New qualifying format tweaked for Austrailian GP debut

It still needs ratification by the World Motor Sport Council but it seems the FIA will plow ahead with the revised qualifying format in Australia for the Formula 1 grand prix season opener. With one change that is:

  • Q3 will stay exactly as it is currently but there will only be eight drivers, rather than 10 as before.
  • Q1 and Q2 will last 16 minutes each and after seven minutes, the slowest drivers will star being knocked out every 90 seconds until the session ends.

When the format change was originally announced, F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone said he didn’t think the details and IT side of the concept could be worked out before Australian and that it might be as late as the Spanish Grand Prix before it would be ready.

Teams don’t like changing things mid-season and so it seem some sort of compromise has been reached as the FIA even met with a throng of drivers in Spain today to hear their concerns.

There you have it, the one thing that F1 fans would say is working well in F1 will now change…never mind all the other things that are frustrating fans to no end. That being said, who knows? This change to qualifying might even make it more exciting but I suspect it will be a more challenging process trying to keep fans at home on top of the 90-second axing of drivers in real time.

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Everything changes eventually. When it went from single car on track to the elimination sessions, it was odd. We’ll get used to it, just like the engines, just like the tires, and all the other stuff. Well, not everything. Those 2013 noses…

Bacon Wrapped Sushi

Ugh. They just cannot make anything simple. Even implementation is staggered.


Good grief they’re really going to do it! Can you imagine the chaos and complaining when drivers are blocked on a fast lap? Does the knocked out car have to immediately pull off the circuit, or do they carry on to the pits at qualifying pace? What happens if they have to throw a yellow flag or a safety car? More bºllocks, for what purpose? I’d have said that the current qualifying format was one aspect of F1 that was delivering ‘a good show’ Thank you strategy group for another great innovation, DRS, hi-deg tyres, what else do we have… Read more »

Tom Firth

Actually DRS was an Overtaking Working Group concept, not a Strategy Group concept, which didn’t exist at the time, as was the narrower rear wings.


My apologies for maligning the strategy group, by assuming they are responsible for more of the ‘innovations’ that are stuffing up our favourite sport……….I should give them more time ;-)

Tom Firth
Thanks for the link Tom, good ole sniff petrol, he’s not subtle but he’s so right.
OWG, SG and now TIT, you wouldn’t put it past FOM, FOA, CVC and EBE

And for all our F1B mates, sniff petrol is on ‘Gareth Jones on speed’ is another great vehicle podcast, give it a listen sometime ;-)


So will it now be the top eight that have to start the race on the tyres they used for Q2? The tyres which according to the original proposal they would have used for the entire 16 minute session, as they are to remain on track until eliminated.
I wait to see how this is explained to the TV audience.

John The Race Fan

If they play Yakity Sax as background music for Q1 & Q2 it could work… Especially if the footage is sped up.


Great idea, after 2017 they won’t need to speed the footage up – 6 sec a lap quicker!


I don’t know what you guys are complaining about. Its very easy to figure out using this supplied chart.


Normally i would LOL. But i’m crying inside


I think I found wally/walldo!

Paul KieferJr

Another example of how this was a half-assed plan.

Bryan Beecroft

Why fix a thing that didn’t warrant changing? Some fucking moronic OCD freak is seeking something that suits his worldview and casts reg folks like us into meaningless confusion?

Meine Postma

As I understand it, it is not to fix the saturdays, which probably everybody agrees was fine, but to fix the sundays by throwing in some people out of place at an irregular interval.

Please excuse my language, as english is not my first one.


I think you are correct, it is to try and vary the starting grid such that we don’t always have faster cars starting in front of slower ones. What is really w worrying is that the qualifying change that has now been approved by the motor sport council is different again.

Andreas Möller

I saw that too – the WMSC approved the original proposal, and FOM now says they’re good to go for Australia. It never stops…