F1 teams discuss boycott of Q1 in China


The FIA and Bernie Ecclestone are determined to change the F1 qualifying format in an attempt to improve the show. Let’s not forget that over the past seasons we have seen the front of the grid teams predominantly running one set of tyres in Q1 and Q2 to allow themselves greater freedom in the race. This clearly does not promote ‘cars on track as much as possible’ during the early qualifying sessions on a Saturday afternoon.

That said, as it appears nobody is happy with the new qualifying format, Jean Todt called a meeting with all parties concerned prior to the Bahrain GP to discuss alternatives. “I’m optimistic we will have an agreement tomorrow,” commented the FIA president on Saturday afternoon.

However, agreement there was not because the meeting did not have an open agenda where a majority decision would carry the best way to proceed. The FIA and Bernie Ecclestone proposed a new qualifying format where the two best lap times for each driver would be combined to make up an aggregate in each of the Q1, Q2 and Q3 sessions.

This was rejected by the teams and today they made public their position by revealing they have unanimously rejected anything other than an immediate return to the 2015 style of qualifying. The teams have though revealed they would accept trials later in the year on other qualifying formats which could be implemented for 2017.

Of course Ecclestone and Todt are suspicious over the teams’ offer to trial tweaks and even radical alternations to qualifying later in the year, because this of course would require unanimous agreement – which in Formula One is as frequent as Halley’s Comet.

The power at present clearly lies with Todt and Ecclestone because nothing can be done for this year unless unanimous agreement is reached under the current F1 governance system.

Since the implementation of the F1 strategy group, Bernie Ecclestone and others have complained about the position of the FIA requiring unanimity amongst all parties for any decision to be made – and calls for a more Max Mosley style of presidency have repeatedly been made by a number of the paddock hierarchy. Further, we have repeatedly been fed the mantra from Christian Horner and others that ‘the rules should be made by the FIA and the teams either sign up or don’t’.

This of course now looks like cheap rhetoric as the teams refuse to agree to the FIA and Ecclestone’s latest proposal. Further, TJ13 has been informed there has been talk amongst senior team personnel of a boycott of Q1 in China.

As this article is being published Kevin Eason of the Times is suggesting on twitter, “Todt/Ecclestone may give up the fight on this,” so maybe the knock out qualifying sessions in China will be consigned to the bin.

Then again, Bernie Ecclestone loves a good fight and will probably want some kind of pound of flesh for his consent.

20 responses to “F1 teams discuss boycott of Q1 in China

  1. I’d rather see a boycott than another hour of dire elimination qualifying. At least it might achieve something longer term.. and would probably be more entertaining for much of the session.

    Though other media sources are reporting that Todt & Bernie are going to accept they’ve lost and agree to 2015 qualification… so there is hope.

  2. ………of course Dimwat. All 11 teams have to vote unanimously to get a rule change during the season!

      • Redbull, McLaren and Williams were against the change post Australia. So the question is, what did they get in return for agreeing to the change?

  3. If this isn’t the sight of headless chickens running around screaming, I don’t know what is…

  4. There’s absolutely NO chance of these over-privileged primadonnas growing balls big enough to defy the source of their yachts, helicopters and private jets. NONE.

  5. So… I have an idea. They want more cars on track, preferably for the whole hour, and with the drivers going as fast as they can like in the 80’s? How about this:
    All cars must be on track for the full 60 minutes or until they are eliminated.
    Elimination is possible only after four minutes, giving all cars a chance to set a decent lap.
    Elimination happens if you drop outside of the 104% of the fastest current lap time (this percentage may need to be tweaked for certain circuits like Spa).
    No refuelling is allowed but tyre changes are.
    If the car does not complete the session, either by crashing, breaking down or running out of fuel they are relegated to the back of the grid.
    Come on Judgees, whaddiya think? There may have to be another rule like if a driver is eliminated by a time and the car that did the eliminating then runs out of fuel or crashed etc then the cars eliminated by that time may rejoin the qualifying battle, otherwise it could get very underhand.

    • It does seem to me that if you want cars to be out on track for the maximum period then you should a) make them use the hardest tyre, and b) mandate a minimum fuel load sufficient to last through the qualifying session. The teams’ objective will then become to burn off as much fuel as possible by the end of the session by continuous high speed running…

      • I recall couple of years back fans were greeted by “fuel burn” periods, whereas drivers were taking cars across the circuit driving slowly to get rid of fuel. If something like what you propose were in place, we may be witnessing this instead…

        • Every time there is a safety car, commentators say that this will help save fuel, because a slow lap uses much less fuel than a fast one. Why therefore would teams drive slowly if they wanted to burn the maximum fuel in the minimum time?? Doubly so if an elimination clock was running (most of the objections to which come from not having multiple fast laps possible from the softest tyres and the time lost to in-laps, out-laps and pit stops to change tyres) and every lap will be a bit faster than the last as the fuel goes down…

    • At that point, you are basically having a qualifying race to determine the qualifying. It defeats the purpose of qualifying imo.

  6. message on FERRARI twitter account read “Unity is the only way to overcome difficulties”

  7. So with the news that China will have 2015 style qualifying (supposedly), we’ll have some sense restored to the sport for a change.

    I didn’t care for the aggregate option either, but if it had passed I would have hoped then that the teams would insist on restoring aggregate timing for safety cars (virtual or otherwise) and restarts after a red flag since it was apparently eliminated because it would “confuse” the fans.

    The thing that’s confusing the fans at the moment is how the sport is structured and run. For the most part we’re not so dense as to not get the racing and qualifying.

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