Marcus Ericsson, Sauber, Albert Park, 2016

Which qualifying system should F1 use?

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That Formula One’s new qualifying system has failed to win fans over will not come as a surprise to many readers of F1 Fanatic. More than three-quarters of you did not want to see it introduced to begin with.

The verdict among those following the session on F1 Fanatic Live was almost unanimously negative. Criticism was pouring in via comments and on social media before the chequered flag had fallen on Q3 – mostly because the cars had also stopped circulating long before then.

F1’s new qualifying system came about after Bernie Ecclestone proposed a new means of shaking up the grid to stop the Mercedes drivers from starting every race from pole position. The resulting compromise hasn’t worked, and top team principals are already calling for change.

But what should F1 do? Lewis Hamilton suggested asking the sport’s fans for their views – so let’s do just that:

Stick with the current elimination system

Ditching the elimination system immediately would be an embarrassing U-turn. It would also be too hasty: the full implications of the new format won’t be understood until it has been used for at least a few more races, perhaps even an entire season.

Keeping it would give fans and teams alike more time to adjust to it and appreciate its qualities as well as its flaws. Formula One Management didn’t have its television graphics package ready in time for the first race but when it does arrive it may help the latest system find favour.

Go back to the old knock-out system

The strongest argument against the new qualifying format was always that there wasn’t anything wrong with the old one. It was widely understood yet still capable of producing surprise results: the most recent time it was used one of the front-running teams made a mistake and had a car knocked out in Q1.

As a compromise solution the elimination format has clearly failed to present a new obstacle for the front-running teams. Rather, as suggested here previously, it may only have made things easier for them. Going back to the old system will be straightforward and avoid the sport having to explain another new format.

Use the ‘time penalty’ system Ecclestone wanted

F1 ended up with a new qualifying system for 2016 because Ecclestone wanted to introduce a new means of mixing up the grid. The proposal involved running the previous qualifying system then giving drivers a ‘time penalty’ based on their finishing position in the previous race.

For example if a driver won one race and took pole position for the next, they would be given a time penalty moving them down the grid. This would guarantee that F1 would not see the same driver winning every race and starting from pole position in the next one, creating a greater opportunity for uncertainty and varied outcomes.

I say

The best thing to be said about the elimination qualifying format is that it is far better than the idea Ecclestone originally proposed. His ‘time penalty’ plan comes from the same cheap box of tricks as double points.

Ecclestone has often complained that F1’s governance prevents him from doing exactly as he wishes. On this occasion that has served us well, for while elimination qualifying is a hasty compromise it has spared us an even lousier gimmick. ‘Time penalty’ qualifying has the same reek of artificiality as reverse grids.

However elimination qualifying is flawed for many reasons, most of which were apparent long before it was introduced despite the urgings of those who said we should ‘give it a chance’. It’s now had a chance, it failed miserably, and the best thing F1 can do to save face is go back to the previous knockout system without delay.

You say

Which qualifying system should F1 use? Cast your vote below and have your say in the comments.

Which qualifying system do you prefer?

  • None of the above (13%)
  • The proposed 'time penalty' qualifying system (3%)
  • The previous knockout qualifying system (81%)
  • The current elimination qualifying system (4%)

Total Voters: 673

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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  • 189 comments on “Which qualifying system should F1 use?”

    1. i would go back to 12 laps 1hour format from 90s

      1. @pawelf1 Although I think that could provide some good fun I think we would also see Ferrari and Mercedes do a lap or two and call it a day. What tyres are they going to do those laps on anyway…

        1. Give them a new set of tyres every 15 mins. Problem solved.

        2. Make 12 laps mandatory

          1. @melthom I’d rank that idea alongside the fuel token system which incentivized the teams to run around burning fuel for as many laps as possible.

        3. But thats 3 or 6 laps, remember in and outlaps count as full laps. You get 3 runs of 4 or 4 runs of 3 laps

      2. Agree. But in the 90s, it was an empty track for the first 20min.
        So let’s give drivers at least 15-18 laps. Or oblige them to use some laps in the first quarter of the session.

