The changes to the 2004 race weekend schedule, proposed at a Formula One Commission meeting earlier this month, have been ratified by the FIA. At a World Motorsport Council session in Paris on October 15th, it was agreed to scrap Friday testing...
The changes to the 2004 race weekend schedule, proposed at a Formula One Commission meeting earlier this month, have been ratified by the FIA. At a World Motorsport Council session in Paris on October 15th, it was agreed to scrap Friday testing and qualifying, and Saturday qualifying to be separated into two sections.
Friday of race weekends will revert to its previous format of two practice sessions, each of one hour. To substitute for the lack of Friday's early morning private testing, as used by Minardi, Jordan, Renault and Jaguar this season, teams not in the top four of the Constructors' standings may run a third car in Friday practices.
Saturday practices will be two 45 minute sessions and qualifying will start with drivers each having a flying lap, running order being the results of the previous race. This differs from 2003, where Friday's qualifying was run in championship standing order. The starting order at the first race of the season will be taken from the last race of the previous year.
After the first set of timed laps drivers will have a second chance at a flyer, running order being decided on the times achieved in the first section. So really, less of a change than a re-arrangement. Drivers will still have two individual flying laps but instead of splitting them between two days, they will do them both on Saturday.
If a driver fails to set a timed lap in the first section he will not be allowed to take part in the second. Refueling rigs will be permitted in the first part of qualifying but after the second, parc fermé conditions as employed this season between qualifying and race, will remain in place.