Qualifying in Formula 1 could be set to change according to AUTOSPORT. The magazine has learned that the FIA  are discussing the idea of changing the format in order to prevent the recent situation of no cars running in Q3 to save tires.

According to the report, the F1 series is looking at a few options as mentioned by AUTOSPORT’s Jonathan Noble:

“They include forcing the ten drivers who make it through to Q3 to start the race on the set of tyres that they set their best Q2 lap on.

That means that there will be no incentive to sit out Q3.

Furthermore, there is an idea to hand drivers extra sets of tyres for the final qualifying segment, which are returned to the FIA afterwards, that will allow them to push for the fastest lap without worrying it will compromise their race chances.”

Jonathan doesn’t mention any particular team’s reaction to the concept but you can bet that if they feel it is a hinderance to them in any way, they will not be too keen to sign off on the proposal. According to Noble, the change would require unanimous agreement in order to be instituted with immediate effect. Noble does mention that the duration of Q3 is being considered in order to allow the top 10 drivers to make two timed laps.

For Pirelli, they’ve been open to qualifying changes for quite a while now and were even mentioning the thought of a qualifying spec tire last year so this possible change would most likely  not be a source of concern for the Italian tire maker.

So what do you think of a qualifying spec tire for Q3? Can this be solved by simply giving teams who make it to Q3 an extra set of tires for qualifying? What ramifications would that have for the teams who didn’t make it to Q3? Is this parity or pear-shaped strategy? What are some other way you feel qualifying might best be improved? Most F1 fans have been happy with the qualifying format but with the advent of tire saving, a lack of Q3 running is frustrating and if you consider that we see the fastest laps by these cars in Q2 on Saturday, that’s a bit concerning as well.


An F1 fan since 1972, NC has spent over 25 years in the technology industry focusing on technology integration, AV systems integration, digital media strategies, technology planning, consulting, speaking, presenting, sales, content strategy, marketing and brand building.
  • Jeremy

    There needs to be a change but I would just dock constructor points or positions to teams who do not go out in Q3. I am sure the teams wouldn’t go along with it but it would be enough of an incentive to get them out there during Q3.

  • Tyre’s might be the least of their problems.

    • F1 Rules

      What does that statement even mean?

  • Cedar

    I like that they have to balance qualifying speed with race strategy when choosing tires for qualy 3. And I hate the idea of qualifying tires. What’s next? Qualifying engines again? No, you race on what you qualified on.

    To encourage Q3 running simply take away free choice for non-runners. Everyone from the front to the back of the grid runs on what they qualified on. It wouldn’t guarantee Q3 running, but more would run than currently do.

  • Yamms

    Why not add up the times of all qualifying sessions in order to determine the grid order, hence the pole sitter? Action guaranteed . Just a thought

    • jason

      Interesting idea. Add in unlimited tired too and there would be lots of action in all Q’s.

  • MIE

    If a car doesn’t run in Q3, then it should start on the tyres used to set its fastest Q2 lap. That way the top ten all have to start on used tyres. The fact that Pirelli have selected harder compound tyres this year should mean there won’t be a problem with running out of rubber in the races.

    • niyoko

      I like this idea. There were to many teams that would just do 1 timed lap and head back in to the pits. If Bernie is wanting to increase the show, him and the FIA should help increase / encourage the number of cars running on track.

      The trade off you propose is quite good. Sit in the garage and race with Q2 tires or get out on track and try to make position with a new set. It’d spice things up a bit.

  • Rik

    Funny this is on the cusp of lower viewer #’s.

    Quali SUCKS!.

    Just eliminate tire limit. Bring back the old qualifying that everyone was watching, (kinda kills two birds with one stone) Unlimited tires, its the same for everyone so why complain. Then let them go for it over the same quali time period and may the fastest car win pole.

    If they want quali motors then quali motors. F1 has become Limit 1 racing of late.

    Funny thing is that there is no boost limit on the current V6 engines. Will there be a team that cranks it up for quali and then turns it down for the race? Or heave forbid teams try to be creative anymore.

    • jason

      -Couldn’t agree more.

  • Jed Fitzharris

    If no one runs in Q3 then it should be a reverse grid based on there Q2 times we don’t pay good money so that the drivers can have a rest and I think it’s about time they started using winers ballast so it stops being the boring procession it has become over the last 4years we need some interest what about a gravity feed reful like NASCAR with a set amount of fuel

  • cconf1

    Simple fix:

    Final qualifying time = Fastest Q3 lap + (time spent in Pit Lane)

    This way, if you do a few flying laps, and then come in and change tires and go right back out, you’ll only add on 45 sec or so. If you sit in the garage and do 1 flyer at the end, then you’ll have a Q3 time of 10 min.

