What Now?: Qualifying Edition

More possible changes to the Formula One I know and love? Maybe. The new rumor that has spread to the world’s press is that qualifying is now about to go under the knife and come out looking much different. Why? Why does something that works need to be changed? As I wrote in my last piece, it seems as though when F1 is working well, someone has to screw things up by changing something that is universally regarded as being the best way.

            First they took away the good looks of the cars, then they went and screwed over North America while getting an Oriental Massage, and now they want to change the format of qualifying that has worked very well for the last couple of years!!?? Dammit, just stop.

            The main change comes from the fact that there would not be a three tier qualifying format any longer. Essentially the first part of qualifying would be a 14-lap sprint race that would eliminate the slowest car after every lap. This leads to a lot of messy problems. For one thing, drivers have been complaining for years about traffic in the first session of qualifying, and now they want to put all 20 cars on track for 14 flying laps? What the hell are they thinking? If a faster driver happens to have a slip, or loses all sorts of time behind a slower car, he will be eliminated, and that will lead to accusations and finger pointing. I really don’t see any upside to this new format that is on the table.

            Or look at it this way: Have you ever played a video game in which there was an elimination race? If you have, then you know the frustration that sets in when you are trying to get some clean air, or just trying to keep the car on the track. If you slip up, you can just restart the race and do it over, but these guys can’t. I don’t think anyone has looked into that. And what if two guys are racing for a grid position, and they get into an accident? Like I said, it will be crowded out there, and with these new wings, there is bound to be some contact. Will they be allowed to fix their cars without penalty, or would they be relegated even further down the grid?

            This opens a whole can of worms that should have never even been brought to the fishing hole. When the dust settles, and the final six are left, they will go out again – like Q3 now – and vie for pole position and a possible World Championship point….oh wait, so now there are going to be points? So how will points figure in if Bernie wants medals? Will the points only go toward the Constructor’s Championship, or will there be some sort of double secret point system in use for the drivers that we won’t know about until the season is over? See, this thing is getting way too convoluted and we are still over 120 days away from the season opener in Melbourne.

            So I ask again: What is wrong with the way it works now? Why does every part of a Grand Prix always have to change? Can’t we just have something continue from one year to the next without it drastically changing? Get Bernie out and leave the sport to prosper by itself. If this is the way that Formula One is going to be run, I’m not sure how much longer the sport will survive.


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