Formula 1 News: Force India, Haas Lead During Day 3 Testing, New Qualifying Format 2016 In Place
It seems Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg and Haas’ Romain Grosjean don’t have problems getting things done fast in the morning. The two clocked in impressive best lap times with Hulkenberg leading the field during day three of pre-season testing at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya in Spain.Advertisement
Hulkenberg did 99 laps aboard his Mercedes-powered VJM09 and registered a fastest lap time of 1:23.110 while former Lotus driver Grosjean managed 82 laps in his Ferrari-powered VF-16 and recorded a fastest lap time of 1:25.874. Meanwhile, Ferrari’s Kimi Raikonnen followed the two men closely behind. Fuel system checks actually kept the world champion from making any timed laps in the morning. However, he managed to make up for it in the afternoon, completing 78 laps aboard the SF16-H and recording a fastest lap time of 1:25.977.
On the other hand, both drivers from Mercedes AMG Petronas participated in the day three testing. The team had decided to split the task between Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton to keep them both fresh after the grueling past two days already spent in testing. Rosberg managed to complete 74 laps and set a fastest lap time of 1:26.084. Meanwhile, current world champion Hamilton completed 88 laps and set a fastest lap time of 1:26.421.
Meanwhile, aside from getting used to new cars, it seems drivers may also have to get used to a new qualifying format for the 2016 season. The new qualifying format retains having three qualifying sessions. However, that’s where the similarities from previous years end.
When drivers enter Q1, they will be asked to set their fastest lap times in 16 minutes. After seven minutes, the slowest driver will then be eliminated. This will go on every 1 minute and 30 seconds until the chequered flag, resulting in the elimination of seven drivers and 15 moving on to Q2.
In Q2, drives have to set their fastest lap times in 15 minutes. After 6 minutes, the first slowest driver will be eliminated. Elimination will then continue every 1 minute and 30 seconds till the chequered flag. In the end, another seven drivers would have been eliminated as eight move on to Q3.
In Q3, drivers will run for 14 minutes and the first elimination happens after five minutes. Thereafter, the slowest driver will be eliminated every 1 minute and 30 seconds until the chequered flag. In the end, there should only be 2 drivers left during the final 1 minute and 30 seconds of the third qualifying session. Moreover, the final elimination will take place at the chequered flag and not when the time is up.
According to the FIA, this new qualifying format is “being evaluated for introduction,” possibly this coming season.