F1 News, Views and Reviews

The 107% Rule Makes A Return To F1

The famous 107% qualifying rule, which takes incredibly slow qualifying cars out of a Formula One race will be officially re-introduced from the start of the 2011 season it was announced today.

The rule, which was brought into Formula One in 1996 was taken away at the end of 2002 with the introduction of single lap qualifying for 2003.  It was not brought back ahead of the influx of new cars this season, the new teams have been accused regularly of holding up faster cars.

The FIA and World Motorsport Council knew something had to be done, and the re-introduction of the 107% rule seemed like the right thing to do.

A statement released by the World Motor Sport Council said: “From 2011, any driver whose best qualifying lap exceeds 107 per cent of the fastest Q1 qualifying time will not be allowed to take part in the race.

“Under exceptional circumstances, however, which may include setting a suitable laptime in a free practice session, the stewards may permit the car to start the race. Should there be more than one driver accepted in this manner, the grid order will be determined by the stewards.”

It was introduced in 1996 at the Australian Grand Prix, and in the first session it was breached by both drivers for the Forti team, one of those drivers was Luca Badoer who is infamous for his chronically poor pace driving for Ferrari when he stood in for the injured Felipe Massa.  Another famous breaker of the 107% rule was Ricardo Rosset, a well known Brazilian ‘pay-driver’. It was broken some 37 times in total, most appallingly at the 2002 French Grand Prix when the Arrows drivers deliberately failed to ualify due to the teams financial problems, the only reason they went to qualifying was to miss the fines the FIA would impose on the team.

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