Life, The Universe and Pune

Saturday, March 08, 2003

Formula 1 back....with(out) a Bang???

Formula 1 season is cup absolutely takes a back seat for this weekend and whenever race timings clash with cricket matches......there was all this speculation....... that the new format for qualifying wherein each driver would be allowed to put in one lap on friday and one lap on saturday would take away any advantage that ferrari had and in addition make Formula 1 more exciting......i think the results speak for themselves......Michael Schumacher on pole position and Rubens Barrichello on P2....i think we might just get to see another magical year of ferrari domination all over again......

The new format specifies that each car will run one qualifying lap on friday and one on saturday as compared to the 12 laps each driver was allowed in one hour of qualifying on saturday in the 2002 season....this has made qualifying pretty more cat-mouse games between Schumacher and last minute changes to the positons for next day last minute tweaking by the enginners to get the most out of the car ........however in this lacklustre period one event which did make headlines and pointed out a flaw in the new system has been reproduced below from an article i came across

Before Saturday's final qualifying session, all the talk was of the smaller teams running low fuel loads to improve their qualifying position. Minardi however turned the new qualifying system on its head by pulling both its drivers into the pits without setting a qualifying time.

The tactic employed by Paul Stoddart's team means that the Minardi cars will not go into parc ferme over night and the team is therefore free to work on them before the race. As part of the new rules, all cars which qualify for the race must stay in parc ferme over night and may not be refuelled or modified by the teams. This rule was introduced to stop teams developing special light cars for the qualifying session.

Minardi has had very little pre-season testing and has employed this tactic in order to give the team more time to prepare for Sunday's race. Team boss Paul Stoddart confirmed this saying, "We needed to work on these cars tonight."

As for the 107% rule, because no time was set today, the Minardi drivers will be attributed the times they set in yesterday's qualifying session which were both within the limit. Certainly this was the understanding of Paul Stoddart who revealed he had sought clarification that his tactics were legitimate before the qualifying session began.