FIA approves change to qualifying format

By on Friday, March 4, 2016
Red Bull/Getty Images

Red Bull/Getty Images

The changes to Formula 1’s qualifying format for 2016 have been approved, following a meeting of the FIA’s World Motor Sport Council in Geneva.

The Strategy Group and F1 Commission met last week and unanimously agreed a tweak to the system, which has been in place since 2006.

Drivers will be knocked out during both Q1 and Q2, with the slowest driver eliminated at 90 second intervals after a certain period into the session.

Eight drivers will contest the Q3 shootout, with drivers eliminated until two remain on circuit for the final 90 seconds to battle it out for pole position.

The change to the system had been in doubt after Bernie Ecclestone indicated that the software could not be altered before the Australian Grand Prix.

However, the FIA has now officially ratified the change to the format, and in a statement the sport's governing body confirmed that "the new system should be introduced for the first round."

2016 Formula 1 qualifying 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.


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