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Could Countdown Qualifying work in Formula One?

There have been various versions of qualifying formats banded around over the last couple of months. The version brought in for the Australian and Bahrain Grand Prix just didn’t work, with little excitement bringing a return to the 2015 rules. That wasn’t without a fight though with the alternative suggested that aggregated qualifying could make a return.

However, think about the idea that there should be a countdown. We had a countdown to being knocked out, which didn’t work as there were few cars on the circuit, but how about it working the other way round, so there is a countdown to when the cars enter the circuit. So how would that work?

Well, starting in reverse championship order in Q1, cars would be allowed to exit the pits in around 30 second intervals. Cars at the rear of the field would have the opportunity to have as many number of runs as they want, while those at the front of the field would only get one shot. Any slip up by the leaders could see them fall out at the first hurdle, with the six leaving in the first session remaining.

Q2 would follow the same format, but instead of leaving the pits in order of championship it would be the order of Q1, again following the current of another six cars leaving, with a top ten shootout.

The system would continue into Q3, with the leaders going out at the very end of the session.

It might not be perfect, but it will create excitement with the leaders only having one chance to get it right and therefore increasing the chance of having a slightly more mixed up grid, while at the same time not being too artificial.

About the author

Ashley Quint

Ashley founded the Purple Sector website back in 2012, later renamed to SpeedMajor which now covers both Formula 1 and Formula E. As well as writing on Formula 1, Ashley also works within the world of luxury travel and was a finalist in the Aspire Travel Trade Writer of the Year competition in 2013.

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