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The old qualifying system(s)


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#1 roger_valentine

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Posted 27 October 2005 - 10:36

If any of you ever have ever stayed across into Racing Comments, you cannot fail to have noticed that scarcely a day goes by without someone clamouring for the current Grand Prix qualifying system to be scrapped, and for a return to the old system.

We at TNF should applaud this attitude. It shows that those alien beings which inhabit RC are really not so different from ourselves - they already have the irrational belief that things were much better "in t'good old days", so it cannot be long before they develop all the old fart characteristics required for full TNF membership.

But read further and you'll see that the 'old' qualifying system they want to return to is, in fact, some relatively recent and short-lived affair which involved a miserly 12 laps. Hardly what TNF would describe as 'the old system'.

Of course, we all know that the old system was ... err ... at this point I realise that although I have a broad idea of what qualifying systems have been used in the past, I am woefully ignorant of the specifics. The reference books I have to hand will usually tell me the practice times, but are not necessarily forthcoming on such matters of how many laps each car completed in setting its time, or even in the length of the session, or, in some cases, the number of sessions. And at which periods of history were these matters left to the discretion of the organisers, and when did they become standardised?

To illustrate what I mean by only having a broad idea, and to reveal just a few of the enormous gaps in my knowledge, I'll summarise what little I know of the old systems. (Note that I am using the word 'qualifying' in its modern sense of 'determining starting positions' rather than its literal sense of 'determining the right to start at all'. Perhaps someone might care to explore the differences).


Phase 1. Time immemorial to mid-1930s. Starting positions determined by lot. I haven't the foggiest idea exactly what this entailed. Did they draw numbers out of a hat, or what? And, more importantly, was it intended to be strictly fair and random, or was there ever some predetermination about which cars should start somewhere near the front?

Phase 2. Mid 1930s to late 1970s (you can see that I'm a bit vague on dates too!). A numbers of sessions (varying from 1 to 4 ?) of fixed duration (for some reason, 90 minutes springs to mind, but I expect this varied a lot); best time in any session determines starting position.

Phase 3. Late 1970s to early 1990s (give or take a few decades either way). The division of practice sessions into 'untimed' and 'timed'. 'Untimed' was always a misnomer, as times were usually issued, but just didn't count for anything. Gradually these two sessions became known as 'free practice' and 'qualifying'. Qualifying sessions still variable in number and duration, but eventually settling into '2' and '1 hour'.

Phase 4. I shall give up on guessing dates. As phase 3 but 12 laps maximum per car per session, and with restricted number of tyres available. (The RC concept of the 'old' system); definitely 2 sessions of (nominally) 1 hour each.

Phase 5. (Did this phase ever exist? Short-term memory loss and a lack of interest in contemporary F1 at the time makes me unsure). As phase 4 but only one session. (?)

Phase 6. Single-lap qualifying. One session (which, ambiguously, came to be known as 'pre-qualifying') to determine running order for the actual qualifying session.

Phase 7 (Very short lived. Early 2005). Two single-lap sessions. Aggregate times determine grid position.

Phase 8 (Remainder of 2005). One single-lap session. No 'pre-qualifying'.

Phase 9 (2006. Probably even more short lived than phase 7). The rather complicated 'elimination' proposals.


Please help me to get all of the above straight in my mind before anyone attempts to explain Indianapolis qualifying to me.

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#2 uechtel

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Posted 27 October 2005 - 11:27

Originally posted by roger_valentine
Phase 1. Time immemorial to mid-1930s. Starting positions determined by lot. I haven't the foggiest idea exactly what this entailed. Did they draw numbers out of a hat, or what? And, more importantly, was it intended to be strictly fair and random, or was there ever some predetermination about which cars should start somewhere near the front?


I think at least at some events the positions were balloted only for the teams and the teams could decide which driver to strat from which position. No idea about the ceremony, but the hat idea seems to be a practical proposition.

#3 HDonaldCapps

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Posted 27 October 2005 - 11:34

Basically, for many years, the qualifying and practice procedures were whatever the organizing Club wanted them to be. Sessions were any numbers of minutes long, sessions included those that were included in counting for grid positions and those that didn't. Think about some of the odd times found at the back of a grid due to the various ways each Club ran its event. It is my recollection that the slippy slope to current moaning and groaning really dates to the 1980s and the development of the root of all this, the qualifying tire. Which was in turn the result of a crowded grid with F1CA/FOCA having to guarentee only so many spots on the grid for the organizers as part of its race package, something which began in the 1970s as an issue on the bargaining front.

However, I must be numbered among the few who never saw a problem with the single car qualifying concept. Other than the screwed up way they actually conducted it, of course. If the FIA had simply done it how NASCAR does it -- random draw your position in the qualifying order and then go for it -- rather than some screwball scheme based on the delta between last phase of the moon and the starting date for the practice session in minutes times the sum of the numbers in the driver's salary squared and then divided by the hairs on the gnat's posterior of one drawn at random in a special lab in Switzerland then it might have worked.

