Teams set to miss FP3 to preserve their cars

Teams are planning to minimise their running in FP3 in Australia this weekend in order to ensure that their cars are fit to take part in qualifying.

It’s been obvious for some weeks that the length of time required to change components on 2014 cars means that anyone hitting a serious problem in the Saturday practice would not be able to ready their car for qualifying. As a result some teams will try to do all of their work on Friday and perhaps make only a token appearance for an installation lap on Saturday. A lack of action on track won’t be good news for fans.

The FIA’s Charlie Whiting confirmed that teams have already indicated that they will follow such a strategy, and one team manager told this blog that it was a logical option given the risk of missing qualifying.

“There’s a two-hour gap as we know between P3 and qualifying,” said Whiting. “And it would be very unfortunate if a team had a problem at the end of P3 that they couldn’t fix for qualifying. It’s not without precedent as we’ve seen it happen in the past – Fernando Alonso having a shunt in Monaco a few years ago, for example.

“Teams are worried that it’s going to be more common, and I’ve even heard teams saying that they will skip P3 to make sure that they’ve got the car ready for qualifying. But we’ll see. Everyone’s got their own way of going about things, some teams tell me it will take seven hours to change an engine, some say it will take three, some say it will take an hour and a half. We don’t know really whether such difficult situations like that will actually arise. I’m sure things will be different to what we’re used to for the first three or four races, but I have no real feeling for what will happen.”

10 Comments

Filed under F1 News, Grand Prix News

10 responses to “Teams set to miss FP3 to preserve their cars

  1. peterg

    7 hours! To change a engine?

    I knew these new engines and PU’s were complicated, even fragile, but I had no idea that an engine swap was this involved.

  2. Frank

    I guess that is partly due to the PU not being one unit but, for regulation usage limit purposes, several components. If they change the ‘engine’ part of the PU, they will swap over other usage controlled components which makes it heck of a complicated job? I don’t expect they will swap one entire PU for another (unless everything gets toasted all at once)?

  3. GeorgeK

    It now may seem obvious, with all of the complicated interconnected systems no one can afford financially, to change out the entire drive train for, say, a suspected problem in the engine only. Breaking it all down and reassembling, testing all of the drive train elements must be a bear of an effort!

    Is not the obvious solution to give more time between P3 and qualifying? An extra 2 hours by starting P3 earlier and delaying Q? For at least this season until everyone can sort out their concerns.

    The bothersome issue is any problems a car might develop or show in P3 will not be addressable (if they don’t run in P3) and may cost a team a good qualifying spot.

  4. Steve C

    So, who had the idea to move to these turbo V6s? F1 will be the laughing stock of automotive racing if the race is stopped because there are no cars running or if nobody runs in FP3.

    • bem

      Quite the opposite, F1 was getting pretty stale the last few years with the engineering race between Sundays all but disappearing. We’re back to the good old F1 of half driving half engineering competition, exciting times. And it’s not just the turbo V6 but the energy recovery systems going one step beyond today’s hybrids, and a good helping of software thrown in too… drool!

      If anything F1 had become too much like a glorified Nascar, and these changes will make it relevant again to the fans of engineering and maybe even gain new fans from the computer geeks. Not to forget a 4th engine supplier is joining next year, Honda wouldn’t come back if F1 was becoming a “laughing stock.” Let’s just hope the media can keep up and report on the engineering issues properly.

      Let them drop like flies in Australia 2014, just like in San Marino 1985. The way F1 should be, at the forefront of technology.

      • DaveMyers

        I agree 100%. Bulletproof cars don’t make for interesting races (although this is mainly down to the rules mandating engine longevity). As they say, to finish first, first you must finish, and that is the challenge ahead for all of the teams once again, which can only be a good thing for the sport.

        I’m looking forward immensely to some shock results this season :-)

  5. Montrose Wes

    They could just cancel FP1 and FP2 and Qualifying and that way they would for sure be able to start the race. Who were the geniuses who thought this all up?

  6. DaveMyers

    Well at least Caterham will be running in FP3 :-)

  7. Ceej

    Not convinced of the logic really. If the car has a problem and you don’t run in FP3 and discover it during that session, then the car will just knacker out in qualifying instead and probably in Q1. And a pitlane start might be the safer option going into turn 1.
    Of course the sponsors won’t be happy. And maybe that is the point. There is more coverage in blowing up in qualifying on the global feed than in FP3!

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