if you want F1 simple, then idk what to tell u. Cuz it aint.

          2. I live in North America and I don’t find American Football complicated at all. But then again, I am a fan of the sport, so I pay attention to the rules and understand them.
            F1 is kind of the same. We as fans might understand these new rules, but to outside observers, they seem odd and confusing.
            That said though. It would have been a lot easier to just make a rule stating that if you make Q3, you have to set at least (insert number) of laps. If you don’t, you get penalized 3 – 5 grid spots down from 10th. To me that would be a much better incentive to put in a lap time.
            Just saying…

          3. I prefer it if F1 to be simple and straight to the point.

            F1 will never be simple. It is, by it’s very nature, a complicated sport. All the technical and sporting regulations required mean it will always be complex and difficult to understand by a casual observer.

            I remember asking when I was much younger (still in primary school) why they couldn’t put a bigger engine in to make it go faster, and why they couldn’t put a cover over the cockpit to improve aero. The answer of “because they aren’t allowed” didn’t sit well with me at that age (in fact, in many ways it still doesn’t)

    2. Yeah, this is turning something really basic—ranking cars/drivers in order from fastest to slowest—into something really complicated. Imagine trying to explain all this to a new fan. It is stupid and unnecessarily complicated.

  2. This is a stupid rule , why do they have to start on Q2 tyres?? takes a lot of strategy out of the window.
    I have never understood someone starting from P10 with worn out softs and the man from P11 starting on fresh softs

  3. So if you’re not in the top 10 you get given a free pair of brand new tyres and if you are you have to use them? Am I missing something? Why should they get a brand new set for not qualifying high up?

    1. @nico21 Presumably because those tyres would have to mounted onto wheels anyway, so this reduces the chances of 14 more sets of tyres being thrown away unused every weekend.

      1. Maybe we need to go back to tyres that have a shelf life longer than 7 days.

        1. But no one is going to buy the exta wheels to have them lie around. Not to mention storage of all these tyres allocated to a specific car and then keep track of how many to bring to what race @hohum. It would only work if they used the same compounds for each race and Pirelli would take care of storing them in between the races.

          1. @bascb, point taken, I was thinking of an earlier, simpler time, when they did use the same compounds for each race, but we can’t go backwards, what next ? turbocharged engines?

          2. @bascb Two extra sets of wheels is hardly a large increase in expenditure for these teams…

          3. I see you didn’t understand it really @beejis60. Its not 2 extra sets. They need 2 sets fitted with the softer compound for that track. But you can have supersofts, softs or mediums as the softer tyres in a weekend and those would/could all be lying around for some of the cars. that means shipping all those extra sets from the track to pirelli for storage and then back out for the next track where they are needed. And keep in check how many tyres were fitted for what car and how many were returned, and how old they are etc.

          4. Or they could have the sets in their garage for the race, and if they use a set of the softer tyre in Q3, they could take that set of wheels+tyers back to the pirelli truck where the man there would swap that single used set for a new set, out of the 10 spare new sets he brings to the meeting for that specific reason. Its not rocket science, they are all the same size and spec, and its not hard for a professional to change a tyre and balance the wheel.

      2. @keithcollantine, surely they can just ask the teams to hand the tyres back after qualifying is over.

        The idea that even teams that to get to Q3 also get an extra set of tyres has thrown me off a bit. I can’t help but feel that this is helping non-Q3 teams more in the race than the Q3 teams.

  4. So they’ve never heard of that one “keep it simple”?

    Why don’t they just award one additional set of option tires for every round of quali? That way you get one more set for Q2, if you reach it, and if you reach Q3, you get one more set again, for that part of quali. It only makes sense. And do away with the rule of starting a race on a tyre on which you’ve set your fastest time.

    1. Genius!

      Or just common sense. Either way, it’s better.

  5. Sounds like another FIA own goal to me also, it still leaves the drivers that don’t make it into Q3 with an extra set of brand new option tyres. Perhaps they are looking for a way to handicap by the back door.
    It should be fairly easy to come up with these regulations in a manner that does not advantage slower cars nor disadvantage faster cars, and vice-versa, but the FIA and Bernie seem to be constantly overcomplicating things to achieve some secret objective of their own.

