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Reader's Comments

One race down, two to go, then the teams get to tell the FIA just how effective they really think the new formats and rules are. To date they have toed the party line pretty well, with generally supportive public comment, bet they aren't going to be that tactful behind closed doors. If the teams can't force some rule reversals or modifications then the only way that I see this mess resolving itself is for either the teams to revolt en masse (which won't happen) or for the fans to take up golf on race weekends, which could. Television revenues are based on viewers and in the current environment neither viewers nor sponsors will persevere.

Melbourne was a farce, salvaged only by the weather. Qualifying was a non-event and any potential strategic gain enjoyed by the teams at the front of the grid were taken away by the rain. If the weather stays dry in Sepang then we will have a race weekend effectively reduced to a 2 hour session on Sunday and some strategic positioning on the Friday and Saturday. One lap qualifying won't work for the fans. Technically I enjoyed watching the cars circulate in Melbourne but as a spectator spectacle it lacks oomph without either the reference points of other cars on the track or at least the knowledge that the cars are all competing on a level playing field. Fuel loadings are unknown so we still don't really know how good the likes of Barrichello were on Saturday in Melbourne. The impact of tyre changes, safety cars etc were such that strategies were modified on the fly and we are left in the dark as to the original intent.

I guess after my comments to date I have been removed from Bernie's and Max's Christmas card lists, I really don't care - They stuffed the sport now, by god, they better fix it!

My opinion really hasn't changed, I didn't think it would work when they talked about it, I didn't think it would work when they decided it and I don't think it has worked now that it's a reality. The decision to kill the Quali-flyer was vindicated in Melbourne and the weather cannot be relied on to come to the rescue of every round.

Are there any redeeming features of the recent rules? Very few, I never liked the removal of driver inputs so telemetry going is acceptable and, as long as it can be policed, the removal of traction and launch controls seems desirable, albeit rushed.

I don't believe that 75% of the finishers should be rewarded with points, even if it does stroke the ego's of a few middle order drivers and teams. I don't accept that refuelling between qualifying and the race is a safety hazard and I don't think one lap qualifying is exciting. The longer out the proposed change the more bloody silly it seems to be - 6 race engines, standard brakes and wings etc are detrimental to the sport and hopefully when Max gets booted and Bernie gets embalmed they will modify this.

We have had only one weekend to decide - that's long enough for me. What do you like and dislike about the new rules? Do you agree that they represent only an exercise in shuffling of the Titanic's deckchairs or are you as wrong as the FIA?

Ohh, did I mention that I don't agree with most of the new rules? I Don't!

The Quali-flyer
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Reader's comments:

Am I the only guy that thinks the new rules are great...the Malaysian grand prix has come and gone and I have not heard your comments yet ...was the race not exciting ? I certainly think so. and you are not gonna blame the weather for that one... I have been thinking about your stance on this quite a bit and I can somewhat understand where you are coming from, today I read Bernie is not too happy with the one lap shootout either... BUT.. qualifying is only part of the show, if you are looking for head to head comparisons between teams and team mates, go watch drag the end, who cares if one team mate goes a couple of tenths or hundredths of a second faster. can you measure that, can you see that, the only thing that matters is who is standing on the top step at the end of the day, the new rules are still ok by me. the rules are fair to everyone.. it was good to see the field mixed up, to try and guess what strategies each team is running. and it was great to see a different colour car on the front row...and that doesn't necessarily mean that they are the fastest or the best.. the cream will always rise to the top and at the end of the season we will see who is champion.. I just hope its not a red car but that is a completely different subject...maybe there might be someway to put a little more excitement into your qualifying but I hope that they leave it at one lap. Thanks - Bryan L - Canada


Firstly I�d like to apologise for the delayed response, circumstances and the day job conspired to hold me up.

Was Malaysia exciting? As a spectacle, yes, definitely. Was it because of the new rules? Only partly, and the weather did indeed contribute to the spectacle. Rain isn�t all there is to weather and what the (very hot) weather in Sepang did do was remove half the field from contention. If you weren�t on Michelin�s in Malaysia you weren�t in the race. In the two races held to date we have been unable to assess what most of the teams were doing with regard to strategy. Safety cars combined with drying conditions in Australia and tyres combined with Michaels little brain fade in Malaysia took away too many options.

