ABU DHABI – The FIA has confirmed that it has made a minor change to the qualifying format for this weekend’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix to account for the absence of Marussia and the return of Caterham.
When the full field of 22 cars was racing earlier this year, six cars dropped out in both Q1 and Q2 to leave ten cars to fight it out in the final Q3 session.
However, the grid dropped to 18 in Austin for the United States Grand Prix when Caterham and Marussia both withdrew due to financial problems, having entered administration.
As a result, the FIA tweaked the format so that four cars would be eliminated in the first two sessions to once again leave the normal top ten shootout for pole position. This was also used for the Brazilian Grand Prix at Interlagos.
For this weekend’s race in Abu Dhabi, Caterham has made a shock return after finding fresh investment, thus lifting the numbers back up to 20 again.
Predictably, the FIA has reacted by confirming that five drivers will drop out in Q1 and Q2, following the precedent set by the change for Austin.
The statement from the race stewards as follows:
“In view of the non-participation of one team in the 2014 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, the stewards have been requested to clarify the format for qualifying practice.
“Accordingly, under the authority granted to the stewards in article 11.9 of the International Sporting Code, and having regard to the principles established in the F1 Sporting Regulations article 33.1, consistent with the decision at the 2014 United States Grand prix, the stewards decide that the slowest five cars in Q1 will be prohibited from taking any further part in the session, and the slowest five cars in Q2 will likewise be prohibited from taking any further part in the session.”
You can watch qualifying for the 2014 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix live on NBCSN from 8a ET on Saturday.