    1. it still leaves the drivers that don’t make it into Q3 with an extra set of brand new option tyres.

      How so?

      1. if you use the extra set in Q3 you have to give it back
        25.4.a (…) One set of “option” specification tyres may only be used during Q3, by those cars that qualified for Q3, and must be returned to the tyre supplier before the start of the race.
        but if you don’t make it to Q3 you have the extra set for the race!
        25.4.a (…) One set of “option” specification tyres, which were allocated to cars which did not qualify for Q3, may only be used during the race.

        I don’t like that bit!

      2. @mike, did you read the article?

    2. “It should be fairly easy to come up with these regulations in a manner that does not advantage slower cars nor disadvantage faster cars, and vice-versa, but the FIA and Bernie seem to be constantly overcomplicating things to achieve some secret objective of their own.”

      Secret objective? The whole qualifying-tyre situation was clearly invented for the explicit purpose of disadvantaging the top 10, by making them start the race on worn tyres and removing the possibility of an option/prime choice. IMO, it hasn’t really worked, because 1 hot lap + 2 in/out laps isn’t enough to make a significant difference.

  6. Why does it have to be so terribly complicated?
    Let the drivers who start Q3 replace a set of tyres, used only in Q3, with a brand new set of the same compound. And then let them start on whatever they like.
    That would encourage running in Q3, allow for more variety in what compound they start the race on, and it would be pretty straight forward.

  7. First of all, this is a great example of the FIA overcomplicating things to make their vision work. It would be better to remove the ‘start on the set of tyres you qualified on’ altogether, but instead they insist on making things even more confusing than they already are.

    Secondly, the new rules will move the problem from Q3 to Q2: the midfield teams will not want to risk running too fast in case they might have to start on a scrub set of tyres. The frontrunner teams will do their utmost best to only just make it into Q3, so they have the best tyres as possible at the start of the race. As a result, the first 13 minutes of Q2 will see no running at all, while the last 2 minutes will see all drivers running.

    1. @andae23, you’r right, probably it’s all to do with not admitting to having made a bad rule to start with, couldn’t lose face now, could they?

    2. Better the midfield than the front runners honestly

    3. @andae23 – To an extent but it does work much better having it affect Q2 than Q3. You had cars not running at all so that they could start on brand new tyres. If you don’t run in Q2 now, you’ll qualify right at the back so it’s not an option.

      If midfield teams go slow to start on newer tyres, it’s not a huge loss. I hated seeing teams like Toro Rosso do a great job to get into Q3 and then now run at all…

      Obviously sacking off the rule in general would be better but if it has to stay, I’d rather it in Q2.

  8. Extra set of tyres makes sense for Q3 but I cannot understand the concept of them having to start the race on their Q2 tyres…. Why!?

    I’m not massively against it as I don’t really think it makes much difference but I just don’t understand the reason for doing it!

    1. Last season ,teams like Merceds and Redbull sometimes used only prime tyres in Q2 to save all the options for Q3 and race.
      So this year, they have to use options in Q2 if they want to start the race on option tyres. This is good for teams having clear qualifying advantage as they can easily reach q3 on options without the need to push much on those tyres and then they can push even more in Q3 without worrying about damaging those tyres in their Q3 laps.

  9. Easy to understand really, they want to encourage teams to go for pole rather than sit on tires. In most cases, the q2 tires will only have a couple of laps on them. The teams that get into the back half of q3 usually put a fresh set on to get there and that is why they sit out q3, not much to gain everything to lose. By making them start on q2 tires, they take away the incentive to sit, both with the free set of tires and the fact that 11 and back will be pushing from behind on new tires. The fact that it was advantageous to start 10th on new tires rather than 7th on old ones has been negated and im all for it. The rule might have unintended consequences, as in the extra set for the race enabling 11th and back to run longer stints and having fresher tires at the end, but that was going on anyway. The problem was front running cars backing off in the first stint to negate that advantage. IE the mercs in Monaco

    1. And the likely polesitter, what will he do in Q2 to ensure he has a good set of tyres to start on, and so on for the first 3 rows of the grid?