Generally, practice sessions were often noted more for their opportunities to take great pictures than any drama, unless you were following one of the teams at the rear of the field, of course.

Until fairly recently, qualifying in America meant you had to make the field on speed, regardless of who you were. One need only to peruse the records to realize that on more than a few occasions National Champions got left sitting in the stands or went home early.

#4 Vitesse2

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Posted 27 October 2005 - 13:01

Originally posted by uechtel


I think at least at some events the positions were balloted only for the teams and the teams could decide which driver to strat from which position. No idea about the ceremony, but the hat idea seems to be a practical proposition.

Or maybe two hats? One with the names and one with the numbers?;) There are races where the race numbers coincide with the grid positions, so in that case they must have been allocated after the cars arrived at the race.

In some cases, the qualification time referred to the car, not the driver: Earl Howe started from pole in the RAC International Light Car Race in 1936, but the time was actually set by his teammate Lehoux.

#5 roger_valentine

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Posted 29 October 2005 - 08:49

Originally posted by uechtel


I think at least at some events the positions were balloted only for the teams and the teams could decide which driver to strat from which position. No idea about the ceremony, but the hat idea seems to be a practical proposition.

Do I take it by the rather limited number of posts in this thread that nobody here has any idea how the ballot was actually conducted? By this time I was expecting to see photographs of a lot-drawing, and for Peter Morely to say he is currently in the process of restoring the hat!

#6 Vitesse2

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Posted 29 October 2005 - 09:39

Perhaps it was a process as arcane as electing a new Pope? :p

Although I'd suspect that it was so mundane that no contemporary journalist thought it worth recording, even if they saw it happen. In any event, it may very well have taken place some days before the race, in order that programmes could be printed: after all, they'd have to be hand type-set and and run off on a hot metal press. I have to say I don't think I've ever come across a description of the process, but again, it would probably have varied from place to place.

One other qualifying rule which I recalled the other day - at the Nürburgring you had to have completed at least five laps in practice or you weren't allowed to start. I know that was the case in the 60s, but I'm not sure when it was instituted.

#7 HDonaldCapps

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Posted 29 October 2005 - 13:25

Originally posted by roger_valentine
Do I take it by the rather limited number of posts in this thread that nobody here has any idea how the ballot was actually conducted?


:rolleyes: :rolleyes: :rolleyes:

There was no standard procedure and each club handled it as it saw fit. As Richard indicates, this was not a very involved process and geneally beneath the noise level. The process ran the gamut from drivers or entrants drawing a starting position from a hat or a bowl to the organizers drawing first a starting position from one bowl or hat and the driver from another. It seems to be something that was carried out with much ceremony, rarely having anyone take the bother to record it.

There are tidbits here and there that touch on it, but it is scarcely the sort of thing that got recorded very often by the press.

#8 Hans Etzrodt

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Posted 29 October 2005 - 17:37

It was like Donald Capps stated, that there was no standard procedure and each club handled the starting grid as they saw fit.

As late as June 1939, the R.A.B.C. (Royal Automobile Club de Belgique) organized the starting grid of their national event not in order of the achieved practice times, but instead by ballot. Lots were drawn by the teams and then the team managers usually assigned their best drivers to the front positions. This old-fashioned arrangement, customary for Spa, brought again slower cars to the front of the grid as late as 1939.

At the better organized grand prix events of the period, starting grids were sorted by practice times. As Vitesse2 already pointed out, the organizer could demand a certain minimum number of practice laps by every contestant in order to qualify for a place on the grid, otherwise you could not start.

Other organizers arranged their starting grid by official race numbers (number 1 in front, followed by 2, 3 and so on, with the highest number at the end), which I myself consider as the best system yet devised for the viewing public because it is the most logical way. Such a system is for the public as it should be at all times, just the more modern meddles of the incompetent FIA and/or other organizers have messed up the various aspects of Grand Prix Motor Racing to the present mess, reason for those constant changes and proof that the present system and rules are so fv;)

#9 Boniver

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Posted 30 October 2005 - 08:03

23 april 1933 Grand Prix of Monaco
was the first GP with qualifying in practice used for detemination of grid

PP
1. Varzi - Bugatti T51 2:02
2. Chiron - Alfa Romeo 8C 2:03
3. Borzaacchini - Alfa Romeo 2:03

BUT

19 juni 1949 Grand Prix of Belgique/België - Spa
was the last GP with ballot

start
(1) Villoresi - Ferrari 125
(2) Fangio - Maserati Club Arg 4CLT/48
(3) Etancelin - Talbot - Darracq 26 C

#10 roger_valentine

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Posted 30 October 2005 - 10:12

Originally posted by Boniver

19 juni 1949 Grand Prix of Belgique/België - Spa
was the last GP with ballot

Do you know for sure that this was a ballot? Delseax says that grid order was "more or less" according to practice times.

This is the reason I am interested in the 'ballot' - it isn't that I have some desperate longing to know what kind of hat was used, it's just that I have a feeling that (on some occasions at least) it wasn't entirely random, but was more a case of what the organisers (or competitors?) felt was 'the right order'.