        Nevertheless: the simplier, the better.

        1. That is not true at all…take a look how it was happening back then. Minardis and Arrowses were quite oftem on the track right from the start. And commenters had the time to discuss about novelties as well.

      3. Yeah, absolutely!

      4. @pawelf1 me too. It would give us a better glimpse of the slower cars as well. What’s wrong with giving the drivers the chance to qualify as best as they can. If qualifying is invariably going to decide the racing, that’s Sunday’s and aero wake’s fault not qualifying. Whoever created this could make it work but above all clearly there’s not enough time nor tyres, they wanted the crescendo of the end of each Q session throughout the whole qualifying but you can’t have “love” without “making up”

        1. @pawelf1 @xtwl @racectrl @melthom @bebilou @proteus @peartree

          just a point about the old 1 hour/12 lap format.

          If there going to consider doing something like that they make it the Pre-1993 format as up until 1993 there was no lap limit, It was an hour (Well 2 because we had the Friday session as well) where drivers could do as many laps as they wanted & we did actually get an hour of constant running. The thing that hurt that old 1 hour format was the 12 lap limit & it was thanks to the 12 lap limit that we started seeing cars sitting in the pits & therefore no track action early on as nobody wanted to waste there lap allocation when the track was at its worst.

          All that been said I’d still prefer last year’s knockout system rather than the old 1 hour system because the knockout system is imo by far the best as we get a lot more excitement more often.

          1. @stefmeister

            That’s why i suggest a system were they get allocated a fresh set tyres every 15 mins, maybe forcing them to also return a set to ensure that they use them during that 15 period. Keeps the track action up.

            Removing the number of laps they are allowed to do maybe isn’t a bad idea though – Instead they will be limited by the life of the tyres.

          2. @stefmeister I agree that last year’s format was great, better than 12 laps, the thing is, I don’t need an artificial system for qualifying.

            1. only thing i dislike about last years format is it’s too long. shorten it all up.

      5. Fast teams have a massive advantage plus supply slower teams with a slower less powerful version of their engines. The way I would run this sport would be to undermine that say and well known advantage. I would have unfair rules to create fairness in the sport.
        Qualifying rules:
        First – Limit the supply of tyres to teams according to their strength.
        Second – Q3 strong teams could only use hard compound whilst the slower teams could use soft and as many as they would like.
        Third – Refuelling – slow teams could refuel as they pleased and fast teams only twice throughout the entire qualifying.

        That would create an artificial balance which would be monitored constantly.

        There is too much money at stake and the stronger teams get stronger and the weaker get weaker by default as per the current rules of the game. I wonder why nothing works when it comes to increasing competitiveness. Nothing will ever work.

        1. Boris (@daftmosquito)
          22nd March 2016, 8:21

          Nah, artificial limitations have already brought the sport where it is today!

      6. Here’s a solution: DROP THE PARC FERME AND TIRE LIMITATION RULES! If teams can setup their cars for qualifying and then be allowed to change them again for the race, you might just see some suprises in the order. Let them go out and search for the ultimate lap time. Front runners will make mistakes if they are forced to be on the limit. If you look at F1 history, there are many instances of cars that qualified well but predictabily faded in the race. There are World Champions in the past that were great on race day but were not consistant poll sitters. They were race technicians that new how to make their way through a field.
        If you qualify in race trim, with full tanks, and with the tyres you are going to start the race on, guess what? The order at the end of the first few laps, and the end of the race for that matter, is going to look an awfull lot like qualifying.

      7. An ‘open session’ format is what I kept coming back to, but I’ve had another idea..

        Qualifying is 1 hour long. During that time, each driver must set 3 timed laps, 1 on each of the 3 tyre compounds. The fastest aggregate time is given pole. Drivers can set their times at any point throughout the session, and can set multiple lap times on a particular compound (But only their fastest lap time for each compound will count towards their aggregate). Pirelli would produce a few more sets of each compound for each driver to allow this.