      1. What they typically already do, set a good time and sit. If it gets close go back out and put one more lap in at the end.

        1. Sam, I suppose you are right but it still seems to leave 11th and 12 with a big tyre advantage for the race.

          1. Well, the advantage is now less than before and actually I think that’s the whole point behind it.

    2. Thanks for explaining, Sam. My head was spinning!

  10. I’m not a huge fan of Q3 now being 12 minutes long, as on most track’s each driver will most likely be able to do 3 flying laps at the most. I’ve always felt that a big challenge of qualifying is that you have limited time to really put down a quick lap, i.e only 2 laps. It’s not a change I would have implemented.

    1. I think the problem is at Spa where it is very difficult for 10 drivers to set two flying laps when the whether is wet. Last year’s pole was just over 2 minutes. This means 2:15 minutes outlap, 2 minutes flying lap, 2:15 minutes inlap, ~1 minute refuelling and 2:15 minutes outlap need to be completed in 10 minutes. This is just doable for one driver. If you have 10 drivers, all trying to find some space, it is impossible.

    2. In part its because of how the hybrid part allows you to use a lot of energy in one lap, but only recharges that amount over 2 laps – so if you use the maximum for a hot lap, you cannot immediately do another hot lap.

      1. ES will be fully charged in 1 lap. 2MJ charge limit is for ers-k only, while mgu-h charge is unlimited.

        1. ahm, yeah @f1fan123. But all of that is part of the hybrid system (the MGU-K, the MGU-H and the battery pack and all motors used) and surely everyone will want full power from all sources for their hot lap in qualifying.

  11. This might encourage teams that would normally make it to starting position 9 or 10 to only try to be 11th fastest in Q2.

    1. I thought that too but there is huge sponsorship money involved and I bet they wouldnt like missing that extra 12 minutes of advertising.

      1. They essentially did the same in the past, when they chose not to run in Q3 to save tyres.

        1. Just getting into Q3 means u are talked about, debated over, criticized, all of that is good to advertisers. They dont talk about q2 cars in q3.

          1. It might not seem like much but its a huge deal to the midfield teams.

      2. Hire a streaker with sponsored body paint.

      3. I thought that too but there is huge sponsorship money involved and I bet they wouldnt like missing that extra 12 minutes of advertising.

        this is a joke right?

        1. No, do u understand how advertising works?

  12. I have a better idea, just let all the drivers start on whatever tyres they want.

    1. How can this be a better idea? This would actually make sense, so clearly your idea is much worse.

    2. That fails the sensible test, if it’s sensible it’s not allowed.

    3. Don’t you bring your lofty notions of common sense thinking to Formula 1.

    4. @racer They don’t like this because the faster cars will start from pole, then pull away at the start and increase the field spread. They like having the handicap there to keep the field bunched up.

      It’s not ideal, but it’s better than phantom cautions, I suppose.

  13. Changes to Q1/3 session length seems a bit pointless, I don’t recall there been a situation with teams struggling to do 2 runs in Q3 when it’s been 10mins.

    If there so desperate to see all 10 cars run in Q3 despite the fact we won’t see them all on TV anyway, Just take away the rule forcing anybody to start on the tyres they qualify on & give everyone in Q3 2 brand new sets of soft’s. Simple!

  14. I’m not sure which way to lean on this. Lets wait and see how it works on track. It could just work. However, I don’t think Q3 needs to be extended. Just shorten Q1 alone. The problem in Q3 is not a lack of time, its trying to time yourself to be the last driver to cross the line. Doesn’t matter if its 10 or 12 minutes, you’re just trying to get that minuscule advantage for being the last car on track. You could give them an hour and they won’t go for maximum attack until the final 2-3 minutes.

    1. They did give them an hour, and you are right.

  15. …and the jokes keep on coming courtesy of the fia

    1. Yep. Now they will sit out q3 to save their new options……

  16. Michael Brown (@)
    12th March 2014, 20:03

    Did the ‘start on the tires you qualified on’ rule actually benefit F1? From what I’ve seen, most of the drivers below 10th place choose the option tire to start on. After a wet qualifying, the vast majority of drivers still choose to start on the option when given a free tire choice.