#11 HDonaldCapps

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Posted 30 October 2005 - 11:28

Originally posted by roger_valentine
This is the reason I am interested in the 'ballot' - it isn't that I have some desperate longing to know what kind of hat was used, it's just that I have a feeling that (on some occasions at least) it wasn't entirely random, but was more a case of what the organisers (or competitors?) felt was 'the right order'.


In some cases that could have very possibly been the case, but only by exception and not as the rule. As we keep trying to emphasize, there was considerable variance and numerous ways to produce random drawings.

It is always interesting to keep in mind how various practices common to American racing -- massed starts or grids arranged by qualifying or practice times, eventually made their way into European racing.

#12 David Beard

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Posted 30 October 2005 - 12:30

Originally posted by Vitesse2
Perhaps it was a process as arcane as electing a new Pope? :p


Mmmm...we did have a Pole in Pope position. :cool:

#13 john winfield

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Posted 17 July 2021 - 13:18

As many will know there's quite a radical change being trialled at Silverstone today: a sprint race to determine the grid for tomorrow's Grand Prix.  Nobody knows how it will go but my guess is that, after a flurry of activity in the first half lap, it may settle down into a 100km procession. For the drivers and teams there may be too much to lose.  I hope I'm wrong.

 

This weekend, fifty years ago, Clay Regazzoni put the 312B/2 Ferrari (with front deflectors) on pole, just ahead of Jackie Stewart's Tyrrell 003, and Jo Siffert's BRM P160. A beautiful front row.  BRM's celebration of twenty years in Grand Prix racing was tinged with sadness, Pedro Rodriguez having been killed the previous weekend.

 

 

Edit. From memory, the 1971 GP....four practice sessions, two of which were timed and counted for the grid?   One obvious downside of the new 2021 format is the opportunity for broadcasters to have two grid waffles. Someone pull the plug. Please.


Edited by john winfield, 17 July 2021 - 15:23.


#14 2F-001

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Posted 17 July 2021 - 16:32

I was there for that 1971 race too, John.

 

Some events in the 70s had three timed sessions, didn't they?

 

The qualifying procedure that I'd most like to forget (rather than recall) was the one in which drivers would cruise round for a while specifically to burn fuel - for no other other reason than to get rid of it. How ever did 'F1' survive that PR faux pas?



#15 Dick Dastardly

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Posted 17 July 2021 - 19:13

I too was at Silverstone for the 1971 GP.....I suddenly realized that was 50 years ago whilst watching FP1 then Qualifying yesterday on C4.

Still can't quite get my head around LH being fastest so claiming pole in "qualifying" but will actually start the GP from 2nd and  not because of any penalty.....   


Edited by Dick Dastardly, 17 July 2021 - 19:14.


#16 Doug Nye

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Posted 17 July 2021 - 19:38

Very exciting Sprint lasted about a lap and a half...  For the theatrical impresarios the other 15 1/2 laps must have been something of a disappointment.

 

Don't hold your breath waiting for them to admit as much.

 

DCN



#17 Michael Ferner

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Posted 17 July 2021 - 20:10

I thought it was easily the best F1 race in twenty if not thirty years, if only for the fact that there were no pit stops. Finally, it was F1 racing once again, instead of Pit Wall Chess with drivers acting as pawns  :yawnface:



#18 absinthedude

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Posted 17 July 2021 - 23:15

I think F1 may have died for me today. The final nail in the coffin is the F1 impresarios claiming the latest format (which is an utter travesty in my opinion) to be a great success with the only change that needs to be made.........not awarding "pole position" to the driver who will actually start the grand prix in 1st place. 

 

What an unmitigated disaster. And they won't admit it. They're pretending it's the best thing since Fangio first touched a steering wheel. 



#19 Stephen W

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Posted 18 July 2021 - 08:52

I think F1 may have died for me today. The final nail in the coffin is the F1 impresarios claiming the latest format (which is an utter travesty in my opinion) to be a great success with the only change that needs to be made.........not awarding "pole position" to the driver who will actually start the grand prix in 1st place. 

 

What an unmitigated disaster. And they won't admit it. They're pretending it's the best thing since Fangio first touched a steering wheel. 

 

One thing you don't admit is that one of your new ideas is a complete and utter failure. It's not good for business but then again the F1 business is still drawing in the crowds. 

 

There must be several drivers and teams thoroughly hacked off by what happened yesterday - let's hope that if it comes to a vote they consign this sham to the skip.



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#20 Vitesse2

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Posted 18 July 2021 - 09:15

I thought it was easily the best F1 race in twenty if not thirty years, if only for the fact that there were no pit stops. Finally, it was F1 racing once again, instead of Pit Wall Chess with drivers acting as pawns  :yawnface:

There was a bit of racing down the field, but only because nobody could get past Alonso, who was a reminder of the 'Trulli train' of yore, with added weaving and despite DRS. Other than that, not a lot different to any other GP this year - Mazepin drove into his teammate again, Perez overcooked it and made a mess of his race ... he retired on the last lap so will start last.

