The post below may contain some spoilers of today’s qualifying. So if you haven’t seen it yet, I would: a) not read the following post and b) Skip the red flags.
I sit down in my chair, laptop to one side of me, Diet Coke on the other and looking forward to yet another exciting and delightful qualification session on the BBC. I was fully aware that it was going to be wet, having watched 47 minutes of nothing during the final free practice session earlier in the day. But nothing prepared me for the endless, or at least seemingly endless session.
I originally had two options, one was the F1, the other was the Speedway Grand Prix from Poland, championship decider much like it could be in F1 come Abu Dhabi. I opted for the F1, in the idea that I could see the Speedway later on Sky+, since Sky Player is currently not my friend at the moment so to speak. What a mistake.
Qualifying started optimistically, well, for about five whole minutes. Giancarlo Fisichella caught out in the treacherous conditions at the Senna S. Red flag, it looked like a short one as the car was rather quickly craned out of harms way. Then the first killer blow, delayed until the conditions improved. Although it wasn’t too long, it was still highly annoying as it paused qualifying for a bit. But by half past six it was completed and Q2 could get under way.
But, it is never that simple and it was once again delayed before the green flag could be waved. Thirty minutes passed on by as nothing happened but the hope for the improvement of conditions. Which in reality never arrived and it came to no surprise that two minutes later, Vitantonio Liuzzi was going into turn one the wrong way before slamming it into a wall. More delays.
And by more delays, this one was a horrendously, pain staking long one. One hour of nothing going on the track bar the seemingly restless medical driver driven by Alan van der Merwe, who possibly did the most laps out of any car. During this time, I gave up on the BBC coverage, as they switched from BBC1 to BBC2. So on came Harry Hill’s TV Burp, which cheered me up, as well as my tea for the night, pizza to be precise and I opted to take my time with it. Well, the F1 wasn’t going to be on soon was it.
But, at the turn of the hour the FIA gave everyone some good news, just ten more minutes until the return of cars going round in circles. I would not have given it an extra ten minutes though, as the waiting was simply driving me crazy (pun not intended).
So Q2 restarted, a decent session. A big shock with Button failing, didn’t make up for one hour and ten minutes of waiting.
As usual, Q3 was the showpiece, with I’m pretty sure every single driver in the session at one point topping the time sheets. I loved it, the Webber, Barrichello and Rosberg battle for the top nearer the end was simply awesome. I won’t lie, I loved it. Even felt that BMW driver Robert Kubica could do a turn up for the books and grab pole. Alas, that wasn’t going to happen.
But it didn’t make up for anything. I enjoyed ten minutes of an event. Ten minutes. Just that. Considering the whole event lasted for two hours and forty-one minutes, its simply leaves two hours and thirty-one minutes of dullness. Continuing on with the maths, considering Q1 lasts twenty minutes and Q2 lasts fifteen minutes, during qualifying there was a whole one hour and fifty-six minutes of nothing. Don’t get me wrong, that is way too long.
How can you improve it? Well it was obvious that after Q1 conditions were not going to improve for a while and I believe that Q2 should not even have started. Instead I believe qualifying should have been called off for the day, with Q2 and Q3 resuming on Sunday morning. Makes logical sense, would only take forty-five minutes to do it, if not less. So wouldn’t take that long.
But there is possible consequences of doing this, the main one is scheduling. From 9:05 to 11:10 (Brazil time), there is a succession of Support Races (Formula 3, Porsche Cup Light and Porsche Supercup). So a chance of F1 qualification in that period is not possible. There is a half an hour gap filled by Track Vehicle Displays, until a VIP Charity Drive. I do not have an idea what this is, but I have a suspect idea that it being VIP’s and for Charity, it is not going to be budged all that easily. But maybe if push came to shove, that could easily be moved out of the window.
Yet the times for Q1 had already been set so that if the even was postponed, the times from that would have carried on. But it is a ridiculous rule and scary as it is to say this, I agree with the FIA and the men in charge of the even of waiting for a clearance in the weather. There is nothing that can be done with the rules available.
But in these circumstances, I have to say well done to the BBC F1 team for what was excellent coverage after having to fill in for so long. They managed to find people to interview and managed to continue to tick it over during the long waiting period.
The FIA need to adjust the rules in case something like this happens again, or once again, F1 fans could be left waiting and waiting and waiting for another few hours of our life. I’ll be honest, the speedway would have been a better option.