With Jean Todt and Bernie Ecclestone unwilling to revert to the previous qualifying format, Rach F1’s Matthew Gannon suggests a completely new way to determine the grid - taking some cues from the elimination format and the good ol’ one.
The elimination qualifying has been nothing other than shambolic since its inclusion this year. Despite that both Jean Todt and Bernie Ecclestone seem to stand by the plan and refuse to go back to the 2015 specification. So if that's off the cards what else can we do? I and many of the F1 community refuse to even entertain the aggregate idea which sounds completely and utterly ridiculous, defeating the whole process of a qualifying lap in the process. The main question is where does the future lie?
Firstly, the elimination system is flawed. Yet the actual idea isn't that bad. Hear me out first. I’ve devised a new format, taking cues from both systems, while adding some more elements.
For Q1, we keep the format but tweak it. The total time of the session should be 18 minutes. After 10 minutes, the three slowest cars are eliminated and the next three are removed at the session’s conclusion. Any cars on a hot lap at the end of the session or at the 10 minute mark are allowed to complete their laps.
Q2 would have 16 cars, again 15 minute session. Three removed after 10 minute and another three at the end like previously. This maintains the cars on track at the end of the session and the mid-session elimination.
Finally for Q3, the session is 10 minutes long. The cars compete like previously for the whole session in a shootout to get as high as possible. However, positions 3-10 are locked in and the top two have one more lap.
Q4 (the pole lap): The top two cars are released at 30-45 second intervals (the fastest driver in Q3 decides whether they want to go first or second.) Both get a set of Purple Ultrasoft tyres (or the softest available compound) and have one flying lap to try and secure pole position, thus giving the fans that one lap where the cars are ragged around at 100% of their capabilities that they crave.
The original aim of the elimination shootout was to have two cars fighting at the end for pole - something that didn’t happen. By having a separate leg for the fastest two drivers, F1 can achieve that very target.
by Matthew Gannon