 

And when even the guy who won it says “When I crossed the line today after this race and they said: ‘Great job, you are pole position’, it feels a bit like … yeah … I did one-third of a race distance and to hear pole position for the race tomorrow is a bit odd” that probably sums up most people's feelings.

 

The drivers may not always have been pawns, but I'd suggest it's been pit wall chess for longer than that.



#21 Roger Clark

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Posted 18 July 2021 - 09:17

I don't know what everybody is complaining about.  Very few of the posts above have said what was so dreadful about the sprint race.

 

It's never reasonable to complain that it wasn't an exciting race.  This is a sporting contest, not a scripted entertainment.  The 1953 French Grand Prix may have "The Race of the Century" but for most of the season Ascari was driving away from the field like... well, like Jimmy Clark ten years later.  Nobody who saw Alonso's opening lap and his fight to hold off the queue behind him could claim that it wasn't a serious race.  Added to that, the paying spectators on Friday saw serious competition.  Apart from that, what have the Romans done for us?

 

Edit: Posted before I saw Vitesse's but I stand by it.


Edited by Roger Clark, 18 July 2021 - 09:20.


#22 John Ginger

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Posted 18 July 2021 - 09:32

Mixed feelings but I think Roger’s post says it for me too
Never been a fan of the current qualifying format but like most here it was just timed or untimed practice sessions…

#23 AJCee

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Posted 18 July 2021 - 10:40

For me it was a bit “M’ehh”. Agree with Michael that the absence of the race being decided in the pits was a blessing. It was normal service in microcosm otherwise. Until the cars can follow and actually overtake without gimmicks I don’t see it changing. Surely the influence of the aerodynamics can be reduced without detracting from any technology feedback to road cars? Let the cars brake earlier and make cornering a bit less glued onto the track.
However, complaints about lack of overtaking, just like ‘F1 has outgrown Monaco” have been going on since I started watching, and there were cars with six wheels then…

The W Series race wasn’t that thrilling either, so maybe I’m talking rubbish.

Edited by AJCee, 18 July 2021 - 10:43.


#24 Charlieman

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Posted 18 July 2021 - 11:01

Surely the influence of the aerodynamics can be reduced without detracting from any technology feedback to road cars? Let the cars brake earlier and make cornering a bit less glued onto the track.

There's almost zero direct feedback about aerodynamics from F1 (and motorsport generally) to road cars. There is indirect relevance in the development of computational fluid dynamics because theory can be compared with reality quite quickly.

 

Late braking is the performance criterion which most distinguishes between a decent F1 driver and a permanent backmarker. For longer braking distances to work (in terms of excitement) you have to reduce grip/downforce significantly, and put up with teams moaning about tyres.

 

As for sprint qualifier races, I'll reserve judgement until a wet November Saturday with the laps cut owing to failing light.



#25 68targa

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Posted 18 July 2021 - 12:34

Anything new will generally have critics of the 'well we've always done it like this' view.  I think we need to judge after the other two races where this format is being used.  I was there yesterday and of course there were winners and losers, everyone was having the same challenge. What tyres to use (as always) - the first four strung out (nothing new) - but there was interest with Alonso etc. This as ever is about entertainment for the money people and certainly the crowd reacted and I would say felt they had value.  Several of those I spoke to said it was the first time they had attended a GP event and no doubt the same for todays GP.  Of course the weather helped as did the opening up to a full house after two years.

 

 

As mentoined the 1971 British GP had four one hour practice sessions (qualifying did not exist) all of which I believe were timed and in 1973 there were two  2 1/2  hour sessions, so 5 hours to set a time - not really exciting but there was no TV to speak of and today everything has to be flashy, instant and gripping entertainment.  Interesting that the 1971 programme refers to 'Practice for Formula 1' cars and in 1973 'Practice for Grand Prix Cars' - much better. 

 

There have been many dull GP's in the past so a dull grid determining race is going to happen. I suspect we will see more of these to keep the casual punter happy and extend a two day entertainment into a three day affair just to keep the money rolling in - or am I being too cynical?



#26 Allan Lupton

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Posted 18 July 2021 - 14:15

Yes if you go back to 1971 or thereabouts when there were four timed practice sessions on the Thursday and Friday, people like me took Friday off work to watch practice and get the feel of the meeting and if it looked worth it we'd buy a ticket for Race Day (Saturday) as we left. Not only were tickets available but they were affordable!

 

I can report my 1969 experience thus::I was at Silverstone for Friday practice and unusually was in the right place (Woodcote exit) with camera ready when Jackie Stewart in his MS80 appeared, well out of control, and thumped into the bank a few yards to my left.
He got out of the wreckage p.d.q. and as there was plenty of time till the end of practice they called Beltoise in and Stewart was given his MS80 to qualify so that he could use it in the race. Beltoise, meanwhile, had to set a time in the MS84 (4-W-D) car that he would have to race.
It turned out that Stewart's time in the MS80 set up for Beltoise was still good enough for the middle of the front row so I reckoned it'd be a good race and bought a ticket for the Stowe grandstand as I left and came back next day. It was indeed a good race, at least for all but the last ten laps.


