Teams agree on new tyre rule for 2010 qualifying

Formula 1 teams have agreed to a new rule that will see all the qualifyers in Q3 (top ten) be forced to start the race on the tyres they set their fastest lap in Q3 with.

It is understood that the majority of teams present voted in favour of a rule that will require the top 10 cars that make it through to the final session of qualifying to start the race on the same tyres that they set their fastest Q3 time on.

This has not yet been introduced to the 2010 rules and regulations, but it has been understood that the Sporting Working Group have agreed already. The Formula 1 Commission and the World Motor Sport Council will now vote on this change, before it is added as a regulation.

The Overtaking Working Group says that this is being done to “improve the show”. If it is introduced, teams will have to decide between a tyre that is slower but more consistent, and a quicker but faster-wearing tyre. The idea is that there will be a mix of tactics, and lead to more exciting races.

When asked about the new proposals, Martin Whitmarsh, chairman of FOTA, said:

“Inevitably, when you make a change, there are pros and cons,” he said. “Regarding the pros, it arguably makes qualifying purer because the fastest car/driver combination will be setting the fastest times, and the public can understand that.”

“Secondly, in the race itself, overtaking was often being planned and implemented to occur as a consequence of strategy, and therefore happening in the pit lane and not the circuit.”

“In the absence of that effect, drivers will have a greater incentive to overtake. There have been occasions in the past where a driver hasn’t had that incentive because he knows he will be running longer and can get past the car ahead strategically through the pit stops.”

“Additionally, the fact that drivers will qualify on low-fuel, and then the next time they drive the car in anger into the first corner will be after a standing start with cold tyres and cold brakes and 160kg of fuel.”

“That will be very challenging for them, not just in terms of getting round that first corner, but in terms of how they look after their tyres and how the balance of the car will alter as a consequence of that. And there will be drivers who are able to deal with those changes better than others.”

“Those are all the positives. On the negative side, it’s possible that if all of the above is managed equally well by every driver, then we’ll have lost one of the strategic campaign interests that the more avid fans enjoyed in the sport. Hopefully the former points will outweigh the latter.”

How stupid can they get? There is a distinctive line between “improving the show” and “racing”. These constant rule changes are confusing the fans that this sport is trying to attract. Even if we end up with an overtake-fest, it’s not real racing, because we artificially created it.

Real racing is allowing the teams to use whatever technology and methods they want, with only a few regulations involved for safety reasons, and throw them on track with the best drivers in the world.

But, of course, this is never going to happen. At some point, we will see Formula 1 become filled with overtaking and exciting incidents, and the sport will be empty inside.

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