New elimination-style F1 qualifying rules published in sporting regulations

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The new qualifying rules for the 2016 Formula 1 season have been rubber-stamped ahead of next weekend’s Australian Grand Prix after the FIA published its updated sporting regulations on Friday morning.

The F1 Commission agreed unanimously at a meeting in Geneva last month to add quickfire eliminations to qualifying from the start of the season.

Under the new format, after a ‘safe’ period, the slowest driver will be eliminated every 90 seconds in the existing Q1/Q2/Q3 structure until just two cars are left on track fighting for pole position.

F1 CEO Bernie Ecclestone claimed that the new format would not come into force until the Spanish Grand Prix as the timing software still needed to be written, but this has since been resolved.

On Friday, the FIA published the updated sporting regulations for the 2016 F1 season, confirming and clarifying the new qualifying rules. Here’s how they’ve been detailed.

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 14.16 (Q1) all cars will be permitted on the track. Seven minutes after the start of the session the driver last in the classification will be eliminated and will no longer be timed, he must then return to the pit lane and may take no further part in the qualifying practice session. The same procedure will then apply after 8m30s, 10m0s, 11m30s, 13m0s and 14m30s leaving sixteen cars eligible to continue. At the end of the session all drivers on the track may complete the lap they are on and, once these final laps have been completed, the driver last in the classification may take no further part in the qualifying practice session.

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

b)  From 14.24 to 14.39 (Q2) the fifteen remaining cars will be permitted on the track. Six minutes after the start of the session the driver last in the classification will be eliminated and will no longer be timed, he must then return to the pit lane and may take no further part in the qualifying practice session. The same procedure will then apply after 7m30s, 9m0s, 10m30s, 12m0s and 13m30s leaving nine cars eligible to continue. At the end of the session all drivers on the track may complete the lap they are on and, once these final laps have been completed, the driver last in the classification may take no further part in the qualifying practice session.

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

c)  From 14.46 to 15.00 (Q3) the eight remaining cars will be permitted on the track. Five minutes after the start of the session the driver last in the classification will be eliminated and will no longer be timed, he must then return to the pit lane and may take no further part in the qualifying practice session. The same procedure will then apply after 6m30s, 8m0s, 9m30s, 11m0s and 12m30s leaving two cars eligible to continue. At the end of the session any driver on the track may complete the lap he is on and, once any final lap has been completed, the overall classification will be established.

The new format will be put to the test for the first time on March 19 in qualifying for the Australian Grand Prix.