Qualifying on race fuel


Staff Member
Is there an argument to be had for qualifying to be carried out with the cars fuelled for the race?

Red Bull have a clear advantage in qualifying (although it is reducing) as their suspension design allows them to qualify on low fuel with low clearance and yet when they add the race fuel, the car does not bottom out.

All the other teams have to compromise their qualifying setup so their car sits slightly higher which then gives them the optimum setup at the start of the race.

Red Bull's advantage is obvious, as evidenced by the fact that they have qualified in pole position for all 7 races thus far and if not for mechanical failures, would have quite a few more front row lockouts.

Imagine how different things would be if qualifying had to be carried out with race fuel?
So the cars would be fuelled at the start of Q1 (or possibly Q3) and then the fuel tanks sealed.
Teams would then have to decide how many qualifying laps of fuel to put in so if for example they only allow 3 laps per session then the drivers would only have 2 chances to set a time in each session.

Of course the major drawback of this is any car which doesn't make it through to Q2 or Q3 would be carrying extra fuel around for the race so perhaps this would need to be taken into account, possibly by allowing them to burn off or siphon out the extra fuel?

Or is this a stupid idea and deserves to be consigned to the "useless ideas which should never be considered" draw? :D

I'm not familiar with past regulations but has qualifying ever been run on full fuel before and if so, how did they resolve the problem of drivers going out early?
I have to say (me being a Lewis Hamilton, Jenson Button fanboy) that such a reaction to Red Bull's qualifying dominance would be a great thing to see.

But in reality Red Bull appear to have stolen a march on the rest of the grid, and fair play to them. Although I have to add one (Murray we still love you) caviat: It is still not known how the Red Bull derives this advantage and it may well come to light that the means is not entirely within the rules or the spirit of the rules... In which case I will spit on their puss ridden souls... >:(

Seeing the cars duking it out with light and nimble cars is an essential part of the Formula One weekend and I really do not miss the pathetic Q3 sessions of the past few years one bit. I still believe in my heart of hearts that the Q1,Q2,Q3 qualifying format is an abomination before God and yearn for a return to the very sensible and more often than not spectacular Friday and Saturday Quali sessions of yore.
I still actually want the single-lap qualification back. It was cut-throat and it was ruthless, it put a premium on excellence and it did not allow the drivers to go back and try again if they'd failed. I loved it!

I feel that any system that allows qualfying 11th to be preferable to qualifying 10th should be rejected, however it would be wrong to suggest that there should be high fuel in qualifying. Lets have quali at high speed, and keep racing as a separate discipline!
teabagyokel said:
I feel that any system that allows qualifying 11th to be preferable to qualifying 10th should be rejected
Well there's also the argument that on a lot of tracks, qualifying 3rd and 5th is better respectively than qualifying 2nd and 4th. We saw the perfect example of that last weekend in Turkey when both of the McLarens were beaten to the first corner due to being on the "dirty side of the grid".

Perhaps that's a discussion for another thread though.
To me the most obvious change that should be made to qualifying is to allow the teams to set their cars up SPECIFICALLY FOR QUALIFYING. I never really understood why they wouldn't let the teams have different setups for qualifying and the race.

I would go for anything that gets the Red Bulls out of the pole position at this point though.
KekeTheKing said:
To me the most obvious change that should be made to qualifying is to allow the teams to set their cars up SPECIFICALLY FOR QUALIFYING.

Good call. :thumbsup: it would put an end to all the shenanigans.
Brogan said:
Or is this a stupid idea and deserves to be consigned to the "useless ideas which should never be considered" draw? :D


I'm much happier seeing low fuel qualifying back. I'm sure the fans that pay to go on a Saturday feel the same way.
Nigel Mansell got 14 poles in 1992 8-) and Williams had an incredible pole record from 91-93 so Red Bull have got a long way to go to get anywhere near these records

Just because Red Bull are dominating quali doesn't mean they walk the races
It's much better having the cars on low fuel for qualifying, but I too would prefer to see qualifying setups return. I don't mind the three session format so much anymore, it does make for good viewing, although there is still a part of me that hankers for a return to the old 1hr/12 lap format.
Well, part of me hankers for everyone to have just 1, single lap. But that would be unworkable due to the improvement of the track conditions, probably.

I agree with Bullfrog, it'd be nice to get rid of parc ferme conditions so that if a team gets it wrong, it isn't necessarily stuck at the bottom for the race.
1 lap qualifying is definitely one for the purists, I like the idea but it wouldn't make for especially exciting viewing. The 1hr format, while it could include long periods of nothing, did have that gladiatorial aspect with drivers trying to outdo each other. The current system doesn't really give enough scope for the battles we used to see.
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