Qualifying still undecided

Qualifying still undecided

As the 2005 season heads into the final stages there is still no definite agreement on a qualifying system for next year, despite much discussion on the subject. There have been various suggestions, public opinion polls and ideas from the drivers...

As the 2005 season heads into the final stages there is still no definite agreement on a qualifying system for next year, despite much discussion on the subject. There have been various suggestions, public opinion polls and ideas from the drivers but so far it does not appear that a format has been decided on.

Ron Dennis.
Photo by xpb.cc.

Something will have to be agreed on soon as any change to the qualifying system will have an effect on the design of next year's cars. Two formats put to a public poll the official F1 website included no restrictions on fuel loads in qualifying.

"We have missed the point at which we could instruct our designers to design a car in respect of fuel tank capacity that would have the range capability that would be the result of qualifying with low fuel," McLaren boss Ron Dennis told reporters at Istanbul.

One point that seems to be unanimously agreed on is that the current format unfairly penalises drivers who retired in the previous race. This means they have to run early in qualifying at the next event, which is a disadvantage on a dirty track.

"One thing where we all completely agree, every single team, is on carrying the penalty of failure in a grand prix forward to the next race," said Dennis. "We think the failures are team failures and the drivers are being unfairly penalised. We want to come up with a way to avoid that penalty."

The proposal of a knock-out format, where all drivers go out on track together and the slowest five are dropped at intervals of 15 minutes, would eliminate the need for a running order. This system was popular in the public vote but Dennis is cautious about a complete change.

He believes that the current qualifying format has partly contributed to some really good races this season. "I think we should be extremely careful that if we try to address the issues of qualifying we might destroy some of the ingredients which have led to great racing," Dennis remarked.

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Series Formula 1
Teams McLaren