    • deano

      Best solution yet

    • jcm

      where would the car be when it’s not in the pits or on track?

  • coucou

    Q3 with extra time and special qualifying tyres? Sounds like Saturdays could be much more entertaining than Sundays.

  • Jiji the cat

    Points for qualifying.

  • Kent

    An extra 5 mins to q-3 might be good but it’s not broke, don’t fix it.

  • Rapierman

    Where I come from, it’s one car at a time. Each car drives two laps. Best time determines the starting position.

    • Returning to something as simple that would work, certainly as far as getting cars to run. However, it would also defeat the purpose of making qualifying longer or more exciting. Multiple cars running simultaneously is exciting, but also subject to drivers sitting out because they are guaranteed 10th.

      What about applying the 107% rule, or an adaptation of that?

      Another reader had said something about an average time? To expand on that, what about making a four or five lap average (in terms of speed or time)? Failing to meet this requirement results in starting from pit lane, on the same tires on which the driver attempted to qualify.

  • BadCaptain

    My first thought when I saw the head line was if they f up one more thing in the interest of “the spectacle” I’m done. Aside from additional tires leave it alone.

  • Shocks&Awe

    I think they should just have the drivers race bicycles around the track for Q3. No tire issues there, and you’re saving gas, so that’s a green thumbs up. Plus, it’ll really showcase the drivers’ fitness levels. And as an added bonus, I’m sure it will provide plenty of photos to choose from for the Michael Schumacher Fashion Award. (#ForzaMichael)

  • Tim

    Same Q1, Q2, and Q3 format. Unlimited tires for all rounds of qualifying (or some number that would not deter a team from running). No special qualifying tires . . . qualify on the type of tires that will be used in the following day’s race. All tires used in qualifying must be returned to Pirelli at the conclusion of qualifying. X number of new sets for the race and in a combination of prime and option. Also, no need to start the race on the tires you qualified. Qualifying should be used to determine who’s the fastest on that given day. Make it so that goal is accomplished. End of rant . . .

  • StephenB.

    The idea of a spec quali tire for Q3 sort of interests me. A softer tire with a faster lap time. Make it something to stand up and watch because the fastest times of the weekend will happen there.

  • Mike Steck

    Yep, agree with all who said the issue is about tires. Having to manage fuel AND tires is now morphing racing into a project coordination position in the cockpit of the car. If speed and exploring the limits of merging a human being and the raw energy and power of these machines into a liquid and seamless flow of artistic touch on track, then tires should be available for qualifying that have no impact on the race. Otherwise, there is no point other than project management/race strategy for a team to even be concerned about qualifying, and the fans are the ones that lose..and then soon the sponsors, and then soon the ratings, and then soon the governing parties and the teams, then the drivers, and then the fans again. Rinse, repeat.

  • playF1

    Points mean prizes.
    Those posters that talk purely of speed (and being given all the tyres needed to achieve it), clearly have a valid point to make….. only that it would be a failure in ‘sport racing terms’.
    Such a decision would simply embed 4 teams as the only possible winners (for ever).

    Whether you like it or not….. the financial barriers to F1 success are simply enormous – that success generating even more money (that creates an even greater barrier).

    Implementing ‘qualifying points’ would not only create a more exciting mix, but it would offer a broader range of ‘potential success’ across the teams.

    Anybody who doesn’t understand what I’m talking about, should cast their minds back to kobayashi’s last race in Japan, when he qualified 4th.

    The Japanese spectators were in tears (literally) of joy.

    Success in qualification may be the only goal to aim for initially….. but if the financial support given to kobayasi (at season end) is a guide…….. such success may help generate the sponsorship needed for a team to move up the league.

    Success is a marketable commodity.
    Getting 1 point per race is not…… therefore it won’t get you the money you need to get further.

    The idea is not ‘pure’ in Sunday race terms, but at least it IS ‘pure’ as a racing concept (and far superior to the doltish ‘double points fiasco’.

    Think about it.

    Effectively 2 races for the price of one.
    Yes…. I know its not ‘driven snow pure’…. but it WOULD be genuine racing.

    I played last year….. it was so great (for a freebie F1 manager game) cos points were awarded not just for race day, but for Qualy AND FP3.