        The big problem with this system is it wouldn’t work during wet sessions. I’m trying to figure something out for that, but I’ve only had that idea for a few minutes so give me time!

      8. 100% agree!

        1. Sorry commented on the wrong post :(

      9. Everyone knows that the most exciting races are the ones caused by a shaken up grid, usually caused by wet qualifying. The obvious thing to do is to reverse the grid from the last race results but this mean qualifying would be redundant. So what we need is a system that keeps the integrity and excitement of qualifying but gives us a shaked up grid. So here it is, ROQ – Race Optimised Qualifying. You can read about it here Basically it a reversed grid split into three sections and those sections are ordered according to final qualifying times. i.e. each driver is battling to get to the front of his section. To add further spice I would add points to first ten in each qualifying (just as in races) and at the end of the season the top ten would be awarded the equivalent of two races worth of points. All details in the document.
        Quite simply it would transform F1 into the spectacle we all crave, overtaking would be the order of the day and those that do it the best will be rewarded. The question is: Is F1 brave enough to ROQ?

      10. 12 laps 1hr but you must do 6 laps in first half hour. eliminate slowest 6 cars in first half hour.

      11. I think the problem with that is the more time and chances you give the teams the more consistent it will be.

        I liked last years system because it created a pressure cooker environment but also kept cars on track.

      12. Simple – go back to the 1990’s format, 12 laps in an hour. Whatever tyres they want, whatever fuel load they want, whenever they want to go for it. Fastest car/driver gets pole. So what if nobody is on the track for the first 30 minutes – when you are at the race live, the suspense is part of the whole weekend experience. Besides, these days it’d give everybody a chance to text their friends. For the TV audience, commentators can fill the time with anecdotal stories and F1 background stuff. Seems to me, F1 is taking too many cues from NASCAR and IndyCar.

      13. Why not have 21 knock out rounds run consequetively! All cars run a single tyre for the whole session and full fuel!
        The top teams will have to pace themselves to keep some tyre life for later on, but stay ahead of the lower teams going all guns blazing early on!?

    2. ColdFly F1 (@)
      19th March 2016, 10:13

      Sorry Sorry Sorry 1000x Sorry.
      I voted ‘current’, only to think that ‘current’ is what we had in 2015.

      Of course (read my previous posts) would I keep the one we had last year as there was nothing wrong with it.

      1. That explains 1 of the 2 votes the elimination style has currently, as to the other voter please explain yourself ;-)

      2. I’m sorry too for siding with Bernie…
        This farce qualification won’t happen if we still use old format added by proposed ‘time penalty’.

      3. Aw, nooooooo!

    3. David Leaney
      19th March 2016, 10:15

      I liked the new format for Q1 but think Q2 & Q3 should go back to the old format.

      1. Apex Assassin
        19th March 2016, 10:56

        It’s not feasible. The tyres can’t last the whole session, there isn’t enough time to service the cars during a session and this was at circuit with a short pitlane and fast lap time. No way this works for Spa or Singapore etc.

        1. I think elimination qualifying worked until Q3 which failed but it’s too soon to be sure. We’ve had plenty of sessions in the past with little action, if Rosberg had a better first lap we could have had a thrilling conclusion.

          I think it would be a shame to scrap it instantly and be guilty of the same knee jerk reaction that we complain about the FIA doing.

    4. Eliminate the elimination qualifying, eliminate Ecclestone, bring back the qualifying we already had that was not broken.

      Look out for a worse fiasco than this with the 2017 regs. It seems many mostly universally accepted ideas on how to improve F1 are being pushed aside in favor of some very questionable proposals that most experts feel are the opposite direction F1 should be going. Much like this qualifying debacle.

      1. “Eliminate Ecclestone” lol.
        Or every 90s a different driver slaps Berny about the face with a wet kipper. That would be great for ‘the show’.

        1. Hahahaha the thought of that made me cry with laughter!

        2. “every 90s a different driver slaps Berny about the face with a wet kipper”

          Love it!

