The 107 per cent rule could be a problem for the Virgin cars in China, according to frustrated driver Timo Glock.
The German has been widely quoted recently admitting his disappointment with the MVR-02 car, and he told Auto Motor und Sport that it might be so slow in Shanghai it is excluded from the grid.
Glock revealed that the car is unchanged compared to a week ago in Malaysia, and that the specific characteristics of the Chinese layout might draw out the distance from the front.
"If the big teams in Q1 use soft tyres because they were upset with us at the last race and want us out of the race, this (qualifying) could be really tight," he said.
Glock has already publicly questioned Virgin's policy of keeping costs low by using only computer technology rather than a wind tunnel to design and develop its F1 cars.
Maybe we would develop even faster with computer simulation as well as a wind tunnel
"The success has been okay," he said, "but maybe we would develop even faster with computer simulation as well as a wind tunnel."
Also missing at Virgin, he insisted, are truly experienced engineers.
"That would bring us faster progress in aerodynamics," said Glock. "But it's hard to get good people to come to a small team. And it costs money."