Formula One Drivers Have Different Opinions On How The Series Should Evolve

The new qualifying elimination style format in Formula One has received some criticism from drivers and fans around the world. The format was unanimously approved by the Formula One commission in Geneva earlier this year and has been used in the 2016 season. According to, the new format tweaked the qualifying by eliminating drivers at different intervals:

– 16 minutes
– After 7 minutes, slowest driver eliminated
– Slowest driver eliminated every 1 minute 30 seconds thereafter until the checkered flag
– 7 drivers eliminated, 15 progress to Q2

– 15 minutes
– After 6 minutes, slowest driver eliminated
– Slowest driver eliminated every 1 minute 30 seconds thereafter until the checkered flag
– 7 drivers eliminated, 8 progress to Q3

– 14 minutes
– After 5 minutes, slowest driver eliminated
– Slowest driver eliminated every 1 minute 30 seconds thereafter until the checkered flag
– 2 drivers left in final 1 minute 30 seconds

In each session, the final elimination will occur at the checkered flag, rather than when the time is up.

After much contention this format was quickly reversed for the rest of the season after the Australian and Bahrain Grand Prix. The Chinese Grand Prix used the elimination style used last year, where the slowest six cars are eliminated at the end of the first two qualifying sessions before a final ten-car shootout for Pole in Q3.


Sebastian Vettel, who recently showed some immaturity at the Chinese Grand Prix, believes Formula One should focus on making the series a ‘sport’ and less of a ‘show’, criticizing the FIA’s methods to inject more entertainment via strange qualifying formats. He stated:

The way I consider it Formula One is a sport, I understand it’s a show, as well, but for me it’s a sport. When I started racing what interested most, apart from the driving, was the racing bit, the fighting with the other kids, trying to come out first, trying to be the quickest, and I think that remains the main challenge. For me this remains the most important thing.

Formula One has always been the pinnacle of motor sport so it’s natural the cars should be quicker than all the other cars around the globe, which I think they are.

Here and there we have aspects we can improve, and if you look back and figure an average I think it should be pretty clear what we should stick with or what we should go back to, in the future.


Lewis Hamilton on the other hand believes in the opposite. Since the 2016 season has had a stumbling start, he believes now is the time to try different things to get the 2017 season right. He mentioned:

I just feel like they shouldn’t be scared to try things. We’ve gone back to the same qualifying rule, which we knew we already should have done in the last race after Australia but then it was a failure in the second one, which we knew it would be.

No new ideas have come out, which is not great. I definitely think we should use this year as an opportunity to come up with some ideas and test some things which have a small implication on the race weekend.

If the fans saw that we tried another new format and it didn’t work, sure they might not like it, but they would at least know that we are trying and we are in that development phase for next year.

For the last 10 years it’s pretty much been the same Thursday to Sunday. I love the driving, but for sure if the format was different each weekend it would be exciting for people. It doesn’t have to be every weekend, but if you had a super race weekend or three heats, I don’t know, but something different. It needs to be different, because 21 races of the same weekend, I just think we should shake it up a bit.

The cool thing was when I was in GP2, which is the only formula where I’ve really had a difference, we had a Saturday and a Sunday race, with sprint and feature race, which is kind of neat to have.

It’s a difference and you know the next day you are faced with a different challenge. One race you have stops and one race you have no stops, so I’m not saying we need more races but maybe at different weekends you can have different scenarios so that there is a different goal.

It will be interesting how the rest of the season will unfold and what other qualifying formats the Formula One commission will stir up. Regardless of format changes Nico Rosberg has been on fire with three 1st place wins in the first three meetings, cementing a good points lead over the rest of the pack. What do you think of the 2016 season so far and whether/how elements of the race should be changed?

Source: Formula One, Planet F1 &


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