Blow to F1 Q4 plan as current qualifying format included in 2020 rules

Plans for Formula 1 to adopt a fourth qualifying segment have been dealt a blow, after sporting regulations for 2020 were published with the current format in place

Blow to F1 Q4 plan as current qualifying format included in 2020 rules

Teams have discussed a proposal to move to a new four-session format, which Liberty Media was keen on because it believed it would improve the amount of time cars spent on track in qualifying and increase the chances of frontrunners getting caught out.

Under that proposed system, four cars would be eliminated at the end of the Q1, Q2 and Q3 segments, leaving eight to contest Q4.

The top eight would then start on the same tyre they used to set their Q4 times with.

But amid scepticism from teams about the benefits, and concerns that limits on available tyres could actually hamper running, a number of simulations were completed to see what impact the change would have.

Those simulations left teams to conclude that, without extra tyres, there was a risk of Q4 becoming anti-climactic - with drivers perhaps only getting one run and some electing not to run at all.

"It doesn't make a lot of sense to us," said Racing Point technical director Andy Green, when asked about the analysis of the Q4 plan.

"There's a lack of tyres, and it seems to promote the top three teams even further ahead. That to me doesn't seem like closing the field up and making for better racing.

"Qualifying is probably one of the least broken parts. For the moment the qualifying spectacle works, and it does what we set out for it to do all those years ago.

"We've tried tweaking it a few times, and it hasn't really made it any better."

A meeting between teams and the FIA in China stalled pushes to change the format, and without the majority support needed to get the rules changed it appears F1 will stick with its current system.

F1's 2020 sporting regulations have now been published, and under the rules the only way the qualifying system can now be changed is with the unanimous support of all 10 teams - something that is unlikely.

The FIA's Sporting Regulations state: "These Sporting Regulations apply to the championship taking place in the calendar year referred to in the title ("the championship") and may only be changed after 30 April of the preceding year with the unanimous agreement of all competitors, save for changes made by the FIA for safety reasons which may come into effect without notice or delay."

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