Edited by Allan Lupton, 18 July 2021 - 14:16.


#27 Michael Ferner

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Posted 18 July 2021 - 18:56

To get back to the original question, I think qualifying for the first half of the 20th century (at least) in Grand Prix racing was merely doing a prescribed number of laps of the full circuit (mostly three or five, it would seem) during official practice, but this was obviously waived on a number of occasions, and very much subject to individual rules by the respective organising clubs. Lap times didn't come into this at all. At some time in the fifties and sixties, a very few race organisers began accepting more entries than they were willing to let start, so they would only guarantee starting money for so many cars, and let the rest decide whether they wanted to start or not. By the end of the sixties, there was a system to guarantee starting positions for works teams and "seeded" privateers, and the rest would sometimes be weeded out according to practice times. Full qualifying on modern lines (i.e. using practice times for the full field) was introduced some time in the seventies, I want to say 1970 after the Spanish GP disaster? Standardization of practice sessions and times came within the next ten years, and was complete by 1979, iirc. At some time in the nineties (I don't recall exactly without looking up, but maybe 1993?) the number of laps in each practice session was limited, and then in 1996 (?) Friday qualifying was axed. That was still the format in 2001 when I lost interest, although I'm not sure laps were still limited.



#28 chr1s

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Posted 20 July 2021 - 23:45

Part of the problem with the Friday timed sessions was that if on the odd occasion it rained on Saturday, there was a chance you might not get to see much. This only became a problem when admission fees began to rise. In the days when i still bothered to go, practice days were good value,  i'm pretty sure i used to pay a fiver on the Friday and a tenner on Saturday.  But as race day admission prices increased, Saturday qualifying became much more popular, and expensive. I remember this being an issue on a particularly wet Saturday at Silverstone some time in the 90s, when a large crowed turned up, got soaked waiting  all day to see absolutely nothing. Understandably they felt short changed when they realised that the qualifying they'd paid good money to see had effectively happened the day before. i seem to remember many demanding re funds!  Not long after this it was decided that the Friday times would no longer count for the grid. 



#29 uechtel

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Posted 21 July 2021 - 13:30

Do you know for sure that this was a ballot? Delseax says that grid order was "more or less" according to practice times.

This is the reason I am interested in the 'ballot' - it isn't that I have some desperate longing to know what kind of hat was used, it's just that I have a feeling that (on some occasions at least) it wasn't entirely random, but was more a case of what the organisers (or competitors?) felt was 'the right order'.

 


As our friend Alessandro Silva writes: "As was typical for the Belgian races, the alignment of the cars on the grid was chosen by the organisers at their whim, neatly alternating their colours.In training Nino Farina had been the fastest, followed by Villoresi and Ascari." 

 

On the grid it was Villoresi - Fangio - Etancelin, so I can not recognize any correlation to the practice results.



#30 uechtel

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Posted 21 July 2021 - 17:29



To get back to the original question, I think qualifying for the first half of the 20th century (at least) in Grand Prix racing was merely doing a prescribed number of laps of the full circuit (mostly three or five, it would seem) during official practice, but this was obviously waived on a number of occasions, and very much subject to individual rules by the respective organising clubs. Lap times didn't come into this at all. At some time in the fifties and sixties, a very few race organisers began accepting more entries than they were willing to let start, so they would only guarantee starting money for so many cars, and let the rest decide whether they wanted to start or not. By the end of the sixties, there was a system to guarantee starting positions for works teams and "seeded" privateers, and the rest would sometimes be weeded out according to practice times. Full qualifying on modern lines (i.e. using practice times for the full field) was introduced some time in the seventies, I want to say 1970 after the Spanish GP disaster? Standardization of practice sessions and times came within the next ten years, and was complete by 1979, iirc. At some time in the nineties (I don't recall exactly without looking up, but maybe 1993?) the number of laps in each practice session was limited, and then in 1996 (?) Friday qualifying was axed. That was still the format in 2001 when I lost interest, although I'm not sure laps were still limited.

 


According to my notes, the first time that drivers had to actually qualify for a limited number of grid positions for one of the "offiicial" Grands Prix seems to have been at the Italian GP of 1948. In the year before, Alessandro Silva writes, that of the three entered Cisitalia drivers only two were able to qualify, but it is unclear to me, whether Moster´s non-qualification was because only a certain number of cars was allowed to participate or whether the participants had to demonstrate a certain level of competitiveness in practice (comparable to the modern 107% rule).

 

During the following years the Italian GP seems to have remained the only one where participants were regularly eliminated by practice times until it was joined in by the Monaco GP in 1955. For all the other events it seems that the organizers found other means to keep grid numbers under control, on first hand probably by starting money, Besides this, for example to qualify for the German GP it was necessary to set five timed laps during practice, which - regarding the list of non-qualifiers over the years - seems to have been a much higher tasks than it may look on paper.

