The proposed four part qualifying session was almost universally rejected by fans and officials all over the world but Charlie Whiting, the FIA Formula One Race Director, Safety Delegate, Permanent Starter and head of the F1 Technical Department, said that it is a “neat idea”. At the same time, Charlie Whiting admitted that the tyre rules would have to be changed to accommodate a Q4. Currently, drivers have one set of the softest tyres available for the race weekend reserved for the third part of qualifying, the current top-10 shootout.
If the driver does not make it to Q3 or does not use them, they get taken away and they are left to race with the tyres they have remaining. The idea of a fourth session of qualifying was put forward last month, suggesting that the current format remains the same, except the top eight drivers from Q3 would go into another session to decide grid positions 1-8.
Charlie Whiting believes it is a good idea, if there was some tweaks to the tyre rules. He said: “I think it’s should be part of another fresh look at tyres in general. The idea of having this four-part qualifying, personally I think it’s quite a neat idea, but it needs to go hand-in-hand with a look at how the tyres were allocated during the whole weekend. Then we’ve had a couple of discussions also about the use of wet weather tyres on the first day of practice and the influence that has on the amount of running that’s done. So there are a number of things that I think we need to just don’t try and do it one bit at a time but take stand back and have a good look overall at what we might need to change to try and make the situation a little bit better.” – the F1 race director explained.