Hectic F1 qualifying session predicted in Monza
By Mat Coch
Friday 10th September, 2021 - 2:34pm
Sergio Perez is expecting the final phase of qualifying tonight at the Italian Grand Prix to “be quite hectic”.
The high-speed Monza circuit sees cars run minimal downforce, and in qualifying rewards those who are able to pick up a slipstream.
As a result, none want to head the field in the final moments of the session, often prompting jostling for position on the out lap from the pits.
That saw qualifying for the 2019 edition of the race descend into chaos as nine drivers formed something of a track cycling standstill; none wanting to lead the group.
As a result, only Carlos Sainz crossed the line in time to start his lap before the chequered flag fell.
While no specific changes have been introduced to cover off that eventuality happening again, FIA race director Michael Masi has reminded drivers and teams of Article 27.4 of the F1 Sporting Regulations.
That article specifically covers driver unnecessarily slowly and is something of a catch all regulation and while not unique to this event, it is unusual to be specifically stated in the race director’s notes.
A reference lap of 1:43.000s has been nominated as the time stewards will use to determine if a driver is going unnecessarily slowly, which will then be reviewed following opening practice.
The fastest time in last year’s opening practice session was a 1:20.703s, set by Valtteri Bottas, with Nicholas Latifi 2.4s slower in 20th.
“I think we can expect a bit of a mess going into Q3, especially with people aiming for tows, trying to be close to each other,” warned Red Bull’s Sergio Perez.
“I think will be quite a hectic one come Q3.”
“We’ll see what happens,” added Lance Stroll.
“They’re talking about enforcing a lap delta for the out laps like they did last year, which keeps us all from driving unnecessarily slowly.
“That’s kind of what causes the problems, when someone really backs off and tries to find a tow.
“I remember back in 2019, I think we all missed our lap in Q3 because someone backed up and tried to get a tow.
“So it’s definitely critical here, but we’ll see how it plays out.”
Qualifying will be run on Friday evening in Monza as F1 employs the Sprint Qualifying format for only the second time.
Friday’s session will then determine the grid for Saturday’s 30-minute competitive session, the result of which will complete the starting order for Sunday’s race.