      2. McLaren and Red Bull are playing for keeps– they just called the FIA’s bluff and forced the FIA into keeping the most maligned change in F1’s recent history in place for another race weekend– at the exact same time the GPDA called out the FIA, FOM and Strategy group for being a bunch of idiots,

        I wouldn’t count on Todt or Ecclestone being responsible for the 2017 regulations.

    5. Joni (@theflyingfinns)
      19th March 2016, 10:19

      If there NEEDS to be some kind of a ‘elimination’ system, I’d propose a split-qualifying:
      -Q1 is 16 minutes, after 9 minutes the bottom 3 is eliminated; in the end of the session another 3 is eliminated
      -Q2 is 15 minutes, after 7 1/2 minutes bottom 3 is out; same in the end
      -That leaves a top 10 for Q3 (14 mins), after 7 mins bottom 5 is eliminated; top 5 fights for the pole in the last 5 minutes

      That would require more tyre sets I suppose, but would ensure action for whole sessions + gets rid of this new ’90-second rule’

      1. Joni (@theflyingfinns)
        19th March 2016, 10:20

        Correction to Q1: after 8 minutes of course :)

    6. The knockout qualifying system was good and should be back. Today was a farce, even Horner, Vettel and Wolff say the same. It’s a shame because we should’ve been talking about teams making impressively big laptime gains not about this terrible qualifying format.

      1. Precisely, Michal !

        Succinctly….’If it ain’t broke don’t try to fix it !’

        No qualifying system can ever answer all requirements, simply because there are so
        many conflicting needs. But………… the knockout system employed up to the end of last
        season ( 2015) was and is by far the best, the fairest, the least complicated.
        It was and is superb instrument for carrying out the job it is supposed to do….namely the
        ordering of a fair and properly representative grid that is fair to all and even more importantly
        the SAFEST of all ! Other systems have been tried, none was perfect, some were crude, some did not take proper account of all parameters, and others were grossly unfair or worse, downright dangerous.

        What we saw today was a significant demonstration of what can happen when ill-thought-out
        new ideas fail miserably because they do not take adequate account of all the vital requirements
        in F1 qualifying. Indeed, NO system could ever be absolutely perfect, but our most recent
        long-term system answered nearly all vital needs. It was superior in every way to it’s predecessors
        and made today’s amateurish attempt at revision show just how difficult it is to get these things right.

        To me there is only one solution to this unnecessary issue…… if it ain’t broke etcetera….

    7. Q1 and q2 as it was last year and en q3 with one lap shootout

      1. Q3 was easily the most farcical of the lot, so that’s an interesting stance.

        1. I’m pretty sure @marussi means the one-lap shootout of the… early 2000’s, I think

      2. Pat Ruadh (@fullcoursecaution)
        19th March 2016, 15:23

        I agree make q3 a top 10 superpole and it fixes the only real niggle with the old system

        1. @fullcoursecaution what was the only real niggle of the old system and how does this fix it? I can’t see a problem with the old system, it worked well and gave us a full hour of on-track action.

          1. Pat Ruadh (@fullcoursecaution)
            19th March 2016, 17:25

            @jerseyf1 just that the q3 drivers got two bites of the cherry, which took the pressure off the hot laps a little and generally meant predictable performance-order grids. Changing to q3 superpole might mix up the order somewhat though it may lose some of the grandstand finish factor

    8. Honestly Q1 was exciting but that’s it, Q2 and Q3 showed flaw of this system, so lets stick with knockouts.

      They should have tried experimenting this qualifying system in GP2 first, and after several trial and errors brought to F1.

      Anyway this boat has already sunk.

      1. The Canadian TV feed (at 2 a.m.) did not show much excitement even in Q1 — and Q3 was an utterly predictable non-event; you’re quite correct, the boat has sunk. But anyone who follows F1 knew it would sink, and many of us tried to say so.

        Qualifying serves two purposes. First a safety consideration, putting the fastest cars on the front of the race grid to try and avoid too much mayhem at the first corner. Secondly to eliminate inappropriate entries (the 107% rule, and today everyone sneaked in with a worst deficit of 106.9%.)