The rules may indeed be fair to everyone, and its true that anyone can now sacrifice racing laps for grid position. The Heretic in his Issue # 4 gives a good account of why the rules are wrong for racing. That wasn�t his objective but when a mediocre car on fumes can lose the race for a competitive car with a high fuel load because that heavy car has to get around the mobile chicane to stay in touch with a real competitor on a different strategy then the system is flawed. I didn�t like the one lap qualifying rule before and I still hope it gets turfed out. I killed the Real Race because of the refuelling rule. That is the real issue.

As for �who cares if one team mate goes a couple of tenths or hundredths of a second faster�, I assure you that the team managers, the drivers and most of the fans all do. That�s what used to determine the line-up on Sundays remember. Now, anybody except Ralf can put the car wherever they chose on the grid, simply by sacrificing laps till their first pit stop.

No Bryan, you aren�t the only guy who thinks the new rules are great. Now that Bernie has bailed out there are two of you. I�m not sure I�d like to be identified that closely as Max�s sole supporter though - The Quali-flyer

I have mixed feelings regarding the one-lap qualifying. 
On the + side, I get to see every drivers going at it. I remember last year that I missed so many good runs, even pole laps by Montoya. I am however annoyed with the non-refuelling rule; it just took away that fine edge that we were hoping for. I would have loved to see Michael and Juan risking it all to be on top. Because this is only an extension of the race, no real risk will ever be taken, it's all in the pit strategy, and I don't believe it will level the playing field once the top team figure out the right strategy. 
As for the rest of the rules, I always thought F1 to be the pinnacle of motorsports, or even the "lab rat" of manufacturers, and cutting down on technology will take that away. Maybe, it might help the sport to rid of "sponsored drivers" and replace them with best in the world. That remains to be seen - Stephane - Canada


I would like to see Michael and Juan risking it all again too. Maybe after the next team principals meeting we might, but I don�t think so. I also don�t think the top teams will be able to sort out a �right� strategy while ever middle runners can destroy that strategy while working their way backward through the field after a lightweight qualifying run.

Replacing sponsored drivers? No way, as these rules bite and corporate sponsors money dries up there will be more �pay for drive� drivers, not less! - The Quali-flyer

It was a bit strange watching the qualifying sessions with a single car on a hot lap at a single point in time. I still don't know if I like it or not, what I'm not in favor of is the rule regarding parc ferme. It reduces the head-head comparison and super-fast runs on light fuel loads. No more flat-out runs. BORING. 
Qualifying has always been part of a race weekend (from my point of view), and to sacrifice it for the sake of Sunday race is absurd. There are also a lot of loop-holes in some of the rules, especially with the spare cars and when the multi-race engine comes into effect. For the record, I am against multi-race engines. F1 engines were meant to go fast for a grand prix, not last you half a year. Standard parts...what the heck is that? F1 is supposed to be on the top of technological engineering and improvements geared towards racing and competition. Standard wings and brakes is against the essence of F1. Is Max trying to make F1 like Champcar or Indy cars? - Allan - Philippines


Thanks for your comments.

There are only six cars and five drivers (Ralf is having a little rest from being competitive this year I think) that are fast enough to be up the pointy end in Brazil, fuel loads will almost guarantee that all these cars will not get to sit on the first 3 rows but will be interspersed with slower cars on lower fuel loads. Is this racing? Not for my money.

Let us hope sanity reigns when the teams review the impact of the new rules - The Quali-flyer

I totally love the new rules - just kidding....
Quali-flyer, given your passion on this subject, I think it would be best not to tempt fate. Having had some time to consider the new rules and observe their outcome, I have come to the conclusion that the new qualifying rules are aimed at making it just that little bit harder for whoever is in front in the championship to stay in front in the championship. 
The ban on refuelling between qualifying and racing should be banned. I think that this rule does nothing more than make qualifying an extension of the race. 
I don't like the one flying lap qualifying format. I actually felt sorry for Schumacher when he said he felt like a road sweeper on the Friday. If the FIA insists on one flying lap formats, then perhaps the following compromise would be acceptable: one hour open practice followed immediately by the flying laps for all drivers. At least then there would be a chance for the road to be 'cleaned' before qualifying, thus giving all drivers a more level playing field. 
The loss of a level playing field is probably the most irritating thing about these new rules - as I said, the rules are more about knocking off whoever is on top. 
Paul Stoddart found one loophole. I think that I have found another. Consider tracks such as Monaco where the qualifying order often determines the race finishing places. Teams will want to maximise their chance of getting a good grid position. Assuming that the weather is consistent, the team that qualifies last on Friday will qualify on the 'cleanest' track and be more likely to post a good time, thus improving their qualifying order on Saturday. Could we then find ourselves in the laughable position where the team will intentionally perform poorly at the race prior, to maximise their qualifying potential at a race where a pole position could guarantee a race win... Cheers, Adrian - Australia


