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F1 poised for qualifying races in 2020

Mat Coch

Sunday 15th September, 2019 - 10:26am

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F1 teams have voted in favour of qualifying races in 2020

Formula 1 looks set to introduce qualifying races at select events in 2020 after a meeting of the Strategy Group.

A shake-up to the qualifying formula has been tipped for some time, and seen as a way to introduce some added spice to the sport which has suffered from flagging television audiences in recent years.

The qualifying format came under scrutiny in Italy when the final moments descended into a shambles as drivers jockeyed for a tow.

Following a meeting of the Strategy Group on Thursday, it’s emerged that the concept of a qualifying race on Saturday afternoon received unanimous support.

“All the teams said yes, including us,” Ferrari boss Mattia Binotto told Italian newspaper La Gazzetta dello Sport.

“Therefore, in 2020 it will be done.”

Though yet to be confirmed, it’s understood the qualifying race will not take place at every event, and where it does it will replace the final phase of qualifying.

The exact method of how the grid for the qualifying race will be determined has not been revealed.

Also discussed in the meeting was the proposal to bring back refueling, which was rejected by teams.

Likewise the suggestion to introduce a second compulsory pit stop also failed to gain the support it needed to progress.

The next step before the qualifying race proposal moves into the regulations is to gain support from the FIA and be approved by the World Motor Sport Council.

That could happen quickly, with the next WMSC meeting scheduled to be held on October 4 in Cologne, Germany.

However, while in support of qualifying races, Binotto fired a warning that F1 must not stray too far from its roots.

“Two concepts must be clear,” he asserted.

“F1 must remain a platform where technological competition exists.

“This is the only reason why Ferrari invests in it.

“We don’t like any attempt to make the cars all the same.

“It must also remain a discipline in which the best wins because trying to mix the cards is wrong,” he added.

“Ours is not a show, it is a sport.

“The regulation that we will vote in October will be the starting point for continuing to discuss and improve.”

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