F1 2021 Season Spoiler Filled Race Talk

Perhaps I am an unknowing newb but.... this seems... convoluted?

Yeah, and a bit of a compromise that kills the whole point.

My understanding of the whole situation is that they wanted to try an alternative qualifying format that would provide an exciting change of pace and encourage car designs (particularly frontrunner cars) to put more effort into overtaking ability rather than focusing so heavily on hot lapping capability. So, the original proposal was a much simpler thing:

At some races (either at regular intervals throughout the season, or at tracks better suited for overtaking) INSTEAD of a time trial qualifying session you have a sprit race where the grid is set in reverse championship order (or at least where the top 10 are put in reverse order). This race would both set the grid for the full race on Sunday and award some abbreviated amount of points.

But, there were two main objections:

1. Tradition -- ie,"you can't have a race weekend without a time trial competition!"
2. There was no way in hell the frontrunners were going to agree to any kind of reverse grid scenario, at least not with how the aerodynamics of the current cars make it so hard to pass.

So instead we effectively get a standard race weekend where practice time is reduced and we get a longer race with a 12 to 18 hour pause in the middle. Granted, I do think that will be fun -- think about how exciting some of the races last year were when red flags gave us a second standing start -- but it completely misses the point of being a tool to level the playing field a bit and make the championship leaders fight harder for their points. (Yes, it will shift the balance slightly towards drivers and cars who perform well in a race vs at hot laps, but still, not by THAT much.)

If you ask me if they were that attached to keeping a time trial as part of the weekend format, a better compromise was literally just out the back door: an abbreviated version of the Formula 2 weekend format.

Formula 2 does a time trial qualifying on Fridays that sets the grid for the big ("feature") race on Sunday. However, on Saturdays they do two sprint races. The first reverses the top 10 from qualifying, and the second reverses the top 10 form the first sprint, and each awards points (albeit fewer than the feature race).

For F1, that's probably too many opportunities for expensive carnage, but you could just do a single sprint race with a reversed grid for glory points, and not bother having it affect the grid for the Sunday Grand Prix. Make the points small enough and the frontrunners would probably not be too upset -- they'd still be winning pole positions via a time trial competition and their hot lapping bonafides would still be the thing granting them track position on Sunday -- but we'd still get to see what would probably be the most exciting racing of the weekend in the sprint race, because the people who qualify well (and thus would start the sprint race in the middle of the pack) would nevertheless be fighting like hell to get back through the field for those bonus points.

Formula 2 does a time trial qualifying on Fridays that sets the grid for the big ("feature") race on Sunday. However, on Saturdays they do two sprint races. The first reverses the top 10 from qualifying, and the second reverses the top 10 form the first sprint, and each awards points (albeit fewer than the feature race).

I'll admit I haven't watched Formula 2 for a while... Is this new? When I watched it was:

- Qualifying
- Feature race
- Sprint race

The feature race was how the drivers qualified, and the sprint race was finishing order of the feature race, with the top 8 in reverse order of finishing.

Also, reverse grid and the sprint format actually makes much more sense in something like Formula 2, which is a spec series - every team has the "same" car. The only difference is in how the teams manage and maintain their cars.

Sprint races are meant to be start to finish, stay on the track and drive. But there has been a phenomenon in the past of Formula 2 where a driver suffers some kind of setback on track, pits for fresher, faster tires, and then just storms through the field for a win. Could be interesting to see the strategy choices, but I don't expect dramatically different results from F1.

Also, Zero, you said "longer" race, but you must mean shorter? A regular F1 race is 305 km and the sprint is 100 km.

I'll admit I haven't watched Formula 2 for a while... Is this new?

Possibly? The most I ever do is watch highlight videos, and I've only done so for the last two years.

Also, Zero, you said "longer" race, but you must mean shorter? A regular F1 race is 305 km and the sprint is 100 km.

What I mean is that the proposed "time trial quali into sprint quali into grand prix" format is effectively just tacking on an extra 100 km to the traditional race with an artificial red flag style pause in the action overnight. Again, not that it won't be interesting, but it's a lot less like two separate races than either the original concept of a reverse championship grid sprint quali or an F2 style traditional quali setting the grid in novel ways for the main grand prix and one or more "bonus points" sprint races.

Gotcha, I get what you mean now with the red flag analogy.

And yeah, now that I look at the F2 page that you linked (whoops, I overlooked that the first time) that is definitely a new format since the last time I watched.

I should pick it up again this year - I always enjoyed F2 when I watched because it actually had some pretty decent racing, even though the stratification of the field can sometimes be just as dramatic as F1 when there are talented drivers on the grid.

So the Canada Grand Prix is officially out for the year (although at the same time it's been resigned for the following ten years).

Luckily, Turkey was ready and waiting in the wings, so we'll be headed there again in June.


As morally and politically suspect as it is to be doing business with Turkey right now, that track produced one HELL of a good race last year, so at the very least here's hoping that at least on track it will be another banger.