  17. I wish they’d just given the top ten an extra set, and let everybody pick their race tyres on Sunday.

    But rules have to be over-complicated these days, and the back half of the grid have to be rewarded for being rubbish with an extra set of race tyres, and the field artificially closed up in yet another stupid way.

    I hope, with the extra set, teams won’t try to race slowly to save tyres, and we’ll see more drivers whack a fresh set on late in the race and go for it.

    1. With the fuel restrictions in place, it won’t be easy for teams to go flat out even if they have enough sets of tyres towards the end.

  18. I understood it fairly easily the first time I read about it, but the problem is it’s a bandage when the cure – giving every team one new set per session, and letting everyone start on fresh rubber regardless of qualification, is simple and effective.

    Why not streamline qualification further, then? Change qualifying to two sessions, (bottom half eliminated after Q1), and increase the time. Say, half an hour for the first session, and twenty minutes for the second. That’d give enough time in Q2 for two two-lap runs.

    With just one extra set per qualifying session, you’d see some strategy play out as well. Perhaps the teams expecting to be in the final session would use scrubbed options in Q1 on their first run, and sit waiting to see where the bubble time is, and then do their late run on their fresh set. In the final session, they’d still have enough options out of their full allotment that they could go through both sets without worries about the race. The lower midfield and backmarkers could push all-out in Q1 and force the hands of the faster teams, as well. Who knows, in degrading conditions through the final qualy, a lucky low-midfielder could snag pole with an early hot lap – easier with only two rounds instead of three.

    It wouldn’t be gimmicky, but the results of something so straightforward would be even more exciting. Kind of like Yas Marina – a great (albeit flat) track could have been designed easily on that plot of land, by doing something straightforward and making it more like a classic circuit. Instead, we have the turn combinations of 5-7, 8-9, and 11-13 designed to inhibit passing, while 15-19 could have easily been designed to flow more like natural esses. Both tyre rules and track designs are what happens when those in charge decide to force unneeded complication where simplicity would be widely appreciated.

    Considering the forum piece from yesterday, silliness like this makes me wonder how healthy F1 would be had Tony George not created the Indy Racing League. Bernie and Mosley got lucky, and now Bernie and Todt don’t care because all they see is a monopoly on “Premier.”

  19. Having a 13 minute qualifying session followed by a 12 minute qualifying session just seems like a way to troll the TV commentators.

    1. @kanil – It’s the Q1 which is shortened by 2 minutes, not Q2. So we have Q1, Q2 and Q3 lasting for 18, 15 and 12 minutes respectively.

      1. @ioago Ahh, yes. It seems I read that wrong. Thank you. That makes more sense.

        1. @toiago And then I butchered your user name. Seems my typing is as good as my reading.

  20. F1, the new kings in sport entertainment. Roll over WWE you have been well an truly beaten.
    Still waiting for the compulsory clown shoes to make driving a bit more challenging and to improve the ‘show’. F1 is a complete joke.

  21. Oh Lord, not again!
    Really this complicated???

  22. So afraid of change most of u are, its not the end of the world trust me.

  23. Tweaking the tyre allocations may well make the on-track action more interesting for the paying spectators and more attractive to the TV channels that, in effect, pay for this sport. But the poor TV viewer is going to have to sit through this rule being explained in Q2 and Q3 for every race, and it can’t be explained quickly with a simple on screen graphic. So the repetition (For the new viewer!) will become tedious and insulting to the intelligence.

    I do not look forward to being treated like a simpleton by my TV every other Saturday, I get enough of that from my kids.

  24. I think this is better, but honestly they shouldn’t force them to start on any tyre. They should just start on whatever tyres they. Also, why give an extra option tyre to all the drivers who don’t make Q3? It should just be for those who do…

  25. money (@carlos-danger)
    12th March 2014, 21:23

    more complicated rules written by some pencil pushing FIA bureaucrat.

  26. Every driver will also be allocated an additional set of “option” compound tyres. Those who reach Q3 may only use it in that part of qualifying, and those who do not reach Q3 may only use them during the race.