        The “new” fiasco-format was doomed to failure because of weight (fuel) and tyre degradation. Stop, refuel and change tyres was just about meaningfully possible in Q1, but totally artificial in the shorter Q3.

        F1 is now all “spectacle” and barely “motor sport.” We now have the proof that stupid ideas can’t even improve the spectacle, let alone the sport…

    9. I am upset today as I had assumed that someone really had thought of a clever system that I could just not fully comprehend. Well, as Dumbledore would say, ‘the evidence so far suggests that that would be optimistic to the point of foolishness.’

      I was one of those, who said: “Give the elimination qualifying system a chance.” So F1 did and today we all saw that it did not work. One race is often not enough to judge anything but at the moment nothing suggests that we will have anything other than another clock-watching festival at the next races. So I am saying let us go back to the old knock-out system and replace Charlie Whiting, the apparent “father” of the elimination qualifying, with someone, who has more competence.

      As for the time penalty system, I can only say that, when watching qualifying, I do not pay much attention to those drivers, who already have a grid penalty because I know that their result will not be “real” anyway. So I think that Bernie’s system would kill the qualifying for me even if it (theoretically) has the potential to (artificially) make the race more exciting.

      1. The apparent “father” of the elimination qualifying is Bernie TBH.

        1. not according to niki lauda. whiting carries that distinction i believe’

          1. …pretty certain NOTHING happens in F1 without Bernie’s “Insane Old Guy” rubber stamp all over it ;-)

      2. @girts I saw that interview with Lauda where he identified the genesis of this system as coming from Charlie Whiting.

        Whiting was also the person who came with the idea for standing restarts (fortunately abandoned) and more recently for the season to be broken up into regional sub-championships.

        Now I think that Charlie has a tough and often thankless task, but I have to question why Formula One’s Race Director has any say at all in Strategy Group meetings. I can understand why he might be consulted about the detailed implementation or effect of proposed changes, but I don’t think it his job to come up with ideas about how to “improve the show” or affect the fundamental direction of the sport.

        Just as the separation of powers requires that separate and independent arms of government respectively make, implement and adjudicate the laws of a nation, Charlie’s job should be limited to implementing the rules of F1 as determined by others. It’s high time that he stopped sticking his fingers in the rule making pie.

        1. Actually I now recall that it was Paul Hembury who had the idea for regional sub-championships. Anyway, the point remains, Whiting should not have a role in decisions like the qualy rules.

        2. @tdog Perhaps you are right, I have been unimpressed with Charlie Whiting exactly because of those ideas that you mention but maybe he should just stay away from the rule-making process. I also believe that currently it is completely messed up. F1 needs a strong and independent group of people, who would write the rules. Then Ecclestone or anyone else could come up with whatever they want and it would be nothing more than an opinion.

        3. Yup absolutely @tdog. The thing is he’s Bernie’s agent-in-place, and he’s not that clever. I don’t think Bernie is these days either.

    10. The system we had last year was perfectly fine and arguably would have been more intriguing with the new tyre regulations.

      The new format is flawed, rushed, a complete mess, undramatic, silly, boring, a complete flop and the list goes on. The hilarious thing is it was designed to produce some ‘shocking’ results, but we hardly got that. It’s all well and good trying to tweak it but it took nine seasons to get the knockout qualifying right, and I don’t want to have to wait until 2025 for the elimination qualifying right. These tweaks look great on paper, but there’s no guarantee they will work. As it stands, the current elimination qualifying is simply useless.

      Any qualifying format which explores the idea of ‘qualifying races’, ‘reverse grids’ or ‘ballast (weight or time)’ simply makes me sick at the thought of it. If we have to have elimination qualifying over any of those, then so be it, it’s better than any of them, but I still want the knockout format back.

      F1 ditched a completely silly new qualifying format in 2005, so the least they could do is admit that they completely messed up and return to what is known to work. How difficult can it be?