It'll be interesting to see if any of the non-European races go ahead again this year. The only thing going for them at the moment is they're all in the back half of the year now so there's a chance their Covid situations will have improved, but most of the non-Middle Eastern ones look unlikely right now.

Even Turkey is a surprise it's been added considering they're experiencing a spike and are going into their first ever lockdown this week.

Practice results for today:


Obviously it's only practice so you can't read too much into it, but it's looking very close again at the top. A little further down, looks like maybe Ferrari might have the edge on McLaren this week?

Also, check out Russell making that Williams go fast again.

P1 Mazepin is coming as close to the 107% rule as I've seen for a while.

I wonder how bad a kid has to be for his billionaire Dad to be like "You know what, son, maybe we should try something else."

Isn't it nice when terrible people are also bad?

zeroKFE wrote:

Isn't it nice when terrible people are also bad?


Not sure if he’s just bad, or being very careful so as not to spin.

Of course if he were good, he wouldn’t spin in the first place.


Hamilton did a 1:17 in Q2, but you have to do it in Q3 to count, so no 100th pole today.

Like, just..... I watched the highlights, and Hamilton passes Verstappen... and then the race ends and he's ahead by near 30 seconds. Just.... what?

Verstappen took one more pitstop than Hamilton, to fit fresh tyres and go for the extra point for the fastest lap.

Before Max changed to softs, Hamilton was 5 seconds ahead. Which seems to be his, "This is good enough" distance.

From the post race interviews and whatnot it's still not clear whether this was just a track that didn't suit the Red Bull or if Merc has gotten back on top of their car, but either way it definitely looked even closer than the first two races -- and if you give Hamilton a car that's close, better chances than not that he's going to get it back to the front.

Maybe not the most exciting of races (although I think the director missed a LOT of midfield action thanks to the early race up front being so close), but damn if it wasn't another hands down demonstration of why Hamilton keeps winning.

Someone was looking at the relative gaps across micro-sectors after Lewis had fallen behind Max from the restart and you can see a difference in style between Max and Lewis' lap construction.

Max was more conventional in staying as near to Bottas as possible over the whole of the lap, then trying to nab him on the main straight with DRS, except he was never able to stay close enough through 14 into 15 to be in position to do that.

Meanwhile, Hamilton would slightly fall off the back of Max (and later Valtteri) through the first two thirds of the lap, then suddenly close up in turn 13, hold the gap through 14 and into the DRS detection zone.

You can see Max wobbling through 14 behind Bottas from the onboard of Hamilton's overtake.

You can't say for sure if it's the car or the driver, (the answer is usually both), but the DRS detection line was moved this year from the exit of 14 to the middle of 15 making exit speed at 14 more important than just proximity. Also the main straight DRS zone was more than 100 metres shorter than in 2020, so it was crucial to get that sort of prep right to take advantage of it.

Prederick wrote:

Like, just..... I watched the highlights, and Hamilton passes Verstappen... and then the race ends and he's ahead by near 30 seconds. Just.... what?

That confused me so much! Not even a mention of it.

Interesting Friday practice results:


This has always been a strong track for the Mercedes car concept, but it really does look like they've also made a lot of progress with their car eating into that early advantage Red Bull had, and it's probably going to be very much track to track which is the better car. Worth also noting that in FP2 Red Bull's "poor" showing was due to them mostly focusing on long runs, and Max getting a bit scruffy on his short run laps. (He and a great many other people damaged front wings throughout the day on newly extended sausage kerbs at turn 7.)

Meanwhile, the midfield also continues to just look more and more competitive. Alpine's upgrade seems to be working well, and Alpha Tauri continues to show better pace in practice than they've managed to put out on race days so far. Also, the Aston Martin is looking a bit more in touch with the midfield rather than the back markers, and Vettel seems to be getting along with the car better, whether that's him liking the upgrades or just finally having had enough time in the seat.


You maybe wouldn't guess it from that timesheet, but man was that an exciting one. Certainly less wheel to wheel action than other recent races, but with a brilliant strategic calls and masterful on track execution, Hamilton and Mercedes once again showed why even without a unquestionably dominant car they remain a championship winning team.

Y'know, looking at the timesheets, I am amazed at how often people just get lapped.

Like, I know, if Hamilton is 26 seconds ahead of the guy in third place, then he's going to blow by the guy in 9th, but still.

Perez and Sainz have some serious work to do getting used to their new rides this season. Was an excellent demonstration of how strategy can win a race again.


They also need to tether it to Mick.

And, Turkey is back out -- recent changes to British travel restrictions have made it untenable to manage, so instead France is moving up a week and we'll be getting two rounds in Austria again.


Also, expect at least a few more changes before the end of the year -- there are still big question marks about some of the rounds in the Americas, as well as Japan and potentially even the rescheduled Australia round.

Monaco has a weird schedule with no running on Friday, so FP1 and FP2 were today.



Aside from a gearbox failure in the morning, the Ferrari is looking surprisingly well suited to the unique characteristics of the track. Home race podium for Leclerc, perhaps?

Red Bull: "Not winning in Monaco is not an option."


So is it just me, or is Haas notably worse now?