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GP2 split qualifying at Monaco – more dumbing down?

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This topic contains 25 replies, has 19 voices, and was last updated by Avatar of Harry Westwood Harry Westwood 2 years, 3 months ago.

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    Avatar of Keith Collantine
    Keith Collantine

    GP2 will split its 26-car field for qualifying at Monaco this year. Details via a press release from iSport:

    On Thursday qualifying will be split into two groups, with each group out on the track for a total of 14 minutes each. The overall driver with the fastest time, will then start on pole in the Feature Race on Friday.

    The groups will be determined by their number, i.e. odds in group 1 and evens in group 2. This will see Marcus Ericsson up against the current leader in the Championship, Davide Valsecchi, and Jolyon Palmer in the same group as Giedo Van der Garde.

    This follows the chaos during last year’s qualifying session:

    Now I’m not pretending for one second that there weren’t some potentially serious incidents there. But I think splitting the field into two is an over-reaction and I’m disappointed to see GP2 go down this route.

    This wasn’t the first time GP2 qualifying had been run with 26 cars at Monaco. By taking a tough line with the drivers and warning them not to back off excessively on their in-laps and promising harsh penalties if they did, I think they could have prevented a repeat of last year’s nonsense.

    There’s also the question of how this diminishes GP2 as a place where young drivers train to race in F1. There will be 24 cars on the track during Q1 in F1 on Saturday, and if we had a full entry of 13 teams there would be 26. Nor does GP2 have F1′s problem of some cars being several seconds slower than others.

    Split qualifying was considered for F1 in 2010 when the field size increased from 20 to 24 but thankfully was dismissed:

    It’s not clear from the press release how they’re going to sort the times out but it’s difficult to see how they could do it without potentially disadvantaging some drivers and over-rewarding others.

    I think GP2 has taken the easy way out here and come up with an unsatisfactory solution. Frankly, it’s another example of the sport being dumbed down.

    Avatar of BasCB

    It’s not clear from the press release how they’re going to sort the times out but it’s difficult to see how they could do it without potentially disadvantaging some drivers and over-rewarding others.

    Yeah, just taking the times and putting them next to each other will mean that those in one of the groups will be heavily disadvantaged, especially at a track like Monaco. In Barcelona the fastest times (save second on the grid) were all set during the first 20 minutes of the session, when there was still F1 rubber on track @keithcollantine

    Avatar of Andy Redden
    Andy Redden

    First time I’ve seen the GP2 quali from Monaco last year. Must say that is some of the most amateurish driving I’ve ever seen.

    Avatar of Fer no.65
    Fer no.65

    I rather have people being slow because of traffic than because the track improved in the last 15 minutes and they were all a lot faster…

    Avatar of Ciaran

    Normally I’d be strongly against split qualifying, but after watching that video I’m all for it. Keith, you mentioned how GP2 should be showing young drivers’ talents, but all last year’s quali session proved was that half of them shouldn’t have been put in a race car.

    Avatar of Keith Collantine
    Keith Collantine


    last year’s quali session proved was that half of them shouldn’t have been put in a race car

    Then give them bans, don’t dumb down the sport.

    Avatar of Bradley Downton
    Bradley Downton

    Last year was abysmal to say the least, but this is such a bad idea.
    1. Recently they’ve had bad weather in Monaco, if it’s dry for one part of the session but not the other, thats ridiculously unfair.
    2. Surely the track will change, whether this is for worse or better, it’s going to favour one group.
    3. How will they choose who goes first? This could lead to serious implications of favourtism.
    They might as well just cancel qualifying and make a grid up themselves, as this is basically what they’re going to be doing anyway!


    Some of the GP2 driving I’ve seen over the years has been extremely n00by to say the least. Laughably bad. I don’t think saving the drivers from themselves is that bad an idea, unless people actually want to see more carnage?

    Avatar of Vincent Ouwehand
    Vincent Ouwehand

    Seeing the footage of last year i am surprised to see Grosjean in F1, 2 not so clever moments out there. Then again, the level of drivers in general was so low (from this footage) that he might have been the best option.

    In regards to splitting qualify, i can see why they want to do that, but not the way they do now.

    Either use the championship standings, giving the top 14 drivers Q1 and bottom 14 Q2 or use the result of qualify in the last race and take the fastest 14 there for session 1 and the slowest for session 2.

    But educating all of the drivers to be less of a dumb ass would probably still be better then splitting the qualify.

    Avatar of bosyber

    Being a bit late to the thread, there isn’t much more for me to do than echo the concerns of all you who came before me about why this isn’t the solution to what we saw last year in Monaco. If MSC is punished for actions in an F1 FP3, how can’t they make clear to drivers that impeding others will have a harsh penalty in this tight qualifying.

    Let’s hope track it rains consistently so no rubber is usefully left after F1 in both sessions. Or maybe that it goes exactly as we fear and gives unreal results to make the organisers realise their mistake :-/ That would mean a wasted quali for GP2.

    Avatar of matt90

    Certainly seems like a lame decision to me.

    Avatar of Roald

    It’s got absolutely nothing to do with dumbing down. It’s a small circuit where laps are short and you can easily get in each other’s way. Sure, there are just as many F1 cars on circuit saturday, but we can not expect the same standard from GP2 drivers. Just split the session and get them to focus on their fastest possible lap without frustrating collegeaus who lack the talent or experience to stay out of the way.

    Avatar of Keith Collantine
    Keith Collantine

    there are just as many F1 cars on circuit saturday, but we can not expect the same standard from GP2 drivers

    That is the standard they should be aspiring to in a championship which prides itself as the feeder series to F1. Dumbing down is exactly what it is.

    Avatar of Paul Hadsley
    Paul Hadsley

    I don’t think anything is fair in Monaco….

    You take your chances and do your best, the rest is somehow up to fate.

    Yes this split is unfair, but so was the amount of red flags in last year’s session.
    A lot of drivers must’ve lost hot laps to the sudden red appearing, let alone those that were crashed through no fault of their own.

    Both ways of doing it are unfair but you’ve gotta get through it and not let it phase you, as true future champions will.

    Avatar of Bullfrog

    I see the Renault 3.5 World Series has split qualifying too, and a bit longer (25mins each) according to the Monaco event timetable on Have they also had trouble here in the past?

    With just half the cars out there it’s still a gamble at Monaco. Even the F1 guys with their driver trackers and roomfuls of engineers will get caught out by traffic. Some teams are better at timing their runs than others, and this applies to the feeder series too. But the FIA should warn all these drivers anyway they’ll get sent to the back with slapped wrists and a talking-to from Nigel Mansell, if they don’t hurry up during their out and in-laps.

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