The teams would be no more likely to do that than, say, have MS use Friday as a trial run for Saturday, with the same fuel loading and car set-up they were planning to use in the second qualifying session. If they were to do this, assuming that the set-up worked (and they would be able to modify it if it didn't) then the time for Saturday would be within a few thousandth of his time for Friday. Of course, that isn't what happened in Melbourne, it was just a coincidence and the spirit of qualifying really is alive and well and divorced from tactical considerations.
No, actually I don't see teams (even the one's right at the back of the table) sacrificing potential points in one race to gain an advantage on the Friday of the next race meeting. Even Minardi would not give up the opportunity for a single point in Austria just to start on pole in Monaco. If the impact of a poor performance were on Saturday's positions then they might consider it, but even then I can't see it. With points awarded to almost everyone who is still circulating at the end the chance of a point or two courtesy of another drivers breakdown is too high to risk losing it.
I do like the notion of having qualifying immediately at the back of an hours practice, I like the idea of ditching one lap on two days qualifying even more. If you were to have the session immediately behind an hours practice though there would be a distinct advantage to the teams in the back half of the qualifying line up. They would have time to change their setups for qualifying where the first few cars out would not - The Quali-flyer

I totally agree with the Quali-flyer, in everything. This is going to be the death of F1 as we know it. Long live GPWC!!! - Regards - Tomas - Denmark

You are out to lunch. The new system is great lap, make a mistake and you go to the back of the pack, ... one lap is all that should be needed if you are good enough ..with three or four chances to make a perfect lap, driver aids, all that stuff, my grandmother could have qualified and the only thing she ever drove was a horse and buggy. 
Take away the electronics .. take away the traction control.. take away everything, and put control back in the hands of the drivers ..this will separate the men from the boys. no refuelling.. I like that one too.. I was loosing interest in Formula 1. The show was becoming way too predictable ..hey everybody ..lets follow the red cars ..I dont know if these rules will do much to change things or not, but I think you should give the new rules a chance - Bryan L - Canada


One of us is definitely out to lunch, but I don't think its me. It's good to see that you agree with my comments on driver aids though, even if you didn't notice you were agreeing.
The show may well have become predictable on Sundays but at least there was an interesting show on Saturdays with all the drivers going flat out and with the car set up for a maximum effort. No refuelling means no level playing field. Melbourne proved nothing except that the wet weather still makes races interesting.
Coulthard and Raikkonen were on similar fuel loads in Melbourne, although we had no way of knowing that until Sunday, but they were on very different car set-ups. Kimi is quicker in qualifying than David, but not that much quicker.
As for your grandmother's talent, I take it she isn't Malaysian? I will agree though that even an Alex Yoong could qualify now that the 107% rule is effectively gone. Errr, no, that wasn't what you were saying was it?
Tell me in a few races that you still think its exciting watching one car at a time circulating on Friday and Saturday with no reference point to determine how much weight they have on board. There is no way that these new rules won't get changed (again) after the away rounds. Even Bernie acknowledges that they might need massaging.
No, Bryan, I gave them a chance and they still suck! -
The Quali-flyer

The changes have made it more interesting to watch the further changes should add to my viewing interest - Bob J - Australia

The changes took away qualifying and the weather made it more interesting on Sunday - Even Bernie E has stated that they might have got some things wrong, a big admission for a man with his ego.
Don't confuse the impact of the drying track and safety cars with any positive result from the new rules. If it had been a fine day on the Sunday in Melbourne we could well have seen 2 red cars disappearing off into the distance - They got their strategy wrong but they started from the front and they could have ended there. Where then would your excitement been? Watching a procession on Saturday? Or perhaps you're holding out till we have common brakes and wings, and engines with 100,000 K warranties? - The Quali-flyer

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