 

Then things got really busy for the first time at the South African GP in 1965, where quite a number of locals wanted to contest the international top stars at their home event. So for the first time (at least according to my records) a special pre-qualifying-stage was set up, in which three competitors failed to achieve the required lap times. As all the regular teams had their places on the grid guaranteed, the surviving nine drivers from pre-qualifying then had to battle for the remaining four grid positions during the official practice sessions.

 

In the 1960ies race organizers started to get really creative in how to allot places on the grids. Usually the 'works' teams received guarantees for at least one of their cars, with additional firm places for former World Champions, Grand-Prix-winners etc., while a few other organizers went strictly by practice times only. But in effect it did not matter much, as the number of entrants in general remained more or less stable, so the only place, where grid size played a role, remained Monaco.

 

With the availability of the Cosworth engines in the 1970ies the balance started to fade. Mike Lang describes how things swang up until a first greater clash in 1974:

"[...]the other main problem which actually developed early in the season was the incresaing number of newcomers to Grand Prix racing causing overcrowding. This eventually came to a head at the time of the French Grand Prix, but a meeting between the Formula 1 (Constructors) Association and CSI representatives resolved the situation by both sides agreeing that while [b]anyone could take part in practice only the fastest of a pre-determined number according to the length of the circuit would allow to take part in each race, although grids were generally limited to 25 cars."

 

So I understand this was the first time that a general "qualifying rule" was introduced into the sport, whereas before, every organizer could treat the issue individually.But what remains unclear to me is, whether they were still free to decide, whose entries to accept or to reject or whether this issue was also somehow generally settled by a CSI rule?



#31 Vitesse2

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Posted 21 July 2021 - 18:23

I think that overlaps with the graded driver rules? At around that time the graded driver system was tweaked to differentiate between those who had achieved grading in single-seaters and those whose performances were based on sports car results.

 

But right now it's too hot here to even think about researching that ...



#32 uechtel

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Posted 21 July 2021 - 21:21

 

But right now it's too hot here to even think about researching that ...

 


Are you sure you are in Britain? :p
 

 

 

I thought graded drivers played only a role in Formula 2? Weren´t there enough ungraded drivers in F1 in the following seasons?


Edited by uechtel, 21 July 2021 - 21:22.


#33 BiggestBuddyLazierFan

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Posted 21 July 2021 - 21:30

It was all ruined when they started messing with points system in 1991 and qualy system in 1995 and numbering system in 1996

Points. Format. And numbers are the soul. You do not mess with the soul.

#34 uechtel

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Posted 22 July 2021 - 05:26

Well, the old guys probably said it all got ruined when they did not race on open roads any more after 1903... :cat:

 

My personal truning point was when Ecclestone started to get really serious on "closing the club" in the 1990ies. It meant the end of interesting midfield fights with everything now focusing on a couple of cars at the front, which lead to a lot of boring races. Up to then, with sometimes 30 + X cars fighting for a place on the grid it meant, that a team could fail to qualify on one weekend and fight for podium on the next. Later, with shrinking fields, it meant that the races were more and more filled up with backmarkers who never had a chance to really fight against other competitors (Forti, Minardi in their late days, Hispano, Caterham, now Haas - very sorry to state, that also Williams belonged to this club for a number of years :| )


Edited by uechtel, 22 July 2021 - 05:49.


#35 john aston

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Posted 22 July 2021 - 05:53

Part of the problem with the Friday timed sessions was that if on the odd occasion it rained on Saturday, there was a chance you might not get to see much. This only became a problem when admission fees began to rise. In the days when i still bothered to go, practice days were good value,  i'm pretty sure i used to pay a fiver on the Friday and a tenner on Saturday.  But as race day admission prices increased, Saturday qualifying became much more popular, and expensive. I remember this being an issue on a particularly wet Saturday at Silverstone some time in the 90s, when a large crowed turned up, got soaked waiting  all day to see absolutely nothing. Understandably they felt short changed when they realised that the qualifying they'd paid good money to see had effectively happened the day before. i seem to remember many demanding re funds!  Not long after this it was decided that the Friday times would no longer count for the grid. 

Correction - what they saw was Jean Alesi deciding to come out and entertain the poor wights like me who pay F1 drivers ' wages. He ragged the arse off that car- opposite lock everywhere , bouncing off the rev limiter  even if  (as we often say in these parts) - C'est magnifique, mai ce n'est pas la guerre ' . 

 

The rest of the overpaid prima donnas  should have hung their heads in shame . 



#36 Michael Ferner

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Posted 22 July 2021 - 06:54

According to my notes, the first time that drivers had to actually qualify for a limited number of grid positions for one of the "offiicial" Grands Prix seems to have been at the Italian GP of 1948. In the year before, Alessandro Silva writes, that of the three entered Cisitalia drivers only two were able to qualify, but it is unclear to me, whether Moster´s non-qualification was because only a certain number of cars was allowed to participate or whether the participants had to demonstrate a certain level of competitiveness in practice (comparable to the modern 107% rule).


