The most stupid type of qualifying?

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    I’ve been thinking about qualifying lately, and what might be the worst kind of qualifying format i have seen in my 25 years of following F1.

    To me it has to be 2005 season with 1 lap qulaifying on a Saturday and then reverse grid qualifying on a Sunday morning before the race.

    Can anyone think of a worse format? It can be in other formulae of motorsport.

    At the same what would you say is the best format and in which series? Could aspects of qualifying from othe forms of racing be used in Formula 1?

    I persoanlly would like to see a toca style shootout for Q3 where the slowest car on each lap is eliminated.

    Your thoughs please.


    Dan Thorn

    I agree, the ‘aggregate’ system used for the first part of 2005 was terrible. Also the pre-2003 system of an hour session with 12 laps was usually horribly boring in the first 40 mins or so, unless it was raining. Then you got crazy grids resulting in things like Barrichello leading most of the race in a Stewart (France 99).

    I like the current system the way it is actually – it has all the exitement of drivers on low fuel really going for it in the dying seconds but there’s still intrigue in every part of it.

    I also liked the one lap system, massive pressure on the drivers to perform straight out of the box and you got to see every lap. The only problem was that if it rained it was hugely unfair and there was nothing you could do about it.



    Can some explain to me how the 2005 qulaifying worked please?


    Dan Thorn

    Drivers had to do a single lap on saturday afternoon, and another lap on sunday morning. Both lap times were then added together to give their combined qualifying time. It was hugely unpopular and was dropped after 6 or so races.



    How about the 2003 format? They had a (televised) one-lap qualifying session on Friday, with which did nothing but determine the order for Saturday’s one-lap session. Felt like a huge waste of time to me.


    Ned Flanders

    The start of 2004 was the worst. An entire session of single lap qualifying just to decide the order drivers went out in the main session. Then a two minute gap followed by qualifying proper. The entire thing lasted the best part of two hours, half of it was irrelevant, and pretty much all of it was tedious.

    But the one redeeming factor of single lap qualifying was that it made for some interesting races. There were plenty of occasions where the best drivers had a bad lap and had to fight there way from the back on raceday. Suzuka 2005 was the best example of this, that race wouldn’t have been anywhere near as good without single lap qualifying


    Tom L.

    I think I agree with Dan on pre-2003 qualifying – in the first half an hour, everyone would just be sitting waiting for Rosset, Takagi and co. to go and ‘clean up the track’ so they could have their own run!



    I’d agree that aggregate quali was the worst.

    The 12-lap system, while not as good as the current knockout quali, is the second-best for me. It allowed the really good drivers to have duels for pole as well.

    The one I remember clearly was Schumacher vs. Hakkinen at Japan 2000 – pole went back and forth, back and forth, and no one knew who’d have it until the very end.



    Has to be having the deciding part of qualifying Sunday morning. A lot of people wouldn’t know who was on pole till they watched the race coverage.



    I liked that system too Journeyer.

    I think the noughties was the worst decade for qualifying. It was constantly fiddled about with and changed. 2005 was daft. 2003 was pointless and the definition of boring.

    I like the idea of drivers just having one chance but then it gets into the silly grey area of what order they go out in or is there a set time and they just take to the track when there’s a gap. This system is much better; it still punishes mistakes and has the issue of traffic, the knockout system provides some entertainment too (although this year has been predictable but that’s just because of the teams rather than the system).



    One lap qualifying in general wasn’t great. It was dull to watch and it was slightly silly when you would have cars running 20 laps down in the races after problems, just to move themselves up the order for the next race.

    What was the worst bit about it though was Max would come up with some new genius idea every 6 months or so to “make it more exciting”. Most of which turned out to be terrible.

    It did have its advantages though, such as mixed up grids due to changeable weather (though that wasn’t particularly fair and was one of the big issues with it), or drivers blowing their lap. Theoretically it was also meant to be impossible to block someone on a flying lap – though Sato still managed it! Knock out qualifying is much better though, its been one of the best rule changes we’ve had in the past few years.

    I hope they keep the current system for a few years yet, in general it was silly how many times qualifying changed in the naughties. Though we did end up with the amusing situation when Ralf Schumacher didn’t understand that he’d been knocked out of a session!



    The current system has a huge flaw as bad as any of the awful systems we’ve had in the past.

    Q1 is a total waste of time for spectators, more than 20 minutes to decide the bottom 7 places is real drag when you consider that in normal circumstances, we know who 6 of them will be.

    Add to that circumstances like Monaco this year, where one driver removes himself from contention, and you know exactly what will happen in Q1, making it interesting only to those who take a real interest in the Lotus/Virgin/HRT battle.



    John I’m not sure the system is at fault (perhaps they could jiggle the knock out zones a bit) but the teams themselves. most of the time it works, 09 was thrilling and we didn’t know what to expect but when there are teams so far off the pace this year then it is predictable


    Ned Flanders

    Yeah Steph, it’s kind of unfortunate with the new team situation that Q1 is basically a waste of time, but the knockout idea is a good one. Imagine if 5 drivers went out instead- it would be genuinely exciting to see which of the minnows could squeeze through to a session with the big boys.

    For a while now I’ve been banging on about how F1 should tinker with the system a bit. Why not have more different sessions, and make them shorter? The exciting bit is always the last few minutes, so why bother with long 20 minute sessions? Also, the more knockout’s, the greater the chance of a top driver making a mistake and ending up out of place on the grid.

    Here’s a possible proposal for 2011, assuming there will be 26 team on the grid.

    Q1- 26 cars, 20 go through – 10 minutes

    (3 minute gap for TV)

    Q2- 20 cars, 15 go through – 10 minutes

    (3 minute gap for TV)

    Q3- 15 cars, 10 go through – 10 minutes

    (3 minute gap for TV)

    Q4- 10 cars, 5 go through – 5 minutes

    (3 minute gap for TV)

    Q5- 5 car shootout for pole – 5 minutes



    “The current system has a huge flaw as bad as any of the awful systems we’ve had in the past.

    Q1 is a total waste of time for spectators, more than 20 minutes to decide the bottom 7 places is real drag when you consider that in normal circumstances, we know who 6 of them will be.”

    That’s only because we happen to have three new teams. Last year, when 5 were eliminated it wasn’t predictable at all. And it won’t be predictable once the Lotuses, Virgins and HRTs catch up to the established teams.

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