Threat vs reward: F1’s Ross Brawn on planning for Dash Qualifying
When Lewis Hamilton complained in regards to the format on the Monaco Grand Prix final month, it gained some help however largely break up opinion. Then the race occurred and some extra followers appeared to facet with the seven-time world champion’s view.
Method 1’s managing director of motorsports Ross Brawn advised RACER he was open to modifications in the event that they’re accomplished rigorously, and has a ready-made instance to counsel he’s critical. Dash Qualifying will happen at three occasions this 12 months and we’re getting ever-closer to its debut at Silverstone, the place Brawn is worked up to see what unfolds.
It exhibits that F1 shouldn’t be afraid to strive new issues proper now, however there are all the time dangers with change, so Brawn sat down with RACER to elucidate simply why he’s so assured that the change in qualifying format — initially to be trialed at Silverstone, Monza and sure Interlagos — will work.
“I believe the best-case state of affairs is initially we have now a really thrilling Friday,” Brawn mentioned. “Friday (underneath the common format) could be OK however ultimately is 2 classes the place the followers don’t actually know the way a lot gas the vehicles have gotten in them; they don’t know the way excessive the engines are turned up; everybody has a special technique on a Friday. It’s fascinating to see the vehicles going spherical, however abruptly Friday has a function as a result of Friday is step one the place it’s a must to display your efficiency on a Friday afternoon.
“So we’ve now obtained qualifying on a Friday afternoon and that’s the primary huge bonus, as a result of followers turning up on Friday have gotten an actual purpose to be there. And we’re going to try to run that qualifying as late as attainable through the day in order that we will seize our followers at dwelling who need to watch it reside on TV.
“Now, a nuance of that’s you’ve solely obtained one timed session earlier than you go into qualifying, so there’s no three classes of getting all the pieces excellent — you’ve obtained to get your act collectively for qualifying. So initially you’re now placing much more stress on the groups, much more stress on the drivers, and also you’ll have extra jeopardy.
“Then Saturday morning they’ve obtained some free operating to get the vehicles prepped for the race. Do they prep it on the gas on Saturday afternoon or do they prep it on the gas they’re going to have on a Sunday? As a result of on a Saturday they’re going to have 30-40kg of gas, Sunday they’re going to have 100kg, so there’s issues that the groups have set to work out what they do on a Saturday morning.
“After which Saturday afternoon we go into Dash Qualifying — 100km race, beginning within the order they certified in on a Friday — and I assume groups and drivers have set to work out how a lot danger they’re going to take for place on a Saturday to result in a Sunday. There’s some essential factors to be earned — 3, 2, 1, in order that’s not insignificant — but additionally we need to see how a lot they take up when it comes to competing on a Saturday and the way a lot worth that’s for his or her beginning order on a Sunday.”
That latter half may be the sticking level, the place doubters predict a processional race. For starters, the vehicles have been lined up in uncooked tempo order — as they do for a standard grand prix — solely now there’s no technique concerned on account of no obligatory pit cease and Sunday’s race nonetheless to prioritize. However Brawn doesn’t anticipate anybody to carry again.
“Personally, I imagine these guys will race one another with purchasing carts in a grocery store — they only don’t need to lose! We’ve seen it with the quickest lap level, we’ve seen it throughout races — they might be in eleventh or twelfth in a race and so they’re not going to attain a degree however they don’t need to lose, they need to present they’re higher. And I believe we’ll get that on a Saturday.
“So once you say what can be a failure, a failure can be on a Saturday if all of them go spherical in a processional order and say, ‘Effectively, there’s no level in racing right here as a result of we’ve obtained tomorrow.’ I don’t suppose they’ll try this, and that’s why we have to check this format, to see the way it works. I believe from the check and analysis, we will then decide whether or not we have to add just a few extra factors maybe to Dash Qualifying or whether or not we have to give extra reward to Dash Qualifying reference the race.
“We don’t need to cannibalize the race, however possibly Dash Qualifying we really feel may have extra advantages and extra rewards when it comes to the place you end, and subsequently make it extra fascinating.”
Not solely will F1 be taught from how the Dash Qualifying pans out, Brawn additionally says there are areas it is going to impression Sunday’s grand prix — akin to from a strategic standpoint — that will even present classes.
Extra importantly from F1’s standpoint, Brawn says even simply the experiment has been met with enthusiasm from promoters, with those that pay vital race internet hosting charges eager to have extra motion throughout a weekend whereas the game nonetheless protects its most important occasion.
“The Dash Qualifying shall be run as late as we will on a Saturday, so once more we try to seize the early night viewers after which we’re into the full-blown grand prix on the Sunday. And that may have some variations as a result of on a Sunday they’ll have free selection of tires — they received’t be tied in by what they’ve run in qualifying.
“So you possibly can see the entire features of this; we actually have to make it possible for we don’t confuse the followers, that we clarify it properly and so they have a view of the general image. It’s true to say that even among the folks near Method 1, we’ve not defined the general connotations of this properly sufficient but and that’s what we’re doing. Now it’s gone reside, it’s taking place, we’re serving to broadcasters, we’re serving to promoters.
“We’ve had an enormous response from promoters as a result of what they will see is that abruptly they’ve obtained a Friday to promote. So even when they’re bought out on Sunday they’ve now doubtlessly obtained an even bigger occasion on a Saturday and so they’ve obtained an amazing occasion on a Friday. We get way more media engagement due to what occurs on a Friday, and we get way more promoter engagement.
“So I’m delighted we’re doing this experiment, after which we will assess it afterwards and resolve if it’s a hit, wants tuning, or what’s the subsequent stage? However I simply suppose it’s nice that Method 1 has embraced the concept of making an attempt one thing completely different whereas nonetheless recognizing the core values that we have now in Method 1 of the race on a Sunday. That’s the grand prix — that’s the one you need to win, that’s the trophy you need to take away.”