FIA confirms Q3 changes to encourage more running

2014 F1 season

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. 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.

    • Journeyer (@journeyer) said on 13th March 2014, 3:15

      @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.

      • RV (@zenren) said on 13th March 2014, 4:49

        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.

  2. Guelph (@guelph) said on 12th March 2014, 22:53

    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!

    • RV (@zenren) said on 13th March 2014, 4:43

      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.

  3. electrolite (@electrolite) said on 12th March 2014, 23:44

    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!

  4. 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.

  5. Ciaran (@ciaran) said on 12th March 2014, 23:57

    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.

  6. Kiran Sripathy (@kiransripathy) said on 13th March 2014, 0:42

    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?

  7. RV (@zenren) said on 13th March 2014, 4:32

    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.

  8. evered7 (@evered7) said on 13th March 2014, 5:27

    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.

  9. Sam Andrew said on 13th March 2014, 9:26

    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.

  10. sauzedoulx (@sauzedoulx) said on 13th March 2014, 13:39

    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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