      I feared that the elimination qualifying was going to be a complete farce, but it is actually worse than I first feared. It has zero place in F1. At all.

      1. *for the elimination qualifying to be right

      2. @craig-o I have often been thinking about ‘qualifying races’ and wondering what they would be like. Please do not get me wrong – I also think that right now everyone should stop experimenting and return to the old format but I just wonder what the pros and cons of a 1-hour (or shorter) qualifying race (no points awarded) would be. Let us assume that separate sets of tyres are allocated for this ‘race’ and that there is one mandatory pit stop. FP3 gets replaced by the old qualifying sessions and determines the starting grid for the qualifying race.

        + All 22 cars would be on the track all the time so spectators at the circuit would see more action and would also be able to easily follow the session
        – Drivers would probably not want to risk too much simply to improve the grid positions for Sunday so the races might often turn into dull processions

        What do you think?

        1. This was pretty much the exact system that was suggested at one of the F1 strategy meetings. There would be a Qualifying race (grid determined by FP3), which would set the grid for the Race on Sunday. However according to Autosport journalist Dieter Rencken, this was dropped because TV broadcasters complained that they wouldn’t be able to show as much ads in (whereas at the moment, quite a few have ad breaks in between the 3 quali sessions:

          “Except that when he [Ecclestone] bounced the concept off TV broadcasters prior to the Strategy Group session they slated it on the basis that the gaps between Q1/2/3 generate the majority of advertising revenues, and changes to that format would see them lose heavily. A one-hour sprint race would clearly fail to deliver the same commercial windows.

          Channel 4’s business model is, for example, predicated upon commercially-loaded qualifying sessions to enable races to be broadcast ad-free. Indeed, a TV source suggested at least one broadcaster threatened to rip up its contract should traditional qualifying be substituted by a sprint race.”

          Personally I feel that won’t do anything to stop a dominant team starting off on pole on both the races though, which defeats the point of making things a bit less predictable.

          The problem with F1 is that there are too many parties with widly differing vested interests: Teams (Want to dominate and beat all the other teams, especially manufacturers), Drivers (Despite what they say in public, they’ll just do what the teams tell them to whether they like it or not – else they get fired), tyre suppliers (want to produces tyres that fit in with their brand goals & hog the glory for saving the sport), broadcasters (most of whom want to sell ads), and FOM (wants the sport to appeal to the most amount of viewers i.e. the casual fans – who’ll lets be honest, think a random/reverse grid is awesome cos casual fans love an underdog – in whatever way possible, whilst also attracting sport-wide sponsors).

        2. @girts I’ve always felt that the best way to determine a grid is by sending cars around on low fuel and seeing who can lap the circuit quicker than anyone else. I understand that there are indeed some pros to the idea of a qualifying race, but I do fear that it will mean an end of cars for example being a bit better in race pace than qualifying pace and so on. Take 2013 for example, where we had for part of the season Mercedes being insanely quick in qualifying but chewing up their tyres in the races and dropping back. There is that and what you mentioned regarding processional racing too.

    11. The previous system they had was good enough.

      I would prefer for them to reduce the times for FP 1 or FP 2 from 90 minutes to 1 hour and increase qualification to 90 minutes, so total time is static. Together with this introduce the system where you get the whole 90 minutes (previously 60 min) to do your qualification times and you have to start on the tyres you qualify on, but they take the best average over 2 laps on the same compound of tyre. Each car has to do 10 timed laps within 110% or is excluded from qualifying.

      That way lots of action on Saturday and quali is over more laps so it is a better reflection of pace. They will still have enough tyres as FP is reduced

    12. Single-lap-quali!

      Every driver gets one shot. No traffic, no tyre saving, no room for errors, same amount of tv exposure for every team.

      1. That single-lap format previously used in 2005 was even worse than this.

        1. It’s not the systems that are the problem, it’s the implementation.

          If this elimination idea allowed drivers coming last on a lap to finish their lap if started before the cut-off that would solve a lot of problems right there. Also remove the breaks and having one long session therefore allowing more time between elimations and more strategic variation with the ideal time to set a lap, and it could be perfect.

