GP2 confirms race format

The organisers of the new GP2 series have ended weeks of speculation about the format of the category's new race weekend by officially confirming that qualifying will form a part of its 2005 race weekends - but that plans are in place for reverse grids

GP2 confirms race format

On the day when the official entry list and provisional calendar were confirmed, series organiser Bruno Michel unveiled the ambitious plans for two races to be featured at every event next year. The organisers had offered teams the possibility of no qualifying at each event, with grid positions decided purely on the finishing order from the last race, but this was rejected.

Although the format has yet to be ratified by the sport's governing body, the FIA, the current timetable for the weekend is



Two 30-minute free practice sessions
One 30-minute qualifying session



1430 - Long race (180km)



1130 - Short race (80km)

Friday's qualifying session will decide the grid for Saturday's race, with Sunday's grid being decided by the finishing order from the long race. The only change will be that the top eight grid positions will be reversed.

The points system has also been confirmed, with the top eight drivers from the long race being awarded points (10, 8, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1) as well as the top six (6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1) from the short race. The fastest driver from qualifying will also be handed two points, with an extra two points up for grabs for the driver who sets the fastest lap in the races.

Michel has said he is encouraged by the development programme undertaken by the GP2 car so far - despite the setback of a high-speed crash suffered by test driver Franck Montagny last month.

"We have reached a good level of performance," said Michel. "The car gets quicker and quicker. What's more, Allan (McNish) broke our lap record at Paul Ricard two weeks ago...by more than a second! Reliability is also very good."

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