Radical new rule for F1 Hungarian GP

Formula One is set to run a radical new qualifying format at the upcoming Hungarian GP. Its yet again rooted in the FIA’s desire to build a more sustainable sport in their race towards making the series carbon net zero by 2030.

The driver dry tyre allocation for the weekend will be reduced from 13 to 11 though this has raised concerns there will be less time for the fans to watch the cars on track during the practice sessions.



Alternative Tyre Fomat

These changes were originally intended to be trialed at the Emilia-Romagne Grand Prix but catastrophic flooding in the region meant the event was cancelled this season.

This arrangement known for now as the Alternative tyre Format (ATF) will be trialed again after the F1 summer break at the Italian Grand Prix in Monza.

Each driver will now be given three hard tyres together with four medium and soft compounds for the entire weekend and to help th teams balance the use of the compounds qualifying is set for its biggest shakeup in two decades.

In dry conditions the teams will be forced to use the hard compounds in Q1, the medium in Q2 and should they make it to the pole shootout last 10, the soft tyre must be used for that session.



No choice of compound

Given the teams have struggled this year with the dark art of getting the new Pirelli tyres perfectly into their operating window this new format will inevitably throw up some shock results.

Ferrari have struggled at a number of circuits for pace on the hard tyre and if this continues it could be a struggle for both Sainz and Leclerc to make it pout of the bottom five.

Other teams have had wild variations in their tyre performance which is circuit or track temperature dependent and could similarly struggle at various times during the new qualifying.

The new upgraded McLaren demonstrated last time out in Silverstone that it cold switch on its hard tyres quickly demonstrated best after the safety car restart.

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McLaren flying under new rule?

Lando Norris had been called in during the safety car period and fitted with new hard tyres to run the last ten laps or so of the race. Meanwhile directly behind him was Lewis Hamilton who had  been given the much quicker soft tyre and it seemed inevitable the Mercedes would easily overtake the McLaren at the restart.

Yet Norris held of the seven times champion for an incredible one lap duel by which time is hard compound tyres were up to temperature and he went on to claim second place ahead of Hamilton.

Formula One is unarguably a sport that consumes huge amounts of natural resources as it treks across the world in a truly global championship.

However, efforts are being made to reduce its carbon footprint though whether net zero can really be achieved by 2030 is still up for debate.



Into the unknown

Recently the draft calendar for 2024 was release and there is some attempt to regionalise the races to cut down on unnecessary travel. This year for example the back to back Baku and Miami races forced the teams to travel almost 15,000 miles from their bases in Europe to Asia and then North America before returning home less than two weeks later.

With each driver using eight less tyres a weekend, this adds up to almost 4000 sets of rubber less for Pirelli to produce and then destroy each year. Whether this is mere tokenism which plays to the corporate sponsors passion for all things green at present is the topic for another day.

The rubber will hit the road – so to speak – when we can evaluate whether qualifying is either diminished or enhanced by the new regulation.

Rather than mix things up, it could be one team who works the soft tyre better than the rest is the run away pole sitter week in and week out.

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Fiddling with qualifying not worked

F1 has experimented with changes to qualifying over the years at times to disastrous effect.

From 1950 to 1996 qualifying followed a fairly standardised pattern. There was a Friday and Saturday session where the drivers went out to set times with no fuel restrictions at all. The quickest lap set the pole and so on down the grid.

Then over the next fourteen years a number of different formats were tried before the ban on refuelling for 2010 meant the sport settled on the current three session elimination format.

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Future tweaks to quali format

If the grid were to return to twelve teams a tweak has been suggested to help with congestion on certain shorter tracks which is similar to the Indycar format.

Qualifying 1 would see the grid split into two groups with the top seven or eight from each moving forward to Q2.

Another tweak recently considered was splitting the current Q3 into two ‘half’ sessions where after the first runs the slowest cars would be eliminated and the final pole shootout be contested by just the five drivers who were left.

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3 responses to “Radical new rule for F1 Hungarian GP

  1. Nothing radical or different from what was originally planned for the Emilia-Romagna GP, so merely a belated debut for a tyre compound use experimentation.
    Additionally, the qualifying format itself is exactly the same usual, with only compound use in Q1 & 2 being different than usual.

  2. Pingback: F1 legal chaos with General Motors – Tech Surge Hq·

  3. God, proof read your writing before publishing. It is absolutely appalling, so much so, my 11 year old daughter could do better. Journalism today has taken a turn for the worse

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