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1950-? qualifying format


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#1 SirVanhan

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Posted 11 April 2016 - 21:07

F1 official website and others have reported that from 1950 to 1993 qualifying format was the two one-hour sessions. But is it correct? I thought that back in the days every practice session counted for setting the grid. So can anyone be more precise on the matter?

Other than that, is there a report of every practice done for 1950 British Grand Prix?


Edited by SirVanhan, 11 April 2016 - 21:08.


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#2 john winfield

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Posted 11 April 2016 - 21:19

I seem to remember that, back in the 1970s, there were often four sessions over the two days prior to raceday. Three sessions were timed I think, and one (officially) untimed, although I might be wrong.



#3 D-Type

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Posted 11 April 2016 - 21:28

Like anything in Grand Prix racing in 1950, it probably varied from race to race depending on the whim of the organising club. 

Mike Lang refers to two official practice sessions: on Thursday and on Friday.  Doug Nye's and Maurice Hamilton's race histories confirm this.  A driver's best time from either the Thursday and Friday session determined his grid position.

I expect the weekly magazines: The Motor, The Autocar and the embryonic Autosport along with Motor Sport may have some details.  Another possibility is the Daily Express  - as they sponsored the race they may have given it saturation coverage


Edited by D-Type, 11 April 2016 - 21:29.


#4 Vitesse2

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Posted 11 April 2016 - 21:33

Pre-Bernie there was no standardised format. Without researching it, I'd guess the two one-hour session format came in in about 1982 or 1983.

 

The most obvious exception would be Monaco, especially in the days when they only allowed 16 cars to race.



#5 Vitesse2

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Posted 11 April 2016 - 22:06

Like anything in Grand Prix racing in 1950, it probably varied from race to race depending on the whim of the organising club. 

Mike Lang refers to two official practice sessions: on Thursday and on Friday.  Doug Nye's and Maurice Hamilton's race histories confirm this.  A driver's best time from either the Thursday and Friday session determined his grid position.

I expect the weekly magazines: The Motor, The Autocar and the embryonic Autosport along with Motor Sport may have some details.  Another possibility is the Daily Express  - as they sponsored the race they may have given it saturation coverage

The weeklies (or maybe a local daily) are the only possible hope, but even they are unlikely. National press coverage was - as ever - hopeless. The preview by Basil Cardew in the Express heavily featured Reg Parnell. No practice times. The Times did at least give the pole speed, but their 'Motor Racing Correspondent' (was it still Thornton Rutter at that point?) was sufficiently uninformed to say that 'The RAC have presumably taken the type of car, rather than the quality of the driver, as the criterion for accepting entries, with the result that three of our best men, P Whitehead, B Shawe-Taylor and A Rolt, have been excluded.' Which was something of a swipe at Messrs Johnson, Walker, Gerard, Harrison, Kelly and Crossley - all of whose participation was mentioned in the previous sentence!



#6 Ray Bell

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Posted 11 April 2016 - 22:47

Didn't Jenks always include a summary from all sessions?

And even if this didn't state which were 'qualifying' and which weren't, it would have been in the text of the report.

#7 PCC

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Posted 12 April 2016 - 00:12

The 'two one-hour sessions' theory is disproved by a somewhat random example. I happen to have a copy of the 1973 USGP program, and the 'Schedule of the Meeting' lists 'Formula 1 Qualifying and Practice' on Friday 10:00 A.M. to 2:00 P.M., Saturday 10:00 A.M. to 12:00 noon, and Saturday 2:45 P.M. to 4:45 P.M. That's eight hours of qualifying – a schedule actually designed for the paying spectator rather than the TV viewer!

 

As an aside, there are some other events that make this schedule into a real time capsule: as well as numerous supporting races (remember them?), there was the 'Nikon Photography School' in the Nikon tent on Friday, Saturday and Sunday; and both an 'Interdenominational Worship Service' and a 'Celebration of Roman Catholic Mass' in Pit One on Sunday morning. Different times indeed...



#8 Tim Murray

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Posted 12 April 2016 - 04:42

I've had a flick through my old GP programmes (mainly '70s and '80s). Up to 1975 all practice sessions appear to have been timed. Between 1976 and 1978 there were four practice sessions, with the third session being untimed. In 1979 there were two hour-long untimed sessions and two qualifying sessions lasting an hour and a half. In 1980 this switched to two untimed sessions of an hour and a half with two hour-long qualifying sessions, and this appears to have been the standard format for the rest of the '80s. After a ten-year gap in my Grand Prix attendances I went to the 1999 Austrian GP, and here the format was three timed sessions of varying length, followed by an hour-long qualifying session.