    What? This is the most ridiculous solution they could’ve come up with. What the hell is up with FIA and this whole giving an advantage to some over others stupidity the past few years?

    So, if I understand it correctly, those who qualify to Q3 will only be able to use the extra set of option in Q3. However, those who qualify outside of Q3 get an extra set for the race and have the free tyre choice option. Sounds legit.

  27. This is actually great. I’m not sure why there’s so much criticism on here really. Drivers now have no excuse to not set a time at all in Q3, and it makes Q2 arguably more strategy based for the top teams.

  28. There are a few issues with this:

    1. Drivers who don’t qualify as well are rewarded with a set of new option tyres for the race. It could be argued that in some situations it would be better to start 11th on new tyres with an extra fresh set of options than 10th on slightly worn tyres without the bonus set.

    2. As Q3 drivers have to start the race on Q2 tyres, teams expecting to make Q3 will do minimal running in Q2 to reduce the wear on these tyres. This means less action in Q2 and could lead to some drivers being ‘caught out’ and failing to qualify for Q3.

    3. Increased costs of having to produce and bring another 44 tyres to each Grand Prix in an era where F1 is concerned with cutting costs.

    4. Overly-complicated rules that could distance the sport from some viewers.

    I really don’t see why the rules couldn’t be that only Q3 drivers gain an extra set of options to use only in Q3 – thus eliminating the benefits for some drivers to sit out Q3 as seen last year. Also, scrap the rule where Q3 drivers must start on Q2 tyres as this adds absolutely nothing to the race spectacle and is just rule-making for the sake of it.

    This would give: no drivers sitting out Q3, no drivers runnning as little as possible in Q2, reduced costs, simplified rules for viewers.

  29. I think the way this is expected to work is this:
    – A driver chooses a fast tyre for Q2 and does a very fast lap early on – just enough to be in the top 10 and so qualify for Q3.
    – In Q3 itself, he can go hell for leather to get the best grid position he can, knowing that he is not obliged to use those tyres at the start of the race

  30. Why does everyone think starting on fresh rubber is better? Seems like people need a bit of a lesson on the benefits of having a set of scrubbed tyres.

    I’d really like to see the stats on people who’ve started 10th, not set a time, and their subsequent result. I bet it’s no where near as much of an advantage as people think.

    Whole lot of complaining for nothing here and think its a good move to remove this “gimmick” strategy.

  31. Why don’t they just simply delete the rule of starting on the tyre you qualified on, hence invalidating any advantage gained from it (and simplifying the system immensely for the casual fanbase)?

    That should encourage running simply by the fact there is therefore nothing to gain from not setting a time strategically, unless you are simply unable to challenge for anything higher than 10th. The only exceptions would be in the case of races where tyre degradation is appalling, which should hopefully be minimised anyway on the basis of Pirelli’s claims of making “harder” specification tyres for this season. Otherwise, you should still have new primes which are generally the preferred choice, and you could quite simply also remove the rule which states you have to use both compounds.

    It may reduce strategic variety slightly but it would simplify the racing for the infrequent viewer, remove an element of artificiality which will appease us dedicated followers, and should (in theory) result in a good qualifying format in practice.

    1. @vettel1 To keep the field tight (and produce more overtaking). If the front-runners can start on their preferred tyre, it’ll allow them to just pull away from the pack.

      1. Wouldn’t that be the case now with the usage of Q2 tyres? No front runner would push the limits in Q2. So the Q2 tyre would be good enough for them during the race start, though it might wear out 2-3 laps earlier due to the usage during qualifying.

  32. This seems like a good change to me. It discourages teams that either didn’t set a Q3 time or did an extremely slow one.

    As far as there being an alleged advantage to starting 11th or back, this really is no different than last year with the top 10 all starting on used tires. As I read the rule, only the top 10 get the extra tires and they’re only good for Q3.

    Besides, when is the last time a driver that started outside the top 10 won anyway?

    The only change I see here is that teams at the very top will not be able to save an extra set of options by getting through Q2 on primes.

