Qualifying Analysis

Teams trigger reversion to 2015 qualifying format

F1’s political war over qualifying looks set to be resolved, as the governing body seem poised to return to the 2015 format. Fans, media and the teams have been lobbying to scrap the much maligned elimination qualifying format after two hugely unsuccessful sessions in Australia and Bahrain. Despite two weeks of political gridlock, common sense has prevailed and it seems that Saturday’s will once again end in a crescendo.

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Image Credit: Ryan Bayona (via Flickr) [CC-BY-2.0]

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Why aggregate qualifying makes sense for the promoters

After a month where a political power play has seen F1 qualifying beaten from pillar to post, it seems that a return to the popular 2015 format is now a prospect off the negotiating table. Instead, Sunday’s meeting of F1’s bigwigs saw a new aggregate qualifying proposition formulated as an alternative to the much maligned elimination format.

While it is yet to be voted upon, it has already added yet more fuel to F1’s latest controversy, with Sebastian Vettel stating “It’s a good idea if you want random things to happen, but Formula 1 should be about racing. It’s a s*** idea.”

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Image Credit: Emilio Garcia (via Flickr) [CC-BY-NC-ND-2.0]

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Elimination qualifying a damp squib

F1 is adept at shooting itself in the foot. Following a 2015 season admittedly lacking in intrigue, the winter has been filled by discussions regarding how to improve the sport. The F1 Commission unanimously voted for a new elimination qualifying format three weeks before the start of the season in an attempt to spice up the action on a Sunday.

With today’s qualifying session being the debut for this new idea, it is evident that a rethink is required. Missing a crescendo, void of surprises and short of laps, calling it a shambles would not be too far from the truth.

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Image Credit: Rachel Clarke (via Flickr) [CC-BY-NC-2.0]

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Elimination qualifying: gimmick over logic?

As social media was meant to be winding down following a fascinating second day of winter testing, Twitter was instead whipped up into a frenzy last night, as news of a radical and imminent change to the qualifying format broke. During a meeting of the F1 Commission, the teams have decided to overhaul the qualifying hour, introducing an elimination style session which is expected to be implemented for this season.

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Image Credit: Rachel Clarke (via Flickr) [CC-BY-NC-2.0]

Safe to say, the news has divided opinion, with the majority siding with the likes of Karun Chandhok

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2015 Hungarian Grand Prix: Saturday Analysis

The big book of superlatives has certainly been put to good use today, as Lewis Hamilton took an emphatic pole position for the Hungarian Grand Prix. At arguably his best circuit of the year, Hamilton was imperious, following on from three untroubled practice sessions and managed to post a masterful flying lap to end his charge in Q3 and leave teammate and title rival Nico Rosberg trailing in his wake, to the tune of a rather surprising six tenths. Rosberg’s qualifying was hampered by balance issues, which seriously hampered him in the technical sector two.

It may be the usual front row, but in unusual circumstances, with Rosberg left scratching his head after another tricky Saturday afternoon.

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2015 British Grand Prix: Saturday Analysis

Lewis Hamilton delighted the British crowd today taking pole position at Silverstone in what was a curious close to qualifying. A session headlined by the stewards new-found values regarding track limits at Copse and strong winds, Hamilton managed to keep composed, despite his second attempt in Q3 being scrapped after the second sector. Ultimately, this was just one instance building to an anti-climatic end to the qualifying hour, as the winds picked up in the final moments to prevent all but Felipe Massa from improving.

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2015 Austrian Grand Prix: Saturday Analysis

The folk at Brackley are becoming showmen – as are the two pilots of the Mercedes cars. For a dominant team, they regularly provide mouthwatering entertainment and despite taking their nineteenth consecutive pole position and making it an entire calendar year of Saturday glory, Hamilton and Rosberg were at the heart of late drama in Spielberg. It was the former, who held on to claim his 45th career pole, yet more through luck than judgement, as he found himself heading backwards into the turn one run-off area, ruling himself out of contention to improve as the clock ticked down to zero in Q3. Moments later, Nico Rosberg also found himself on an off-road adventure and therefore, ended second best again.

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