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Schmidt's F1 blog on the new qualification system: mistakes without necessity

Wolfgang Wilhelm
Schmidt's F1 blog on the qualification system
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D this was the classic shot in the Oven. A quick shot that was not thought through in every detail. Now there is the receipt for it. The new qualification format was destroyed by criticism. It could have been a one-off appearance. When the makers of Formula 1 jump over their own shadow and see their mistake.

It all started with the fact that they explained the format incorrectly. The measure should not improve the qualification, but the race. In the hope that time pressure will provoke mistakes and mix up the starting line-up.

Framework conditions for KO qualification are missing

The tragedy is that the mode basically delivers the potential for maximum tension and surprise. But there is a lack of framework conditions for it to function as intended. If the tires were stable and allowed faster times with every lap with decreasing gasoline weight, then the track would also go haywire. The drivers would have to drive constantly to save themselves from ending up in last place.

We all know that these tires will never exist with Pirelli. But even with the current minute torches, the principle could provide voltage. If it hadn't been made more complicated than necessary without a need. Why do Q1, Q2 and Q3 have different entry times of 7, 6 and 5 minutes? If the first elimination phase were five minutes in all three segments, the time pressure would increase the error rate. If it rains, this phase could be extended by a minute so that everyone has a fair chance to drive a flying lap.

What is even more incomprehensible is that the elimination phases of 90 seconds do not always apply. If the last driver is sorted out in Q1 and Q2, then he is allowed to drive the started lap to the end. Even if the 90 seconds have long passed. Before that, the following applies: if the clock is on zero, the last person who has just placed last is working. It doesn't matter if he's still on a fast lap. Nobody understands this discrepancy.

Insufficient information for viewers

Actually, it shouldn't be that difficult to inform the viewer at a glance on the TV screen. But here the software experts have too often thought around the corner. Or not understand the mode. The only thing thatSpectators are interested in the remaining time, the ranking at the bottom of the field and whether the potentially endangered drivers are in the pits, on a warm-up lap or on a fast lap.

The remaining time must be recognizable at first glance for example a large number in one corner of the screen. It does not have to be assigned to a specific driver because that driver may no longer be relevant in the next second. The example of Felipe Nasr has shown how quickly a supposedly safe position can become a relegation zone.

Q3 can only be saved by two measures. Either you return to the old system in the top 8 final. Or you give those who made it to the last lap so many sets of soft tires that they theoretically always have fresh rubber available until the end of the training session. That was a suggestion from Lewis Hamilton, for example. Then tactics could no longer be used. The teams would be forced to get the cars back on the road as quickly as possible with fresh tires and enough fuel in the tank. And there would be a showdown until the bitter end.


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