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FIA confirm return of 2015 style qualifying

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After weeks of debate and two rather disappointing qualifying sessions in Australia and Bahrain, the FIA has finally confirmed the of the 2015 style format.

Between 2006 and 2015, the now well-known format where a certain number of drivers are knocked out at the end of Q1 & 2 with a top-ten shootout in Q3 was used.

But in an attempt to spice up the season, F1 bosses implemented an elimination style qualifying, this however was met with contempt by teams, bosses, drivers and fans alike.

The FIA confirmed yesterday that the old system last used at the 2015 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix will be in place for round three of the 2016 championship in China.

Revised 2016 qualifying rules

The following will be used from China:

33.1 The qualifying practice session will take place on the day before the race from 14.00 to 15.00.

The session will be run as follows:

a) From 14.00 to 14.18 (Q1) all cars will be permitted on the track and at the end of this period the slowest eight cars will be prohibited from taking any further part in the session.

Lap times achieved by the eighteen remaining cars will then be deleted.

b) From 14.25 to 14.40 (Q2) the eighteen remaining cars will be permitted on the track and at the end of this period the slowest eight cars will be prohibited from taking any further part in the session.

Lap times achieved by the ten remaining cars will then be deleted.

c) From 14.48 to 15.00 (Q3) the ten remaining cars will be permitted on the track.

The above procedure is based upon 26 cars being officially eligible to take part in the Event. If 24 cars are eligible seven will be excluded after Q1 and Q2, if 22 cars are eligible six cars will be excluded after Q1 and Q2, and so on if fewer cars are eligible.

[…]

35.2 a) The grid will be drawn up as follows:

i) The last eight positions will be occupied by the cars eliminated during Q1, the fastest in 19th position.
ii) The next eight positions will be occupied by the cars eliminated during Q2, the fastest in 11th position.
iii) The top ten positions will be occupied by the cars which took part in Q3, the fastest from the position on the grid which was the pole position in the previous year or, on a new circuit, has been designated as such by the FIA safety delegate.

If two or more drivers set identical times during Q1, Q2 or Q3 priority will be given to the one who set it first.

If less than 26 cars are entered in the Championship appropriate amendments will be made to the above in accordance with Article 33.1.

b) If more than one driver fails to set a time during Q2 or Q3 they will be arranged in the following order:

i) Any driver who attempted to set a qualifying time by starting a flying lap.
ii) Any driver who failed to start a flying lap.
iii) Any driver who failed to leave the pits during the period.

c) Once the grid has been established in accordance with a) and b) above, grid position penalties will be applied to the drivers in question in the order the offences were committed. If, following qualifying, more than one driver incurs a penalty under Article 23.4(f) or Article 23.6(a) preference will be given to the driver whose team first informed the technical delegate that a power unit or gearbox change will be carried out.

d) Any driver who incurs a penalty under Article 23.4(f) or Article 23.6(a) will take precedence over any driver whose qualifying times have been deleted for any reason.

If more than one driver falls into a single category in b) or d) above they will be arranged on the grid in the order they were classified in the previous period of qualifying or, in the case of Q1, the order they were classified in P3.

Alonso to miss Bahrain GP

McLaren’s Fernando Alonso has been barred from racing in the Bahrain Grand Prix after suffering “rib fractures” and a partially collapsed lung in his 180mph crash in Australia.

Fernando AlonsoMedics made the call after conducting scans on the two-time world champion.

He will be replaced by McLaren reserve driver Stoffel Vandoorne, who will be making his F1 debut in Bahrain.

A “disappointed” Alonso says there was “a risk the fracture could affect the lung” and he “respects the decision”.

In Thursday’s news conference in Bahrain, the 34-year-old revealed he suffered a pneumothorax – a partially collapsed lung – as a result of the accident in Melbourne but this had now healed.

He said it was “not 100%” that he will be able to race in China in two weeks and he will be tested again in the next eight to 10 days after which governing body the FIA will evaluate his condition.

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