Austrian GP | Vettel’s Baku backlash or Hamilton’s justice?

Preview Round 9 of the Formula One championship, the Austrian Grand Prix.

 As the dust settles over the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, Formula One hits back with the Austrian Grand Prix – Red Bull’s owners home Grand Prix. But will Red Bull claim victory on home turf in Speilberg or can Vettel and Hamilton bounce back from their Baku bout to notch another win under their belts? 

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8 things we learnt from the Mexico GP

Recap the Mexico GP with eight talking points from the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriquez.

Hamilton won but Rosberg moved within a victory of the title. Verstappen finished in third, was demoted to fifth and then promoted to fourth. While Vettel thought he had a deserved podium before a post-race pen took it away.
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8 things we learnt from the Singapore Grand Prix

Recap the Singapore Grand Prix with 8 talking points from Marina Bay.

Rosberg celebrated his 200th Grand Prix with victory under the stars, narrowly edging Ricciardo over the line after Hamilton triggered an aggressive finale. All watched on by Formula One’s new chairman, Chase Cary.
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German GP | Rosberg tops FP3 for three in three

Nico Rosberg tops the final practice session at the German Grand Prix.

With the fastest time in the final practice session, Nico Rosberg retained his 100% record at the 2016 German Grand Prix. Hamilton had taken the lead from his German team-mate earlier in the session, but Nico replied to top the timesheet by five-hundredths of a second.

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German GP | Rosberg tops FP1 with Ferrari and Red Bull a second off the pace

First free practice at the German Grand Prix topped by Nico Rosberg.

Halo postponed, but a German on top was not as Nico Rosberg topped the opening practice session at the Hockenheimring. With a lap time already one-second faster than pole two years ago, Rosberg edged out Hamilton to top the opening 90-minutes. While Ferrari edged Red Bull in the battle for second-best.

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8 things we learnt from the Bahrain Grand Prix

Two races into the year and things and starting to become clear in Formula One. Read on as Kyle Archer talks through eight things we learnt from the Bahrain Grand Prix.

Formula One is leaving itself with egg on its face whether they like it or not when it comes to qualifying. But when it comes to the race, the action is hot and fiercely contested throughout the field. Even if Rosberg did win the Bahrain Grand Prix at a canter with only back markers in his sights, continue his winning streak and set himself up perfectly for a historic first championship win.

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Formula One Qualifying, it’s not broken so let’s break it?

The Sport Space’s Formula One writer Kyle Archer takes a look at the recent F1 Commission’s decision to look into changing the qualifying format.

Formula One fans and rule makers always seem to be looking for a way to make the sport more ‘interesting’ again and create closer racing. With this leading to the seemingly endless discussions on how to make the 2017 cars 5-seconds per lap quicker. But now, while some progress is being made on that and the final deadline has been pushed back again, attention has turned to how they can change qualifying to spice up Formula One with a bit of unpredictability. Or should that be spice Formula One up with a sprinkling of traffic, confused viewers and more steward investigations?

When the first line from the FIA on the Formula One commission’s Tuesday meeting in Geneva came out saying the Saturday format could be changing to introduce an elimination based style qualifying I thought it could be great. There can be more cars on track throughout a qualifying phase and it could make the drivers push harder on each lap to ensure they are not eliminated earlier than they should.

But after a little bit of time, and the initial impact softened, I realised just how this could actually impact the day and not necessarily for the better. For there are many downsides to the proposed elimination qualifying format and that’s not including the prospect of it being introduced for the start of the 2016 season. Which is next month.

The format currently in use for Formula One has been around since 2006 and in my view has nothing wrong with it enough to drastically change the format. There are 3 sessions, the slowest get out of the way for the faster cars as the session goes on till it boils down to a (possible) 10-man pole position shoot-out. And as the slower cars make way you have fights to beat the drop, the occasional driver out of position after a poor timed lap, a break down or a mistake and then they have to recover from it either in the rest of the session or in the race on Sunday from further down the grid than they would expect to be.

And in truth, this isn’t really going to be changing with the proposed new format. The only difference is the drivers will start to peel off the track earlier, giving the teams less screen time for sponsors and less circuit time for fans.

Say McLaren-Honda has another poor season or Manor and Sauber are uncompetitive again and they are all slugging it out at the back, how will this help them? How will it see teams like Manor attract new sponsors for their pretty bare livery?

Manor Racing MRT05 Reveal photo - Photo credit- Manor Racing Team

And while the slower cars peel back into the pits after being eliminated in the 90-second intervals, this could lead to other drivers being impeded by traffic and loosing time. Would the driver still running be able to get another lap in in time? Or what if they are held up and get eliminated? This is where the possibility of more steward investigations comes in too and that is actually one of the things Formula One fans vocalise their displeasure towards – too many investigations. But in terms of the investigation, only one side would be affected anyway, the driver already knocked out and not the driver that could be knocked out. Is that fair justice?

Is there enough time between now and qualifying for the Australian Grand Prix on March 19 to work out how this scenario could unfold? Well in fact they don’t even have till March 19 to figure that out. They have until March 4 to carry out any further analysis before plans can be put forward to the World Motor Sport Council for ratification.

Going back to my earlier point of the possibility of more cars on track, this clearly would not be the case as well. I say this because yes, there could be more on track for the seven or six or five minute phases where no one is eliminated but once the clock starts chopping drivers off the track, the track will get quieter and quieter. Especially in the proposed new Q3 where it can boil down to just two drivers out on track (or maybe even one should the other driver brake down or crash?). Is this value for money for spectators? Could this lead to a straight Mercedes fight each weekend for pole rather than a sudden shock lap from a Ferrari? And don’t forget, Q3 would also no longer start with 10 drivers but instead eight.

“The idea really is that it will be the same as qualifying in wet conditions,” said F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone. “Maybe one or two of the hot-shoes aren’t going to make it [to the front]. So we won’t see the obvious on the front of the grid.”

Sergio Perez - US GP 2015 - Copyright Joe McGowan

Won’t see the obvious on the front of the grid? That’s potentially true, but at the same time F1 cars tend to produce their best qualifying times during the first two or three laps of a tyres life. And I can’t see teams sending their cars out on supersoft or even the new ultrasoft tyres with a high fuel load to carry out long runs…

Make sure to leave your views on the proposed qualifying plans below and let us know if you are for or against their introduction.

The basis of the new elimination format:

Q1

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

Q2

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

Q3

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

The final elimination in each session occurs at the chequered flag – not when time is up.

The Sport Space

The Sport Space’s Formula One writer Kyle Archer takes a look at the recent F1 Commission’s decision to look into changing the qualifying format.

Formula One fans and rule makers always seem to be looking for a way to make the sport more ‘interesting’ again and create closer racing. With this leading to the seemingly endless discussions on how to make the 2017 cars 5-seconds per lap quicker. But now, while some progress is being made on that and the final deadline has been pushed back again, attention has turned to how they can change qualifying to spice up Formula One with a bit of unpredictability. Or should that be spice Formula One up with a sprinkling of traffic, confused viewers and more steward investigations?

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