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Proposed Qualifying Likely to be Accepted

The proposed knockout format for Formula One qualifying looks set to be voted through in time for the 2006 season after it was backed by several team bosses and drivers on Sunday

The format will see the five slowest cars knocked out after 15 minutes of low-fuel running and five more after 30 minutes then the remaining cars will fill with race fuel and have a 20-minute shoot out to decide the front of the grid.

Renault boss Flavio Briatore, who proposed the changes, believes it will be a hit with fans, and he told Autosport-Atlas: "It is quite easy for the public to understand, like you have in the Olympics.

"All people do the run then five are out, then you have the semi final and then the final. You see who is the quickest driver then for the supergrid the ten cars go out with the fuel and tyres they start the race.

"I don't think it will get support from everyone because every time you do something to try to improve you have someone against so I hope there is someone with a brain on the Formula One Commission."

The changes have been the subject of a long discussion between the teams and Formula One commercial rights holder Bernie Ecclestone and there will be relief that a solution is close to being reached.

Briatore revealed the team bosses will meet with Max Mosley in China on Saturday to discuss the raft of proposals before they are put before the Formula One Commission on October 24.

McLaren boss Ron Dennis is yet to fully digest the proposals but said: "As long as the race is started with the fuel with which you qualified, we are open to any qualifying alternative as long as it does not favour one tyre company.

"I think it is unfair to penalise one company, it doesn't matter which one, by changing the qualifying rules in a manner that makes all the work that has been done this year obsolete."

Other plans include a change in timing of a Grand Prix weekend, with two one-hour practices on a Friday and one on a Saturday morning before qualifying, with no third cars allowed for teams in the Friday testing.

The third car, allowed for just the bottom six teams, is seen as a big advantage and BAR-Honda boss Nick Fry, whose team would have the use of a third car next year, said: "I am not sure that one is going to fly."

There are also suggestions to scrap all spare cars, limit the number of people in a pit stop to 12, with only one person working on each wheel, and a ban on tyre warmers that bring the tyres up to temperature.

Briatore believes a ban on the spare car could prove a problem with sponsors, because both race cars must be put into parc ferme after qualifying and do not come out until just before the start of the race.

"No third car, I don't care, because I don't think anyone uses the T-car this year," said Briatore. "But we need a show car. For the sponsors, when we have the car in parc ferme there is no car in the garage.

"That means, when you have the paddock walk around there is no car. We need one car. If it is the show car, I don't care, but it is important they give me one car because it is not good for the sponsors to see the garage empty."

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