FIA Clarify New Qualifying Rules

Formula One's ruling body have clarified the new qualifying rules for the 2003 season, explaining the procedure that will take place during the two hour-long sessions that will determine the Grand Prix grids.

FIA Clarify New Qualifying Rules

Formula One's ruling body have clarified the new qualifying rules for the 2003 season, explaining the procedure that will take place during the two hour-long sessions that will determine the Grand Prix grids.

The FIA have introduced sweeping changes to this year's qualifying format, with a driver given only one flying lap to set his time. Qualifying will now take place over two days, with Friday's times determining the running order of the important Saturday session, which will determine the qualifying positions.

Revised qualifying regulations:

Each driver will be given 30 seconds to join the track; this will be signalled by the pit exit light turning green. The first green light will be shown at 14.00.

As each driver starts his flying lap, other than those 5th, 10th and 15th in sequence, the pit exit light will be turned green for 30 seconds for the following driver.

The pit exit light for the 6th, 11th and 16th cars in sequence will be turned green for 30 seconds when the previous car enters the pits after completing three laps. If the 5th, 10th or 15th car in sequence enters the pits before completing three laps the pit exit light for the following car will be turned green one minute later.

Any driver failing to leave the pits in the allotted 30 seconds, for any reason, will not be permitted to take any further part in that qualifying session. Under these circumstances, the green light for the next car in sequence will be turned on two minutes later.

If a car stops on its out lap, the green light for the following car will be shown when the stopped car is in a safe place. The driver waiting to go out will be given at least two minutes warning before the lights are turned green to allow him to leave the pits. The stopped driver will not be able to take any further part in that qualifying session.

If a car stops on its flying lap red flags will be displayed around the circuit and the other car on the track must enter the pits. Under normal circumstances the pit exit light will be turned green five minutes after the signal to stop was given and the car which returned to the pits will be permitted a further attempt to qualify. The driver who has stopped will not be permitted to take any further part in that qualifying session. Under these circumstances the car entering the pits may refuel and change tyres, five minutes will also be added to the session time.

Other than any car required to enter the pits if the session is stopped, any car returning to the pits without completing three laps will not be permitted to join the track again. Any such car will not normally be required in the weighing area or parc ferme.

If, in the opinion of the stewards, a driver deliberately stops on the circuit or impedes another driver in any way, his qualifying time from the relevant session will be cancelled.

If one or more cars fail to record a time during the first session they will start their second qualifying session laps in first session order reversed.

If one or more cars fail to record a time during the second session they will start the race in second session order reversed.

All cars entering the pits after completing three laps will be required to stop in the weighing area for technical checks. After weighing, the scrutineers will then move the cars to the central FIA parc ferme.

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