The current qualifying system in Formula 1 involves three stages in which drivers try to post their best lap times. F1 has said they might change that, or at least trial, a system of qualifying races instead. It sounds like it’s all but gotten the green light to do so this season.
The experimental plan will see the sprint qualifying system being tested this season at Interlagos, Monza, and Silverstone. There had been some question over whether the plan would go through but, according to Motorsport.com, it’s close to a go.
Following discussions over the past few weeks regarding the costs issue, multiple sources have confirmed that a financial proposal has been put forward that teams are happy with.
While the exact details have not been revealed, it is understood that teams will receive around $500,000 dollars for the extra three races – with the cost cap being lifted by that same amount.
Furthermore, if a team endures a hefty damage bill as the result of a major accident in a sprint race, then there is scope within the agreement for further leeway with an extra payment and a raised cost cap limit to cover this, so they are not unfairly penalised.
With the financial terms having now been settled, it is understood that only a few minor details now need to be finalised before the final sprint race rules can be formally signed off by teams.
The proposed system is for a Friday qualifying session to determine the grid for the 100-kilometer sprint qualifying race on Saturday. Sunday’s grid for the main race would then be set up according to how drivers finished in the qualifying race. Drivers finishing in the top three of the qualifying race will also earn points for the championship, as drivers in the top ten of the grand prix do.
This all, to me, sounds very promising, as the problem is not that the way qualifying is set up now is boring, exactly. But a qualifying race has the potential to be more slightly thrilling, as it is an actual race, with points attached. This is also just a trial, so, if it turns out to be not so thrilling, F1 can always go back to the old way. In the meantime, I’ll be looking forward to double race weekends.