Without having access to any source material right now, I would suggest that Moster's failure to qualify was probably down to the fact that he did not complete the required number of laps in practice. Speed was generally not the criterion.



#37 Michael Ferner

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Posted 22 July 2021 - 07:02

Correction - what they saw was Jean Alesi deciding to come out and entertain the poor wights like me who pay F1 drivers ' wages. He ragged the arse off that car- opposite lock everywhere , bouncing off the rev limiter  even if  (as we often say in these parts) - C'est magnifique, mai ce n'est pas la guerre ' . 

 

The rest of the overpaid prima donnas  should have hung their heads in shame . 

 

Selective memory? Looking up on wikipedia (I know, but I'm at work...), the only year that fits the description was 1992, and there were twenty-two other cars and drivers practicing in the wet, two of which even went faster than Alesi.



#38 Michael Ferner

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Posted 22 July 2021 - 07:07

It was all ruined when they started messing with points system in 1991 and qualy system in 1995 and numbering system in 1996

Points. Format. And numbers are the soul. You do not mess with the soul.

 

That "soul" was messed up all along already. The point system was only thirty years old at the time, the qualy system half of that, and the numbering system (whatever you mean exactly by that) a little more than twenty. If anything, this post shows your age! :D



#39 john aston

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Posted 22 July 2021 - 07:07

Nope- I can very clearly recall Alesi being the only man on track and getting a hero's welcome from a damp crowd . Other drivers may well have come out later , of course.  



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#40 BiggestBuddyLazierFan

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Posted 22 July 2021 - 08:31

Selective memory? Looking up on wikipedia (I know, but I'm at work...), the only year that fits the description was 1992, and there were twenty-two other cars and drivers practicing in the wet, two of which even went faster than Alesi.


He was talking about 1995

#41 Michael Ferner

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Posted 22 July 2021 - 10:27

Which doesn't change much. There were still over twenty runners, and Alesi was still only 3rd fast.



#42 john aston

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Posted 22 July 2021 - 10:45

Michael , what exactly do you mean 'it doesn't change much ' ? Do you think I 'm making it up ?  I was there , and presumably you weren't,  and in common with everybody I've spoken to who was also there , I have a crystal clear memory of Alesi lapping solo, to great acclaim . He might have been 'only ' 3rd quickest  at the end , but on account of being the only driver with the cojones  to venture out at the beginning he was the quickest by a margin of several hours then , ok ?  


Edited by john aston, 22 July 2021 - 10:48.


#43 Michael Ferner

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Posted 22 July 2021 - 12:14

I don't know, memory can and does play tricks on all of us. Your original assertion sounded like Alesi was there all alone, and everyone esle "should have hung their heads in shame", which I thought was a remarkable statement seeing that two dozen others did exactly the same as young master Alesi. Then you change tack, and now he was just the first one to go out; that makes even less sense to me. I recall dozens of meetings back in those years, when almost by default the two Minardi drivers were the first ones to go out onto the track - should everyone else (including Alesi) have hung their heads in shame because of that?



#44 DCapps

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Posted 22 July 2021 - 15:15

Among the first things that were impressed upon budding historians (such as myself) in grad school was that Clio definitely did not care about our feelings nor did she have any interest in our personal opinions. An Informed, Knowledgeable Professional Opinion based upon research, analysis, and the subsequent interpretative effort, Yes: a personal opinion based upon one's feelings, sorry, NO!, next...

 

Reading over this thread suggests that our all too usual collective ignorance and lack of knowledge regarding such matters leads to a virtual cornucopia of personal opinions, nostalgic musings, and the usual mutterings on the topic and with only an occasional tidbit of information and even less grains of knowledge being offered.

 

Why?

 

Has no one during the several decades that TNF has been around (at least since this topic was broached some many years ago) bothered to undertake an examination of just how the major European Grand Prix events handled their entries and then actually set their starting grids over time? Yes? No? If the latter, this would suggest that there is a preference to be being a bunch of nattering nabobs rather than make an effort to undertake an effort to look into this -- otherwise known as "research."

 

One issue that would make such an effort a bit more challenging than usual is that it covers aspects of motor sport history that tend to be other than the Usual Suspects of artifacts, personalities, and events. Not to mention being rather broad as well, of course. The research would seem to be focused upon how the organizing clubs/promoters solicited entries, how compensation was arranged (both entry fees and prize monies -- and starting monies as appropriate) the involvement (if any) of the national club if not the organizer, and then the role of the international organization (AIACR, FIA) in all this.

 

A casual search would suggest that if such research has been conducted, it is not readily available as a stand-alone monograph.

 

How one develops the scope of this research effort is, naturally, of great importance. Experience would suggest that many of these elements are readily available for the more recent decades, especially with the FIA creating its F1 world championship in 1981. The advent of starting money schemes in the late-50s might be another milestone marker. Prior to WW2 and the postwar years might be a bit more of a challenge, but the possibilities of at least providing a framework for later work would be extremely helpful.

