Petition to scrap first qualifying

Some 20 minutes before the first qualifying session at Interlagos, a McLaren-inspired petition wanting its cancellation if conditions remained as bad as in morning practice, was receiving the attention of the drivers

Petition to scrap first qualifying

The problem has arisen partly due to a new regulation this year that says tyre companies may only supply one wet tyre at a grand prix. What then happens is that they produce a tyre that is closer to an intermediate in the knowledge that it will be most suitable in the majority of wet/damp conditions. When there is heavy rain, however, a genuine wet tyre is clearly needed - witness the spins and limited running seen in Friday morning's practice.

The petition is understood to suggest that if the track was as wet when qualifying was due to begin at 2pm local time, then the session should be cancelled and Saturday's qualifying should proceed with the cars coming out in championship order.

The decision to bring just one wet tyre was initially made as a cost-cutting measure but there are clearly instances, such as this one, where it is likely to cause problems.

Paul Stoddart claimed not to have looked at the signatures on the petition nor asked his drivers their verdict, but said: "I could be in the minority but the rules are there and I'm not sure we should be changing them this early. All of this is bound to be discussed at the various meetings next week, but for the moment, if the drivers don't press the pedal to the metal, then they won't go off..."

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