Formula 1 2016: Massive Qualifying Changes

After years of a three-session elimination qualifying format, the powers-that-be at Formula 1 have announced a massive change to the way the grid shapes up for Sunday’s race. Instead of dropping the slowest third of the cars after a given session, the new rules will have the slowest car on the track dropped every ninety seconds. (!?)

 

Formula 1 2016 Qualifying Explained


Formula 1 2016 Qualifying Infographic

The new qualifying system will still be split into three phases, but the F1 brass have decided that having the eliminations happen at the end of the sessions puts artificial stops into the action, making Saturday’s part of the F1 show a bit boring. Having spent many Saturdays watching F1 drivers stare into monitors while parked in their team garage waiting for a final, 2-lap glory run to close out a session, I have to agree that the old system had room to improve.

If the infographic above doesn’t quite explain it for you, the new version of the Formula 1 qualifying rules go something like this:

 

    Q1

  • 16 minutes duration
  • After 7 minutes, the slowest driver is eliminated
  • Slowest driver eliminated every 1 minute 30 seconds thereafter until the checkered flag
  • 7 drivers eliminated, 15 progress to Q2
    Q2

  • 15 minutes duration
  • After 6 minutes, slowest driver eliminated
  • Slowest driver eliminated every 1 minute 30 seconds thereafter until the checkered flag
  • 7 drivers eliminated, 8 progress to Q3
    Q3

  • 14 minutes
  • After 5 minutes, slowest driver eliminated
  • Slowest driver eliminated every 1 minute 30 seconds thereafter until the checkered flag
  • 2 drivers left in final 1 minute 30 seconds
  •  

    The official rules that have changed are part of Article 33 of F1’s official sporting regulations. You can download the full document at this link, or check out the relative changes- isolated by Motorsport.com– below. Enjoy!

      a) From 14.00 to 14.16 (Q1) all cars will be permitted on the track. Seven minutes after the start of the session the driver last in the classification will be eliminated and will no longer be timed, he must then return to the pit lane and may take no further part in the qualifying practice session.

      The same procedure will then apply after 8m30s, 10m0s, 11m30s, 13m0s and 14m30s leaving sixteen cars eligible to continue.

      At the end of the session all drivers on the track may complete the lap they are on and, once these final laps have been completed, the driver last in the classification may take no further part in the qualifying practice session. Lap times achieved by the fifteen remaining cars will then be deleted.

      b) From 14.24 to 14.39 (Q2) the fifteen remaining cars will be permitted on the track.

      Six minutes after the start of the session the driver last in the classification will be eliminated and will no longer be timed, he must then return to the pit lane and may take no further part in the qualifying practice session.

      The same procedure will then apply after 7m30s, 9m0s, 10m30s, 12m0s and 13m30s leaving nine cars eligible to continue.

      At the end of the session all drivers on the track may complete the lap they are on and, once these final laps have been completed, the driver last in the classification may take no further part in the qualifying practice session. Lap times achieved by the eight remaining cars will then be deleted.

      c) From 14.46 to 15.00 (Q3) the eight remaining cars will be permitted on the track. Five minutes after the start of the session the driver last in the classification will be eliminated and will no longer be timed, he must then return to the pit lane and may take no further part in the qualifying practice session.

      The same procedure will then apply after 6m30s, 8m0s, 9m30s, 11m0s and 12m30s leaving two cars eligible to continue. At the end of the session any driver on the track may complete the lap he is on and, once any final lap has been completed, the overall classification will be established.

      The above procedure is based upon 22 cars being officially eligible to take part in the Event. If 24 cars are eligible eight will be excluded after Q1 and Q2, if 26 cars are eligible nine cars will be excluded after Q1 and Q2, and so on if fewer cars are eligible.

      If necessary, the intervals between the sessions and eliminations will be adjusted to ensure Q3 remains unchanged.

     

    Source | Images: Formula 1/FIA, via Motorsport.

Jo Borrás

I've been in the auto industry 1997, and write for a number of blogs in the IM network. You can also find me on Twitter, at my Volvo fansite, out on two wheels, or chasing my kids around Oak Park, IL.