 

TNF seems to have long lost its research mojo. While reading the latest of the what the nostalgic nattering nabobs are squawking about today might be almost interesting and even entertaining at times, So What? You can do that on other Social Media and gain the usual instant gratification. While TNF never quite lived up to the legends of its past, of course, perhaps as our ranks start thining that TNF should begin to do something other than simply natter?


Edited by DCapps, 22 July 2021 - 18:02.


#45 john winfield

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Posted 22 July 2021 - 15:58

Good to hear from you again, Don.  We needed cheering up.  And putting in our place.  :wave:



#46 john aston

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Posted 22 July 2021 - 16:45

I don't know, memory can and does play tricks on all of us. Your original assertion sounded like Alesi was there all alone, and everyone esle "should have hung their heads in shame", which I thought was a remarkable statement seeing that two dozen others did exactly the same as young master Alesi. Then you change tack, and now he was just the first one to go out; that makes even less sense to me. I recall dozens of meetings back in those years, when almost by default the two Minardi drivers were the first ones to go out onto the track - should everyone else (including Alesi) have hung their heads in shame because of that?

 

1 Alesi was alone in the incident I describe. I don't really care what my description  'sounded like' to you. - re- reading my words they are clear . I didn't take detailed notes of the precise duration of the incident -  I tend not to do so when I'm enjoying myself so much  .  

 

2 I am not  in the witness box  in court , so stop behaving as if I were     

 

3  I haven't 'changed tack' at all. . 

 

4 All I have done, in the obviously mistaken belief some might find it interesting , was to share an anecdote with kindred spirits. I will have to think twice about doing so in future if it results in the sort of petty sniping you are indulging in. 

 

 

I've been posting here for nearly 20 years and not once  have I encountered such rudeness . 



#47 opplock

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Posted 22 July 2021 - 18:42

1 Alesi was alone in the incident I describe. I don't really care what my description  'sounded like' to you. - re- reading my words they are clear . I didn't take detailed notes of the precise duration of the incident -  I tend not to do so when I'm enjoying myself so much  .  

 

2 I am not  in the witness box  in court , so stop behaving as if I were     

 

3  I haven't 'changed tack' at all. . 

 

4 All I have done, in the obviously mistaken belief some might find it interesting , was to share an anecdote with kindred spirits. I will have to think twice about doing so in future if it results in the sort of petty sniping you are indulging in. 

 

 

I've been posting here for nearly 20 years and not once  have I encountered such rudeness . 

 

John, It was 1993. Friday morning. I went on the Friday with a couple of friends. Stayed at home the rest of the weekend. Alesi was the only man on track for quite a while and when a few others ventured out they looked like Gentleman Drivers. Alesi appeared to have all the electronic gizmos switched off and was clearly enjoying himself. I seem to recall that the afternoon session started damp and gradually dried out. I can't remember anything else about it but the sight of Alesi manhandling the Ferrari brought back memories of GV. 

 

I just referred to Autocourse and Damon Hill set fastest time on Friday morning before "dumping his Williams in the sand trap at Stowe" after 4 laps. No times given as it was only "free practice" but Prost was quoted as saying conditions were worse than at Donington. 

 

It always amazed me that Alesi only won 1 GP. I saw him win the Spa F5000 race in 1989. Again it was rather wet and everyone else looked 3rd rate. 



#48 Michael Ferner

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Posted 23 July 2021 - 07:24

John, I'm sorry that you feel that way, and want to apologize. I didn't mean to be rude, I just wanted to be clever and pin down the exact circumstances. Obviously, that's not really relevant for you, and that's okay. But, if you'll allow, a tiny bit of advice: if you're that thin-skinned, perhaps you should consider your own words more carefully - to tell other people they should hang their heads in shame could be considered to be rude as well.

 

Let's put a lid on this.



#49 john aston

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Posted 23 July 2021 - 08:16

Michael - I don't want to get into some mud slinging either, and I appreciate your apology , even if you then partly undermine it by trying to patronise me. .

 

Lid now placed. 



#50 Lee Nicolle

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Posted 23 July 2021 - 10:03

Having been around motorsport in general for my whole life qualifying has had several methods.

Road racing which we are about has in my time until recently been the fastest car/ driver over a set amount of minutes in one or more sessions. With all competitors to do their time in said sessions or risk exclusion from the races.

These days with 'entertainment' it is qualify then have to do a further 'shoot out' for top ten or whatever number decided upon.

And most of the time 'shoot out times' are a damn site slower because of a lack of heat in the tyres/ brakes/ track conditions. For the most part really not needed except for maybe TV.

Oval racing has at times been a one car at a time deal as is generally Nascar.

Speedway, with cars at least these days is too often time trials before the crowd arrives and the whole system with so much emphasis on one lap makes a mockery of racing.  And often the track goes away and a early runner will get quick time. Two heat wins from a poor qualifying still has you start well back. This crap is one of the reasons my interest has waned over the last decade and more.

A normal meeting is a straight draw for heat starts reversed for the second heat and best results starts at the front for the feature. And if you start with say 30 cars with a 24 car density it means the slowest miss out

Though not that many decades ago it was fastest to the rear