F1 Qualifying Format – messier than doggies breakfast?

26 04 2009

Ever seen a swarm of angry wasps?  It ain’t pretty and the scene reminds me somewhat of F1’s qualifying format.  Seems to me that the question “is there a perfect qualifying format” is up there with “what is the meaning of life”. 

Einstein spent much of his latter years working on F1 qualifying

Einstein spent many of his latter years working on F1 qualifying

Over the years we’ve seen a number of different qualifying formats, such as the current knockout system, the hot lap system (1 car out at a time giving it their best), and even having two qualifying periods in which all cars could try and set their fastest laps at any point over the two periods.

Once again we see a scenario at the Bahrain GP where a very fast car (Red Bull) driven by Mark Webber (the unluckiest man in F1) is at the rear of the grid, due to a very slow car blocking him.  Mark was on a competitive lap which would have secured his place in qualifying session 2, however Adrian Sutil of Force India intentionally blocked him to ensure his subsequent hot lap was not damaged.

Unlike Massa in Sepang, where he thought he’d done enough to secure his spot in Q2, Mark was the victim of the system.  I can’t help but feel a need for a judicial mechanism that allows such instances to be immediately rectified, so as not to ruin one man’s race on account of another.

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