Tired of F1 Race Predictability? Here's your opportunity.
From reading the September 2004 issue of F1 Racing magazine, it seems that Formula 1 fans have a realistic chance of changing the sport for the better. If you are an F1 fan, among other motorsports, and want to make F1 much more exciting, here's your chance to do so.

For those who do not have access to the Sept. issue of F1 Racing, here's the article sans pictures:

Your Chance to Change F1 Qualifying
Right now, qualifying is dull, lousy TV and even encourages dull driving. But it doesn't have to be like that...

Had the proposed new qualifying system (two 25-minute light-tanks sessions separated by a 10-minute gap) gone through as planned at Silverstone, it would have been the fifth different format in 28 grands prix. Hardly ideal.

The current one-lap fuel-in format remains less than popular, however, and F1 needs to find a better solution. F1 Racing's experts have spent a long time analysing a range of proposals and we're now prepared to put the weight and influence conferred by our worldwide readership of three-million F1 fans behind the following blueprint.

First mooted by Jaguar Racing chief, Tony Purnell, earlier this year, it was -- foolishly -- derided. Foolishly, because his idea is brilliant. In terms of spectacle, unpredictability and fair play it's peerless. We'll call it the Purnell/F1 Racing Qualifying System. And here's how it works.

On live TV, each driver in turn draws one of 20 numbered balls at random. The number on the ball determines that driver's grid position for a Friday afternoon sprint race.

Unlimited laps, as now.

As the draw will have thrown up oddities such as Bruni at P2 or Michael Schumacher at P19, the race would be action-packed. Lasting only 10 laps there would be no planned pit stops(refueling and/or tyre-changing, other than to replace punctured rubber, would be banned). The only way to get ahead would be to overtake on the track. And, since some quick cars would be starting behind some slow cars, overtaking action would be guaranteed.

The start would be a prime overtaking spot, and therefore a real highlight. There would be shunts, too(always good for TV).

Unlimited laps, as now.

The Saturday 10-lap sprint race would be run in reverse order of the Friday-morning 'draw', to maintain the random grid order and ensure unpredictability, overtaking, thrills and spills. It would also restore scrupulously superintended fair play.

If, for example, Bruni had started the Friday sprint race in P2, he'd start the Saturday one in P19; if Schumi had started the Friday sprint race in P19, he'd start the Saturday one in P2. The random nature of the grid would mean there'd still be some quick cars at the back and slow ones up front. The Saturday race would also be free of planned pit stops and would also involve harum-scarum start-line action, on-track overtaking, thrills and spills.

Each driver's grid position for the race proper (the grand prix, on Sunday) would be decided by his mean finishing position in both sprint races. For example, if Schumi finished 12th in the Friday sprint race and first in the Saturday one, his mean finishing position would be 6.5. If Montoya finished 7th in the Friday sprint race and fifth in the Saturday one, his mean finishing positoin would be 6.0 (i.e., just ahead of Schumi).

If two or more drivers were to tie in terms of mean finishing position, then their grid positions would be decided by the average of their fastest sprint race laps(taken from each sprint race); in this way, even if, say, Schumi had drawn P2 in Saturday's sprint race, and had kicked off into a comfortable seven-second lead, he wouldn't really be able to ease up. He'd have to keep the hammer down.

The Saturday TV show would be unmissable. It would kick off with the 'draw' --recording drivers' anguished reactions, and interviewing a couple of the key ones--and would then show both sprint races(a recording of the Friday one, whose result most viewers would already know, followed by a live broadcast of the Saturday one).

Depending on the length of the lap, each race would last between 12 minutes (Indy) and 18 minutes (Spa) -- leaving ample time in which TV companies could broadcast the 'draw', both sprint races and any post-race interviews and analysis, without exceeding the traditional qualifying hour. (Indeed, if it was felt that 10 laps was insufficient for short circuits such as Indy, the sprint races could be increased to 12 or even 15 laps, by prior agreement of the Technical Working Group, the Formula 1 Commission and the World Motor Sport Council.)

The Sunday grid would be bound to throw up surprises, being governed as it would be by mean sprint race finishing positions. In additoin, there would be three race starts and plenty of overtaking. Big spectacle, great TV.

Will it happen? Well, it will if you want it to. F1 Racing has asked FIA presient Max Mosley whether he'd be prepared to give the Purnell/F1 Racing System his support, and he answered as follows:
"I think it's a very good idea. If we're going to change qualifying again, we'll need to do something radical. And there's no doubt that the first 10 laps of a gran prix are always thrilling. So, yes, I think it could be very good indeed."

As ever, because there are others with vested interests to protect(senior team principals, in the main) whom the FIA president can never hope to convince on his own, people power is the key. And that's why Max Mosley, Tony Purnell and F1 Racing need you. As an F1 Racing reader, you've put your money where your mouth is. You know a lot about F1. You love it, too. Your knowledge and love of F1 makes you passionately incentivised to see it thrive once again.

So please fax (photocopies accepted) or email Max NOW.

We're counting on you. What we want you to do will take less than a minute of your time.

We've done it before--in the wake of Austria-gate we asked readers to fax Max and tell him to ban team orders--and it worked; the new qualifying system would kill off tactics such as Schumi's when he spun at Silverstone to get a more favourable qualifying slot.

So please fax or email Max now ( I have, personally, already done so).


FIA President Max Mosley
8, Place de la Concorde
75008 Paris
Fax: +33 1 43 12 44 66

Dear Max,

I've read and understood the Purnell/F1 Racing Qualifying System, and I strongly urge you to consider implementing it for 2005.

Yours sincerely,


Print name:............................


EMAIL MAX: info@fiacommunications.com

Please copy the following statement and email it to the address above:
"Dear Max, I've read and understood the Purnell/F1 Racing Qualifying System, and I strongly urge you to consider implementing it for 2005."

Please add your full name to the bottom of this message on your email.