          Similarly the previous one-lap systems had their own flaws in the implementation, using race fuel and reverse orders for running (putting the fastest cars on the least evolved track) and splitting the qualifying sessions over multiple days. 2004’s implementation of the single lap qualifying was the best (yet could still be improved), but was overshadowed by Schumacher’s domination of that time and got needlessly changed to something worse in ’05.

          Changing rules unnecessarily is nothing new to the formula.

          1. johnny stick
            19th March 2016, 14:17

            The problem with this chagne is that the guy (or girl) that is about to be eliminated is saved, but the next guy becomes thrown out without even a chance. This is another problem that wasnt addressed. if one person is saved at the last minute, then someone gets bumped out without knowledge they were on the bubble.

            This doesnt work when it takes longer than 90 seconds to establish a new time.

      2. @srga91 How to determine who runs first? Since the track is always improving on a dry, normal day, the last runner will have an advantage over others.

        1. yep @evered7, @srga1 either you from something like wdc position, reverse of that, or something like random – in the 1st case you will see the fastest cars with best opportunity, so less chance of upset from back, in the other two you will never see the fastest cars get the best lap.

          I think if you want to have a mix grid, you really have to go to random and abandon qualifying – that’s a bit rubbish, so we won’t. Anything other but with deliberate mixing up means that cars aren’t always going for fastest lap (because why take the risk?) but for the best strategic choise. And with cars going for fastest lap, you will end up with fastest first.

          They really do need to just make sure the race is good too, there is no real alternative while holding qualifying to be about who’s fastest.

          1. @bosyber The likeliness of a mixed-up grid can vary without artificial means, though. You can have a qualifying system where the order is very likely to be only down to ultimate pace, or you can have a system where there’s more opportunities for something to go wrong, for either a driver or team to get it wrong.

            12 laps in 60 minutes is much more predictable than one-lap qualifying, where everyone has only got a single chance. The latter would have more mistakes and drivers out of position without being in any way artificial.

            1. Last paragraph spot on. I take it we +1 on here rather than like :).

        2. @evered7 @bosyber @srga91
          The driver order is determined by drivers themselves – the fastest driver from final practice gets to choose first and so on. That would be fair.

        3. @evered7 @bosyber @enigma

          Running order to be determined by championship position or finishing positions of the last race.
          So the driver that is leading the championship or has won the last race will have to start first, with possibly the worst track conditions and backmarkers or early retirements from last race can get a good grid position.

          1. @evered7 @bosyber @enigma That’s to some extent artificial then.

            1. Wow, I’ve managed to mention myself instead of @srga91 !

      3. @srga91 I’m also a big fan of the one-by-one qualy. I really liked it. Kind of reminiscent of alpine skiing!

        Every lap is closely watched, every error is punished. Everyone has a single chance.

      4. i propose a similar idea to 1 lap shootout, but i would have each driver having 3 laps to set a time and at the end top time is on pole, drivers go out one by one in a order determined by random drawing leaving the pit lane 1 minute apart

        1. oh and the drivers complete 1 lap and then come back in and then go back to the end of the queue until their turn comes round again, they dont do 3 laps in a row

      5. I agree with single-lap quali, but it should be a single-lap in each Q1, Q2 and Q3 session. Send cars out every 20-30secs, running order = fastest from previous session runs last. Simple.

        Oh, and if you mess up in the subsequent session, your times been deleted, so you’re starting from the back ;). That’s a better way of mistakes by team or driver mixing the grids up :).

      6. Agreed, one shot, fresh set of tyres for everyone.

        Every team/driver gets an equal amount of TV exposure and there is a risk/reward element to pushing yourself up the grid.

    13. None of the above: I want to see the current system with the old Q3, because I really think there’s something there in Q1 and Q2 if they can do pitlane refuelling and/or use harder tyre compounds.