    Can’t wait to see it in action!

    1. Issue here is that ALL teams are given extra set of tyres for Q3 in advance and those who don’t make it to Q3 can use the extra set in the race. This makes P11 a better starting position than P10 which was already the case – you already got fresh tyres and the cleaner side of the track for P11. Now you get an extra set of option tyres too.

      They should have made all Q2 runners to start the race on their Q2 tyres.

  33. There are some surprisingly negative responses to this! It looks complicated all written down like that, but the only major change (Q2 tyres to be used for race) is surely going to have a positive effect.

    10 drivers going for pole is much better than say, 6 drivers. Also, Q3 is the most entertaining out of the lot, so more Q3 can only be a good thing. We’ll see how it goes!

  34. The rule is a patch to q3 not running but it still puts the weak teams in disadvantage as they are not going to be able to put in the runs to get to higher stages so you will see instead of a race to Q3 and then not running the midfield will aim to 11th, so in other words another dreary day for the FIA after their increased role in F1 has started, they’ve ended the wrc, LeMans and now F1.

  35. Odd change, but I don’t see much of a problem with it. 2 extra minutes for Q3 is a particularly good call, having just 10 minutes wasn’t enough at long tracks like Spa.

  36. So the pole sitter starts the race with a scrubbed set of tyres, whereas >10th grid position gains an additional set of tyres for race. How is this rule an incentive for Q3 contenders? I can’t understand. Can someone make it clear?

  37. What they should have done was to ask everyone to return the extra set of option tyres given for Q3 after qualifying. This would mean teams that didn’t run in Q3 (P11-P22 and those who decide not to run in Q3) should return fresh tyres while those who ran would return used ones.

  38. So if I read correctly, drivers who qualify for Q3 have this ‘extra’ set of tires to set a time in Q3; which they will use to start the race on (if they set the fastest lap in it). And they have a ‘fresh’ set of options which they can run, presumably in the last stint of the race?

    And Drivers who are out in Q2 will have the ‘extra’ set, ‘set’ meant for Q3 and the ‘set’ they put their Q2’s fastest lap?

    Think it might be advantageous to drop out of Q2 if the ‘options’ are going to last for more than 15 laps in low-medium fuel loads?

    Also I am happy that they haven’t removed the clause to make drivers start on the same set of tires as their fastest qualifying lap. Makes qualifying a bit more challenging than just pounding rounding the track destroying the tires.

  39. Good changes, everyone will come around to this once they see it in action on Saturday; more action in Q3, the top 10 will be starting on fresher tyres as they wont have leant on them so hard in Q2, and the rest of the grid will have extra rubber to chase with during the race, making for better racing.

  40. I agree with this sentiment OF @petebaldwin. However, there is a potential downside.

    Complexity aside (and it’s not really hard for the viewer to understand what’s happening, though I can understand it could be hard for a casual view to understand why) there is the potential for the top teams to still get through Q2 on the more durable tyre and then qualifying on the sprint tyre in Q3, meaning we see less of the tactically sound drives moving drivers up through ranks during the race (a la Perez at Sauber). This not only removes some great drives (including good overtaking during their sprint phase), but some opportunities for those teams lower down the pecking order to gain points (and therefore much needed funding).

    Was it Valencia a couple of years back where the entire podium changed on the last lap? A thrilling end to what traditionally was a dull race, and the track and race there has improved since. Driving conservatively may not show the car and driver combo at it’s best but it may be the best way for that team to finish highest, and that’s part of racing, getting the best from the hand you’ve been dealt. As has been stated over many seasons now there is (and always has been) the need to combine many factors of racing such as fuel, tyres, aero and mech grip to name a few.

    As I see it (with no real idea on how the teams are affected in ‘real’ terms) racing with your head in a strategic way to gain points and funding is a way the mid tier teams were able to decrease the gap to the top teams, a way of trying to level the playing field a bit and we could see less of that this year, leading to a greater gulf between the top tier and the rest in future years.

    To be honest I’d still go back to a single qualifying period with finding space on the track a part of the team aspect. But Q2 tyres to start the race with would seem to add some extra strategy.

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