Edited by Tim Murray, 12 April 2016 - 04:58.


#9 Vitesse2

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Posted 12 April 2016 - 06:02

Motor Sport listed only the three fastest times for both Thursday and Friday practice in 1950. The Thursday session was faster than Friday, but apart from the Alfas the only other driver whose time was given was 'Bira' and it's not possible to determine which day he did that.



#10 Barry Boor

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Posted 12 April 2016 - 06:09

Back in the early early days, as has been mentioned, there was no distinction between practice and qualifying. Indeed, the word qualifying was never mentioned apart from places like Monaco where there were limited grid places.

As far as I can recall, virtually ALL practice sessions were timed and if at, say, Monaco, you put in a really fast lap at the beginning of the early Thursday morning practice session, you could get a high grid position, even if you never went any quicker that morning or on Friday or Saturday.

#11 Vitesse2

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Posted 12 April 2016 - 06:12

Except Monaco never had a Friday practice session ... :wave:



#12 Barry Boor

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Posted 12 April 2016 - 06:44

Really? What was I watching in the early morning sunshine back in 1965 then? lol

#13 Roger Clark

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Posted 12 April 2016 - 06:48

Monaco also had Friday practice in 1963 and 64. I haven't checked other years.

#14 Barry Boor

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Posted 12 April 2016 - 07:21

Certainly did in 1965 too.

#15 Leif Snellman

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Posted 12 April 2016 - 09:56

A fast look at nearby books gives 1961: Belgium & Italy  two, Britain four, the others three.1976: Brazil four sessions, rest of races  three. 1977: Argentine four sessions, Japan  two sessions, Britain  two pre-qualifying plus three sessions, the others three.

 

Four of the 1979 races also had three sessions but in 1982 all races had only two.


Edited by Leif Snellman, 12 April 2016 - 10:29.


#16 Oneandhalf

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Posted 12 April 2016 - 20:25

According to Automobil Revue #25 (31.May 1950):

"Das Programm (Grosser Preis der Schweiz)

 

Donnerstag 1.Juni

17.15 - 18.45 Training der Rennwagen Formel 1 u. 2

 

Freitag 2.Juni

17.30-18.30 Training der Rennwagen Formel 2

18.30-19.30 Training der Rennwagen Formel 1

 

Samstag 3.Juni

14.00-14.45 Training der Rennwagen Formel 1

14.45-15.30 Training der Rennwagen Formel 2

 

Sonntag 4.Juni

11.30-12.40 Grosser Preis der Schweiz fuer Automobile fuer Rennwagen Formel 2

16.10-18.15 Grosser Preis der Schweiz fuer Automobile fuer Rennwagen Formel 1"

 



#17 SirVanhan

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Posted 13 April 2016 - 17:30

I read some of my father's Autosprints. This is what I discovered:

-the two sessions qualifying format started in 1980 by Goodyear request, as they couldn't afford bringing qualifying tires for four sessions;

-in 1979 all four timed sessions counted for pole position;

-from 1976 to 1978 of the four timed sessions, three were qualifying sessions (two on Friday and one on Saturday afternoon); on Saturday morning it was held a free practice session;

-from ??? to 1975 four sessions as in 1979

-In 1979 Autosprint reports that the two qualifying session format was used "some years ago" but the number of practices were doubled to make more entertaining the race weekend. I still can't find which year(s) they are talking about.

 

I assume that in 1980 the sessions were one hour each, but I'm not sure yet.



#18 Michael Ferner

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Posted 13 April 2016 - 18:15

I'm pretty sure the practice & qualifying format was standardized with the introduction of the new F1 Championship in 1981. Before, it was very much at the discretion of the individual promoter, though FOCA probably tried to bring some order to the proceedings during the seventies, with varying success.

#19 David Lawson

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Posted 13 April 2016 - 18:17

Didn't Monaco used to have the first practice day on Thursday and then a day off on Friday to keep the local businesses happy?

 

David


Edited by David Lawson, 13 April 2016 - 18:18.


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#20 Barry Boor

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Posted 13 April 2016 - 18:23

Not in the early days, David.

#21 Vitesse2

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Posted 13 April 2016 - 18:46

Monaco was often held over the Easter weekend, so the origin of the 'no practice on Friday' is actually in a desire not to interrupt the celebration of Good Friday. The race also tended to start later in the day than other European GPs, allegedly so that the Prince didn't have to rush his luncheon!



#22 DogEarred

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Posted 13 April 2016 - 18:54

Weren't Fridays market days there, with the market just round the corner from the track?

 

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