    Instead of being only concerned with the top bods…….. the whole racing weekend, right down to the lower teams, was exciting.

    In effect, the manager game concept, was a dry run of the ‘qualy points’ concept.

    Bizarrely… F1 could learn from this ‘F1 supporter’ game.
    Will they?

    Nah…… I doubt it.
    But we can live in hope.

  • Dan

    I think all cars should get 2 timed hot laps in Q3 instead of all on track at once. Too much interferance with slow cars.

  • peterriva

    Leave it as it is allowing one more set of tires for ALL quali (which are then confiscated). That would mean the slower teams would push like mad on a set of softs even in Q1 and Q2.

    If they don’t fix this here’s the worry: they’ll reverse the grid to increase the show. It’s all about eyeballs.

    • PLAYF1

      But your suggestion doesn’t solve the underlying problem that exists in F1.
      I believe that it merely embeds the problem.
      F1 is a sport that demands complex strategic decision making.
      At the mo, this often results in a ‘no show’ for q3.
      Chucking tyres at the teams simply eliminates strategic planning.
      A points system would add to the strategic mix.
      Simply giving tyres, would take the 4 top teams even further out of reach than they already are.
      If you want that, then fine…………. only THAT is what is killing the sport.
      Let’s just hope that the new specs for 2014 throw enough spanners, to ensure that we get a good mix of unpredictable racing.

  • Brian

    I’ll play devil’s advocate here and say I have no issue with the current way quali turns out. I think that teams not running in Q3 and saving tyres for the race, makes the on track battle during the race more interesting and means that drivers can gamble on a quali setup versus a more race style setup.

  • In Q-3 set a minimum number of laps that must be completed. Failure to complete the laps, and the car incurs the penalty of starting from pit lane.

  • Brody

    Extra set of tires given to all cars during Q3 run for pole, and all cars start the race on tires they used to post their fastest time in Q2.

    I would just like to see Q3 on track action in it’s entirety, instead of having to watch interviews being conducted with drivers, trying to explain why they didn’t get out of Q1.

  • stefan bellof

    The problem, as I see it, with most everyone’s solution mirrors the problem with F1: too many rules! Instead of adding more rules, or special quali tires or what have you, F1 should focus on eliminating the contrived restrictions they’ve implemented over the last several years. For example, allow teams an ample number of tires to run as many practice, quali, and race laps as they want. Eliminate the requirement to use both compounds in each race. Allow refueling, both after quali and during the race. Permit teams to make adjustments to the cars between quali and the race. Allow spare/T cars. Allow teams significantly more engines to use throughout the season (F1 has lost out on a big part of auto racing’s inherent drama: fragile race engines that are prone to random in-race failures). Have in-season testing (in the past, a single team would rarely dominate for an entire season largely because all the teams would continuously test new components and significantly improve, or in some cases slow down, their cars race to race). None of these rules has improved F1, significantly cut costs, or made the sport any safer–and would not be missed by a single fan if gotten rid of.

    Simplify the sport, let the drivers actually “race,” and accept the fact that from time to time a single team/driver might dominate for a few seasons. When left alone, just as in every other sport, the competition always figures out a way to get back on top, and/or new competition comes along to stir things up. Constantly tinkering with the rules will only continue to reduce the sport to a contrived sideshow that appeals to only the most casual of race fans, while alienating the true, long-time fans of auto racing’s former pinnacle.

    To solve the problem of the ever-expanding gap in budgets, hence performance, between the smaller and larger teams, I suggest F1 follow the NFL’s model, which is among the world’s most successful sports leagues. Split all television revenue equally among the teams, and allow the teams to earn their own money individually from sponsors and through merchandising. Paying teams each year based on the number of points they earned the previous season only widens the disparity between teams. If the lesser teams at least had a starting budget equal to the top teams, the competition, ergo the sport would greatly improve and everyone would end up making more money! But I digress…

    • Jiji the cat

      Good points Stefan, but it won’t happen. Unlimited tyres would cost Pirrelli too much.
      I have always loved tyre wars( and will continue to), the use of T cars, refuelling etc etc are all great parts of F1 that have been discarded, sadly. When all the talk these past few years has been about bringing the cost down, you can’t expect the open slather cheque books of yester year to make a cone back.
      Oh hang on…. Didn’t the engine manufacturers just spend gazillions on these new motors. Maybe there is light at the end of the tunnel.