Saturday, April 22, 2006

F1 Qualy Thoughts

For the record, I'd like to say that the changes made to this season's F1 qualifying are my favorite development in all of racing since the advent of Champ Car's guaranteed front row spot for each qualifying session's fastest driver (not counting the latest development of Grand Am drivers going Allison/Allison vs. Yarborough on the track). The single car format previously seen in F1 was interesting, in that we actually got to see the Minardis and Jordans of the world, but in the case that it rained in the middle of the session or, God forbid, somebody spun into the gravel during their one lap, we still wound up with boring periods, which single-car was supposed to fix. Now, the Q1 and Q2 sessions are action-packed from start to finish, always with the intrigue of who is out of the top-10 or -16, who hasn't made laps yet, who might get balked on a late flier to cost them the session (see Barrichello in Melbourne), and who might get screwed by a yellow or red flag. The only goofy part of the whole system is the fuel credit in Q3, which results in guys driving around at 9/10ths for 15 minutes, which is nearly as boring as nothing going on at all for those of us at home (though about 1000 times better for those who ponied up big cash to go to the race, I can tell you from experience). That said, the final 5 minutes are as riveting as anything F1 qualifying has ever seen, and usually delivers better action than the actual race. Good stuff.

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