IndyCar have explained how their new heat-based qualifying system will work for the race at the 1.4km (0.875 mile) Iowa race this year.
I’m not a fan of over-complicated formats and that exactly what we’ve got here. In short:
1. Every driver does a single qualifying lap. They have the track to themselves and their running order is chosen at random.
2. The top six advance directly to the final heat and start in positions one to six respectively.
3. The first 50-lap heat involves the drivers who finished 8th, 10th, 12th, etc… The top two finishers in this start eighth and tenth in the final heat. The rest take positions 12, 14, 16 etc… on the final grid.
4. The second 50-lap heat involves the drivers who finished 7th, 9th, 11th, etc… The top two finishers in this start seventh and ninth in the final heat. The rest take positions 11, 13, 15 etc… on the final grid.
5. The final 50-lap heat involves the ten drivers selected above and decides the top ten places on the grid.
6. The top 12 on the final grid are awarded points as follows: 9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1-1-1-1
(I think I’ve got that all right. Have a look here and tell me if you think otherwise!)
Obviously this is nothing like as bad as picking the starting positions out of a hat as they did at Texas two years ago. But does it really have to be this complicated?
Still if it gives fans better value for money from their tickets and puts more bums on seats then it’s a good thing.