      1. Times done on harder tyres are not competitive enough for a car to make it out of Q1 or Q2. One by one elimination means that the position of a driver who has put in a reasonable time gets safer and safer as the session goes on, 7 people can knock him out, then 6, then 5……….then just 2, until finally only one. Part of the excitement in the old system was that as the track improves at the end of the session a driver could jump up (or be knocked down) lots of places right at the very end after the chequered flag.

      2. johnny stick
        19th March 2016, 14:21

        There is another problem with this system. it is very dangerous in the pits. Too much chaos with every team trying to get going and keep going. someone is going to get hurt.

        Bring back last years, if for nothing else, for safety of the crews.

      3. To keep this format, you’d need a lot more than 90 seconds.

        If, say, it was three minutes and after 90 seconds the next driver up got a three minute timer that ran concurrently (and so on), you’d be getting closer to a system that might work after some further adjustment.

        Still, it’s hard to see how we’ll upset the running order that is dictated by pace by making it harder for the slower cars to progress.

        The previous formats were a better way of giving the race more potential of an upset by giving the slower cars a choice of tyre to start the race on.

    14. The every 90sec elimination format for Q1, and Q2, but Q3 with all 8 cars on track until the chequered flag would be a better compromise, or just give them more sets of tyres for Q3.

    15. I fail to see any advantages to elimination qualifying. It front-loads the running and doesn’t achieve its goal of having drivers fight to retain their place.

      Ill-conceived and entirely unnecessary.

      1. WilliamB (@william-brierty)
        19th March 2016, 14:24

        @vettel1 It speaks volumes as to the intelligence of F1’s current raft of team bosses, something tells me that neither Ross Brawn nor Patrick Head would have advocated such a brazenly abysmal system. Everyone who voted for this system needs to publicly apologize to the fans for facilitating this farce, albeit in the likely case that it was a shotgun choice between an elimination farce and a ‘time penalty’ meltdown, the correct choice was made.

        Does that change the fact that ‘elimination qualifying’ has firmly cemented its place within the worst five regulations ever adopted by F1? No. Does the qualifying system have anything to with a lack of wheel-to-wheel action, or performance monopoly? No. Increasingly, Bernie Ecclestone’s influence on F1 resembles that of Donald Trump’s influence on American politics: he is fueling anger, apathy and division in the process of eternally spouting medieval and dim-witted manure.

    16. I expect my opinion to be somewhat unpopular, but I thought the elimination qualifying was ok for the first two sessions, even though it failed miserably in the final session.

      For the final session, I reckon a single lap shootout for the top 8 or 10 might do something to spice things up a bit. Cars go out in the order 10th – 1st from the previous session. Out laps/in laps have to be done at quicker than a particular lap delta (using the technology that VSC has). Next car exits the pits when the previous car passes the pit exit and does their out lap.

      The end result is you get to see everybody do one flying lap, once they are finished, you can cut to the next guy just about to start his flying lap, and so on. Because the fastest guy from Q2 is last to run, the pole position time will fall as each driver beats the last, culminating in the fastest guy being the last one out and having to beat everybody.

      Rain during the session will make things interesting, rather than make all the drivers go back to their garage. Drivers will have to go out.

      I don’t get the need to have as many cars on the track at the same time as a marker of excitement. I feel that qualifying shouldn’t strive to be like the race, it should be a different discipline. One driver, one car, the whole track to himself for one lap.

      1. Single lap qualifying is terrible for the spectators at the circuit.

    17. Q1 and Q2 can be quite entertaining with the current knockout-system, so I am in favour of giving it a try. For Q3 though, they should revert to the old system.

    18. Lol, I don’t even know the point of asking…. Isn’t it obvious? IF FIA is going through with this, then they should watch themselves before they end up getting themselves killed. Seriously, everyone is angry! FIA has officially ruined F1 now.

      1. The time was still running in both Q2 and Q3 with no action on track whatsoever. So all the good old last minute scrap and tension for 1st place is gone. The top 3 put in the lap with the first few minutes of Q3 and that was it…