Pat Symonds: New qualifying system “might not be as exciting…”

Williams chief technical officer Pat Symonds says that the elimination F1 qualifying format proposed for 2016 won’t necessarily improve the show on Saturday, but it will shake up the grid for Sunday.

Symonds stressed that all teams have a lot of work to do by Melbourne if the system is confirmed for the first race.

“It’s going to be quite tough,” he said. “We certainly need to spend a lot more time thinking about it. I don’t think it’s going to improve qualifying itself, in fact I think there’s a danger qualifying might not be as exciting, it may not build up to that final crescendo. But what it has a good chance of doing is improving the race.

“It’s quite a difficult situation, it’s done at very short notice, we’re not going to have a lot of time to get our thoughts together and optimise everything and write loads of software to help us optimise it. And so I think all of us are going to make mistakes, especially early on and that means there will be occasions when cars are out of position. We will see some of the quicker cars a bit further back, and we all know that’s given us some great races in the past.

Teams have already made their tyre selections for the early races, and Symonds admitted that those choices might have different.

“This year we have more say in the selection of the tyres. We’ve already the nominations for the first few races, and we’ve done that without the knowledge that the qualifying procedure was going to change. I’m sure that as we analyse it we will say has we known this, we would have chosen differently, but the fact is we are in the same boat, so I don’t think it’s such a big deal.

“There’s a lot of work to do in the next few weeks, not just for us but for FOM to redo the software that handles the timing systems and things like that. It’s quite a tough call.”


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5 responses to “Pat Symonds: New qualifying system “might not be as exciting…”

  1. Steve

    And the comment.. write loads of software to help us optimise it… says it all. really!

  2. Brian

    What all of this really says is that F1 has far too many fools in positions of power who have _way_ too much time on their hands so they keep dreaming up these ultra-lame ideas on how to “improve” things. As recent (past decade or so) history has shown, these ideas have – far more often than not – been flawed at best. Remember that it took them something like three iterations to settle on the *current* qualifying format. And everyone eventually really liked it until those same fiddlers dicked it with more and more “spectacle augmentation” rules.

    I guess it hasn’t occurred to anyone there that the last 90 seconds of Q3 will consist of the ‘fastest’ TWO cars, all alone on the track (except for the third fastest who’s cruising back to the pits) and most likely separated by half of the track. Just TWO cars on track. Yeah, that’s tension for ya (especially when it will most likely be the two Mercs in most cases.)


    See: “rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic”

    • petes

      Exactly Brian. And Symonds clearly recalls his time out so has adopted the sycophant role. Sad sort of chap really.

      • Brian

        Yeah, ALL of the power unit client teams are now in the position of playing sycophant. Merc or Ferrari might dial back their software even more than they already do if they don’t toe the line. This is all just seriously ridiculous (in the true “ripe for ridicule” meaning,) seriously sad and seriously ominous. The single FACT that the major players are interested neither in a fair competition nor in maintaining the health and validity of the Formula One exercise pretty much signals the end of the game as far as I can see. And while Bernie wants to blame “the manufacturers” the reason the manufacturers are there is Bernie who wanted to pry open their bank accounts and was willing to mortgage the whole farm to succeed. Now he runs around wailing that F1 sucks. Gee Bernie…

  3. Off Track

    It’s plain stupid to be tinkering this late in the day with a format that worked fine as it was.

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