How the new F1 qualifying format works

It will be a voyage into the unknown for everyone on Saturday afternoon at the 2023 Hungarian GP

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Formula 1 will trial a new qualifying system at the 2023 Hungarian Grand Prix which will test the teams to the limit, but how will it work?

Saturday afternoons are usually a soft-tyre affair for all sessions but F1 and Pirelli are looking to change that with this new system, which will also be in use at the Italian Grand Prix in Monza. It should have debuted at the Emilia Romagna GP but floods caused that race to be cancelled.

As a result of the changed qualifying format, teams have two fewer tyres in their allocation and an extra set of both medium and hard compounds of tyre which will help them leave enough sets for the race on Sunday.

The rule change could also see teams have to change their run plans for Q1 and Q2 when the peak performance of the tyre will come after three or four laps rather than the one-and-done approach they often take on the soft compound.

The softest tyres in the Pirelli range are in use at the Hungaroring so the hard compound is still fairly soft and should give reasonable grip.

Q1

As always, Q1 will last 18 minutes but all drivers are required to use the hard compound tyre for the whole session. Anybody who uses a different compound of dry tyre will presumably be heavily punished.

If it rains, then the FIA will obviously allow the teams to use either the intermediate or wet tyres because it would be lethal if they were still required to use slick hard tyres.

At the end of the 18 minutes, the bottom five drivers will be knocked out of qualifying with their positions on the grid set for Sunday, as per usual.

Q2

Again, the timings of Q2 are as usual set at 15 minutes but this time, the medium compound will be the required choice of tyre for all drivers.

This might see some teams go for a single-lap run if they can get the most out of the tyre straight away but two or three laps might be more likely.

The bottom five are once again knocked out, leaving the top 10 to advance to Q3 for the final shootout.

Q3

This is the only session that is completely unchanged from normal with 12 minutes on soft tyres for all teams. The only difference is that teams cannot run any other dry tyre in this session whereas they could, if they wanted to, under normal circumstances.

At the end of the Q3 session, the grid will be set for the grand prix on Sunday.

How F1 qualifying works in Hungary?

  • In Q1 (18 minutes), drivers can only use the hard tyre (they have 3 sets in total).
  • In Q2 (15 minutes), drivers can only use the medium tyre (they have 4 sets in total).
  • In Q3 (12 minutes), drivers can only use the soft tyre (they have 4 sets in total).
Joe Ellis
Joe Ellis
Joe Ellis is a motorsport journalist with experience working in BTCC. He is the resident IndyCar correspondent for Total-Motorsport.com and a top class F1 writer.
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