Among the slew of changes, ranging from 18-inch wheels and a tyre blanket ban, there are more changes in store. It seems that F1 could return to single lap qualifying sessions. Williams technical chief, Paddy Lowe revealed that the idea is part of on-going talks aimed at garnering interest.
“If [that] drives us towards tyres that have a much wider window to operate in, that could be a good thing,” said Lowe ahead of the German Grand Prix.
“I know at the same time they are talking about moving qualifying perhaps to formats where there are [fewer] laps, more criticality around doing single laps.
“And again, if that’s around tyres that aren’t prepared with blankets that would drive us towards tyres with a wider window which I think would be a good thing for the sport.”
The single lap qualifying format was last implemented back in 2003. However, it was not very popular among the fans. Critics and fans called it unfair because the weather conditions could change within the hour. As a result, it was soon tweaked a year later with 2 sessions. The running order of the first session was determined by the finishing order of the previous race. For the second session, the slowest driver in session 1 had the honour of running first on the track.
However, this too was problematic as drivers would often ‘cheat’ in the first session in order to go first in session 2. The system was chopped and changed further in 2005 to incorporate an aggregate time. But this lasted only 6 races as the FIA ultimately decided to send the drivers out on a single flying lap on race fuel.
F1 has now adopted the current three-part elimination system in 2006 and has been running with it ever since. But, that too has been tweaked over the years as new teams were added or some teams dropped out.