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”

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

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

  3. 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.

  4. 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…

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

    more complicated rules written by some pencil pushing FIA bureaucrat.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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!

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. 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?

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. 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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