USGP TO FEATURE 'KNOCKOUT' QUALIFYING, RACE TIRE CHANGES IN 2006
An exciting new "knockout" qualifying format will be used to determine the starting lineup for the 2006 United States Grand Prix on July 2 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and for the rest of 2006 Formula One season.
Pending final approval from the FIA World Council, the one-hour qualifying session will be split into three parts on the Saturday of each Grand Prix weekend. Each of the three parts will contain multiple drivers on track simultaneously turning as many laps as they want, a change from the single-car, one-lap qualifying system used from 2003-2005.
*All 20 cars will turn laps at any time during the first 15 minutes of the session. At the end of the first 15 minutes, the five slowest cars drop out and fill the final five grid places.
*The 15 remaining cars then will turn laps in the second 15-minute session. At the end of that session, the next group of the five slowest cars drop out and fill 10th through 15th places on the grid.
*The final 20-minute session will feature a dramatic shootout between the remaining 10 fastest cars to decide pole position and the starting order for the top 10 grid places.
An element of suspense and pit strategy remains entwined in the new qualifying format as the top 10 cars must qualify with the amount of fuel with which they plan to start the race.
In other pending rules changes, the rule limiting a driver to a single set of tires for qualifying and the race will be dropped, and in 2006 drivers will be allowed to change tires but will be limited to seven sets (28 tires) of dry-weather tires during the weekend.
2006 USGP tickets: Ticket information for the 2006 United States Grand Prix, scheduled for Sunday, July 2, is available online at www.indianapolismotorspeedway.com, or by calling the IMS ticket office at (317) 492-6700 or (800) 822-INDY outside the Indianapolis area. Parking and camping information also can be obtained through the ticket office.